Ten Reasons To Adopt An Adult Cat From A Shelter

Ten reasons to adopt an adult cat at a glance

  1. You know what you are getting
  2. An adult may be a better choice if you already have a cat
  3. They are better around young children
  4. Adult cats are more mellow
  5. They are past the chewing stage
  6. No housetraining required
  7. Adult cats appreciate a second chance
  8. You will free up space for another animal in need
  9. Adult cats can be easier to care for
  10. You might be their only chance

Adult cats are overlooked by potential new cat parents in favour of kittens. Nothing is cuter than a kitten, but there are advantages to adopt an older cat which we look at in this article.

Don’t shelter cats have issues?

This is a common misconception. There are many reasons cats become homeless through no fault of their own.

  • The previous owner has passed away
  • Change of living circumstances, moving into a rental, divorce, illness, moving to another country
  • Can no longer afford to care of the cat
  • New baby in the home
  • Moving into a house where cats aren’t allowed
  • Unwanted gift
  • Cats that are lost have no identification (microchip or tag) to find the owners
  • Cat is no longer wanted, no time for the cat, bored, adopted a new kitten or puppy
  • The previous family dumped the cat on the street or moved out of a house without taking it
  • Brought in as a stray

Reasons to adopt an adult cat

1. You know what you are getting

It’s hard to tell what kind of a cat a kitten will grow into, will it be shy, friendly, calm, energetic, quiet or talkative? The adult cat’s temperament is already developed.

I always advise potential cat parents to decide what traits they are looking for. Quiet, talkative, independent, follows you around, calm or busy. These are all important questions to ask before you bring a new cat into the home. What if you want a lap cat but end up with an independent cat who would rather be on his own, or adopt a cat who talks non-stop (some people love this). Speak to shelter staff and let them know what you are looking for. They can help to match the right cat for you.

2. An adult can be a better choice if you already have a cat

Especially if the current cat is older, an energetic and playful kitten can be too much for an adult who would rather chill than race around the house.

3. Adults are past the chewing stage

Kittens are prone to chewing, especially when they are teething. Chewing has more significant implications than the damage it causes; kittens can put themselves in danger if they chew the wrong thing, an electrical cord, a toxic plant, a hard object, or a linear foreign body (such as a piece of string or tinsel), which can damage the gastrointestinal tract.

4. They are more mellow

Adults have outgrown the crazy kitten phase; they are more chilled and less likely to get themselves into trouble. Most are happy to snooze on your lap or in the sun. That’s not to say that an adult can’t be fun to play with too, many love nothing more than an interactive game with their human family, but they are less likely to be climbing the curtains or getting into places they shouldn’t.

5. Adult cats are housetrained

There is no toilet training required; most adult cats are housetrained to use a litter tray. Kittens are usually good at this too, but sometimes accidents can happen during the training period.

6. You’re freeing up a place for another cat in need

Adult cats will spend more time in a shelter than a kitten, which takes up space and resources. By adopting an adult cat, you free up space for another cat in need.

7. They are better around young children

Young children don’t always know their strength and older or adult cats are less fragile than a kitten. An adult is more likely to remove itself from an uncomfortable situation than a kitten.

Safety is still important no matter how old (or young) the cat ism and children must learn:

  • How to safely pick up a cat, better still, not to pick up the cat until they are strong enough to safely do so without hurting it
  • To never hit a cat
  • Learn when a cat has had enough
  • Provide a safe place or two for the cat (top of a cat tree, inside a cat bed), and make a rule that when the cat is in his or her safe place, they must be left alone

8. Adult cats appreciate a second chance

Shelters can be stressful and overcrowded, rescue cats, especially adults, seem to appreciate a second chance of a life in a loving family home.

In return, you will be rewarded in spades.

9. Adults are low maintenance

Self-grooming, toileting and feeding (well, you do need to fill their bowl), adult cats are an independent bunch, that doesn’t mean they aren’t loving, but they don’t need the intensive care that kittens do. An adult requires two meals a day; kittens need more frequent meals due to their energy requirements for growth. Sometimes they need a little help in the grooming and cleaning department, especially after a trip to the litter box.

Both kittens and adults can take a little time to settle in, but I have found the adults I’ve adopted have coped much easier than kittens who often miss their feline family.

10. You might be their last chance

Kittens are the first cats to find a home, after all, who can resist a kitten? Adults, particularly older adults, are often overlooked and either spend a considerable amount of time living in the confines of a shelter or worse.

Senior cats, in particular, are hard to rehome, people assume an older cat will have expensive healthcare costs, but this isn’t always true. Shelters are open and honest about underlying medical problems, but the majority of senior cats in shelters are in good health.


  • Julia Wilson, 'Cat World' Founder

    Julia Wilson is the founder of Cat-World, and has researched and written over 1,000 articles about cats. She is a cat expert with over 20 years of experience writing about a wide range of cat topics, with a special interest in cat health, welfare and preventative care. Julia lives in Sydney with her family, four cats and two dogs. Full author bio