It is only human to want a companion by your side. When you are retired and the kids are gone to college or moved out to have a life of their own, getting a cat might be the perfect idea. Cats are amazing companions for the elderly, too because they are low maintenance and their cost of care is not high. But it is important to choose the right breed of cat because some cat breeds are highly active and may require more attention on a daily basis. That’s why we chose the best cat breeds for seniors and retirees.
Benefits of Cats for Seniors
University of Michigan conducted a study in October 2018 among people between age 50-80 called National Poll on Healthy Aging. 55% of the people in the study owned at least one pet and 88% of those owning a pet said that their pets helped them enjoy life, 86% stated that their pets made them feel loved, 79% had decreased levels of stress due to their pets and according to 73% their pets provided a sense of purpose.
72% of those who lived alone and/or had fair or poor physical health reported that their pets helped them cope with physical or emotional symptoms. 43% of the people who lived alone and 46% of those in fair or poor physical health even reported that their pets “helped them take their mind off pain”
The stress relief benefits of pets are understood even better with all the Covid-19 measures around the world. There are numerous studies showing that people with pets are coping better with stress and loneliness.
Some other benefits of pets for seniors are;
- helping sticking to a routine,
- easing pain,
- making them more sociable,
- keeping aging adults physically and mentally active.
Whether you decided to get a cat for yourself or you want to get a cat for your parents or your grandparents, choosing the right breed is very important. Choosing a breed that is highly active and likes running around at lightning speed might not a be great idea if your grandparent has limited mobility.
Check our list of best cat breeds for seniors and retirees and make an informed decision.
1 – Snowshoe
The Snowshoe originated in Philadelphia, PA and is an intelligent breed that can be taught how to open doors and many other tricks to help the elderly. They are also affectionate, sweet-tempered and loyal. The snowshoe gets on well with both people and other animals but is a vocal breed so it may not be the best breed to have in a nursing home. It is not a common breed due to difficulties of breeding.
2 – British Shorthair
The British Shorthairs are purebred British Domestic cats. The British Shorthair is a good-natured cat with an easy-going personality. It is generally a quite and reserved breed that is independent, undemanding and does not require too much attention from its human. They generally don’t like being carried around but their short and puffy coats are nice to stroke and pet. They are considered the teddy bears of the cat world due to their appearance.
3 – Birman
Birmans are very intelligent, gentle and affectionate cats who develop close bonds with their humans and like their presence. They have semi-longhair with a color-point pattern that is easy to groom and they don’t have an undercoat so they don’t shed.
4 – Persian
Persians are one of the oldest and most popular cat breeds of the world. Their quite, gentle, sweet and affectionate nature with their long, thick, fluffy coat gave them the fame they deserved centuries ago. Sparing only a few minutes daily to brush a Persian cat is more than enough to have that spectacular fluffy coat.
5 – Burmilla
Burmilla originated in UK after an accidental mating between a Chinchilla (Silver Persian) and a Burmese. The shorthair versions of Burmilla require minimal grooming that is a once-a-week brushing session. They are friendly, affectionate, sociable and gentle creatures that are playful but not overly active. Burmillas are not very common in U.S. so it might be a little tricky to find one.
6 – Scottish Fold
Scottish Fold has a genetic issue that affects the cartilage in the body which also gives it the forward bended ears. They are very loving cats who don’t like being left alone. They are also intelligent and quite cats. While shorthair version needs only combing once or twice a week, longhair version needs regular grooming (3-4 times every week). Their genetic issue puts them at risk of developing early-onset arthritis.
7 – Russian Blue
The Russian Blue is what the name suggests; it originated in Russia and it has a distinct silvery-blue color accompanied by beautiful bright green eyes. Their soft and plush coat needs only minimal weekly grooming and they are one of the least shedding breeds. These cats are gentle, quite, somewhat reserved but affectionate and playful around their humans. They are so intelligent that you can even play fetch with them but this doesn’t mean that they are overly active.
8 – Ragdoll
Ragdoll is a docile, loving and calm cat that is famous for its affectionate and laid-back character. Ragdolls like following their humans around the house and have a dog-like personality, greeting their humans at the door and loving companionship. They even play fetch and are easy to train. Although they are considered moderate activity cats, they are also lap cats who enjoy curling up on the sofa with its human.
9 – American Shorthair
American Shorthair is a very popular cat and can be found easily at a nearby shelter or breeder. Their shorthair requires minimal grooming and being independent cats they don’t require much attention or maintenance. These healthy cats have a long life-span and are quite cats with loving, affectionate, easy-going and gentle characters. They are quite adaptable and can live in many environments.
10 – Pixie-bob
Pixie-Bob is another cat with a dog-like personality. It likes walking on a leash with its human and car rides. These large and sturdy cats are known for their good health, easy-going, affectionate, patient, mellow personalities and their extreme intelligence. They are also social animals who generally hang around in the same room with its human and tend to like meeting new people. Although it is a vocal breed, it rarely meows and it generally chirps, growls and makes some other noises. The shorthaired version requires weekly grooming, otherwise matting and excessive shedding might be observed as they have a wooly double coat.
11 – Domestic Shorthair or Longhair
Domestic shorthairs and domestic longhairs are cats without a pedigree. They come in all sizes, shapes and colors. They are generally very friendly and very healthy. Some of them are active cats while others are more laid-back. You can find them in almost every shelter and are not expensive. Most of the time they are very low maintenance cats.
12 – Exotic Shorthair
Exotic Shorthair is very similar to Persian cats but they have high energy levels. They are very gentle and calm felines who love the company. They get on well with other pets thanks to their loving and sweet personalities. They love playing and being around people. Leaving them alone for long periods of time is not recommended.