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Elderly Cats Make Purrfect Pets for Some New Yorkers

By Megan Cerullo | May 4, 2014 6:33pm
 Lovable cats of just the right vintage were up for adoption Sunday in Gramercy.
Elderly Cat Adoption Fair
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GRAMERCY— It was the place to be for those in the market for dignified, whiskery types.

Cauz for Pawz thrift store, in cooperation with The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, played host for its inaugural ‘Strictly Seniors’ adoption event for cats seven years and older Sunday afternoon.

From 12 p.m. till 4 p.m., the organization, with the help of Frankie’s Fund for Feline Care & Rescue, showed off some well-seasoned felines.

In three years of existence, Cauz for Pawz, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to raising money for animal rescue facilities across the country, has supported over 43 related charities, Cathryn Duhigg, president of the organization, said.

She came together with Frankie's Feline Fund to try and provide homes for the kind of cats that usually wind up facing euthanization — not at no-kill shelters.

“Older cats are high on the list of getting euthanized so I figured that somebody had to take up their cause," said Bunny Hofberg, the fund's founder. 

Part of the appeal of adopting an older cat versus a kitten is that their personalities have already formed, giving potential caretakers a better sense of the kind of animal they’ll be living with, Hofberg said.

“A lot of times kittens don’t grow into the animals their owners wanted them to be, but when you adopt an older cat, you know what you’re getting."

The other side benefit, she noted, was a shorter committment than the 15 years average lifespan of cats.

Hofberg rescues the majority of her cats, 15 of which were up for adoption at the afternoon’s event, from kill shelters in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island.

The event drew interest from young couples to elderly singletons seeking a range of cats from playful and inquisitive to quiet, furry, doting companions.

Greg Scis and Paula Dinardo, who live in Brooklyn, were matched up by Hofberg with a male cat named Lucky, who according to Scis is the friendliest cat he’s ever had.

They contacted her after learning that a pet-store cat they were hoping to buy had already been spoken for.

When asked about the upsides of living with a senior cat, Dinardo spoke up. "They are wise, laid back, and already house trained.”

And Lucky won't be retiring from an active life anytime soon; his new owners bought him a harness and leash so that they can take him on regular outdoor walks in their backyard.

Johanna, 71, who did not want her last name used, came to the event as the current owner of a 12 1/2-year-old cat, in hopes of finding a new companion for him.  Harrison she said, was lonely after the recent passing of his female feline housemate. “He needs company and I think he might like to have another four-legged friend around to remind him that he’s a cat,” she said.

When asked why she had opted to adopt an older cat rather than a kitten, she offered: “I am at the age now where I appreciate the joys of any creature that’s older, including myself!”