Forgotten feline pensioners are being left on the shelf

Cats Protection is being gripped by a pensioner crisis – no-one wants to adopt its feline senior citizens.

Cats Protection says that its unwanted older cats aged 12 years and above – 65 years and over in human terms – now wait, on average, 96 days before being adopted – 32 per cent longer than in 2010 and well above the charity’s average adoption rate of 40 days.

This has led the organisation to issue an appeal for people to adopt a feline senior citizen or make a donation towards the cost of their care.

“We’ve seen the situation for unwanted older cats get gradually worse over the past few years but we’ve hit an all-time low in the last 12 months,” explained Peter Hepburn, Cats Protection’s Chief Executive.

“Sadly, it’s now not uncommon for a fit and healthy older cat to spend as much as six months or more with us because no-one wants to adopt them.

“Feedback from our volunteers and staff reveals that people seem reluctant to take on an older cat because they fear an older cat will be too expensive to look after, particularly if the cat develops a condition that will require veterinary treatment, and this fear appears to be down to the current economic climate.

“It is a great shame because they make wonderful pets and companions, and improvements in cat care have greatly raised the life expectancy and quality of life for many cats, meaning that many now live to their late teens and early 20s in remarkably good health.

“However, it’s always worth considering taking out pet insurance for your older cat, checking that it will cover the cat in case of any illness that may arise in the future.”

As older cats take up pen spaces for many months, it costs Cats Protection more to care for them and prevents other needy cats from being helped.

However, older cats have a lot to offer owners because of their settled and laid-back natures and liking for human company so a new home or a donation would really help – just £6 could feed an older cat for a month.

Older cats presently being overlooked include 12-year-old Victoria, who has been in care at the charity’s National Cat Adoption Centre in Sussex since 16 August 2011, and 12-year-old Georgie, who has been at the charity’s Derby Adoption Centre since 15 September 2011. Both are friendly cats and would make ideal companions.

To adopt an older cat or to make a donation towards their care, please call the charity’s national Helpline on 03000 12 12 12 or visit cats.org.uk

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