Introducing Mature Cats for Mature People
By FieldHaven Feline Center
Adult cats are typically more difficult to place into homes than cute, appealing kittens. As a result, many older cats languish at the shelter for months before finding homes. We established the Mature Cats for Mature People program to promote the benefits of pet ownership and to encourage the adoption of adult cats.
The medical community recognizes having a pet as having a positive effect upon a variety of medical conditions, including depression, hypertension, dementia, and cardiac conditions, as well as general-well being. Considerable amounts of research have proven the health benefits of companion animals.
A study done in nursing homes where companion animals have become part of therapy showed the use of prescription drugs and the overall cost of caring for patients dropped significantly. In new nursing home facilities in New York, Missouri, and Texas that featured animals and plants as an integral part of the environment, medication costs dropped from an average of $3.80 per patient per day to $1.18 per patient per day.1
Another study revealed only 6% of non-pet owners survived at least one year after hospitalization for heart problems, compared to the 28% of persons with pets. Additionally, pets may actually lessen the risk of heart attacks.2
This research has created an increased tolerance for pets in elderly housing facilities. All states now allow pets in senior housing, including nursing homes. This policy shift has helped to reduce the number of owner relinquishments, as it no longer is necessary for any person relocating to senior housing to automatically give up their pet. It also provides another avenue for adoptions of senior pets.
With the Mature Cats for Mature People program, the adoption fee is waived for senior citizens adopting a senior cat. The program promotes adult cats while also providing an affordable way for the adopter to obtain a pet. The cats have received thorough medical exams, including lab work (if warranted), and any necessary medical or dental treatments prior to being placed up for adoption. This allows adopters a reasonable amount of assurance of the pet’s health, minimizing the chance of veterinary care being needed in the weeks following the adoption.
1 Eileen Mitchell, “Just What the Doctor Ordered,” San Francisco Chronicle E12, Sept. 20, 2003.
2 Erika Friedmann, The Role of Pets in Enhancing Human Well-Being: Physiological Effects, 1995