In Praise of Older Cats

Many people don’t realize: just because traditionally you don’t train cats the way you do dogs, doesn’t mean they aren’t work when they’re young. I think it’s the reason we have so many abandoned cats between eight months and two years old. They’re not cute kittens anymore, but they’re full of energy and a lot of work.

Older kittens are exhausting! Ok, so Archie was nearly a yearling, but still. He was the youngest cat I’ve had, for an extended period of time, in years. And he was go-go-go-go-go. I don’t think he slept. When I’d get home, the mat at the front door would be mangled and squished right up against the door. It would be moved a couple of feet and compressed into a few inches. Every day. And the mat in the kitchen would be squished under and against the stove. Every day. Mornings, too; god knows what he was up to in the night. Every morning I’d find little paw prints on the stove. Across the back of the stove, too. One day I came home and there was a book pulled off the shelf and moved across the floor. Every time I’d open a cupboard I’d close it on him without realizing he was there. I caught his head in a door once, too! There’s one of those springy door-stopper things on the wall in the hall; he’d hit it every time he went past. And underfoot?? I unintentionally booted him halfway across the floor about a dozen times. He’d come running right back to wind around my feet some more. He didn’t understand that just because Jonesy is allowed on the counter (to get to his out-of-reach-to-others food on the bookcase) didn’t mean Archie was. I spent most of every evening chasing him down off surfaces he wasn’t allowed on: coffee table, dining table, kitchen counter, stove, ornamental desk. I caught him eying the top of the fridge when I was holding him.

Having multiple cats helps. There’s almost always someone to play with or annoy. And human-cat interactive play is essential. Archie loved the laser pointer and, while I don’t think I ever tired him out, I did manage to slow him down.

But my god was he cute! He’d run everywhere and do that spontaneous spring-into-the-air thing — constantly. And dancing? Oh, the dancing and leaping and playing with every spec of dirt or dust on the floor! And he loved to be petted. Once he discovered his purr, it got louder by the day.

I certainly understand the appeal of kittens/teenagers. Yet that stage is over so soon and you’re left with sedate, sometimes playful, sleep-most-of-the-time cats. Or are you? Just before Archie left, I caught six year old “get that youngster out of here” Murphy playing with Archie’s (very long) tail! Which was adorable because when I first got him, at five months old, his absolute favourite game was playing with Jonesy’s tail. My guys are almost seniors (!!) but they still love to play. They still get the “rips” and tear around the apartment. But they’re not into every little thing. And they’re a little more predictable. And they absolutely love snuggling or just lying on your lap while you’re reading. Mmmmmm. Older cats!


About Adventures in Cat Fostering

I am a cat fosterer for Toronto Cat Rescue. I also have two cats of my own, Jonesy, the black and white, and Murphy, the brown tabby, in the photo. Both were adopted from Toronto Cat Rescue.
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