When I first walked in to Jasmine’s foster home a few months ago, I was ready to meet a sweet, shy cat of five and a half years. Her foster mom, Holly, had warned me before my visit that Jasmine would likely hide and may not be as excited to see me at first—as an older cat, she wouldn’t be as outgoing as a young kitten, and might need some time to warm up. I walked into the apartment and sat down with Jasmine in a smaller enclosed room. Within seconds, she crept out of her carrier and snuggled up to my leg, sitting down right next to me and purring softly.
We only had a meet and greet for a few minutes before shyness prevailed and Jasmine scuttled back to her carrier—but I knew that our brief time together was just a glimpse at the affection she had to offer. I went home that night and thought of this beautiful cat with marled grey fur and stunning green eyes. With such a gentle disposition and calm demeanor, how had she not been adopted into a loving home yet?
The next morning I woke up and called Holly. I wanted to give Jasmine a wonderful life and allow her to enjoy the rest of her years in a quiet, cozy forever home. When I went over to sign the paperwork and pick up Jasmine, I learned that she had been visited a few times by prospective adopters over the past year, but her initial shyness and older age contributed to adopters passing her over for younger, more outgoing cats and kittens. This made me very sad, to realize that so many older animals with less initial excitement toward new people were not getting the homes they deserve.
During Jasmine’s first two to three weeks with me, she hid a lot in my front closet, only coming out at night to jump up on the bed and gently paw for some attention. I gave her the time and space that she seemed to want by setting out her food and toys, gently patting her and talking to her when she decided to come out, and letting her get comfortable in her new home on her own terms. The process of giving Jasmine time and space was a little bit hard at first for an owner who was so eager to spend time with her new cat, but it truly paid off.
Three months later, Jasmine has completely come out of her shell. Not a morning goes by that she isn’t waiting at my door to greet me with lots of “good morning!” meows and leg rubs. Every morning and night she will reach up for a kiss on the nose to say good morning or good night. Throughout the day she rolls around playing with her favourite catnip toy, loves to be brushed, sleeps in the sunny spot on my bed, and enjoys looking out the window and having quiet, peaceful moments. As an older cat, she isn’t interested in scratching my furniture, and she is happy to enjoy downtime when I am at work—cheerfully running to the door and greeting me when I get home after enjoying a restful day. When I am around, she is with me every step of the way. Within seconds of sitting down on the couch with a book, she jumps up beside me and wants to snuggle down for quality time together—much as she did on the day we met.
I wanted to share this story about Jasmine because it demonstrates that when given a little bit of time, patience, and love, an older cat can really let their personality shine and find comfort in a forever home. Jasmine may not have been the most outgoing cat upon first glance, but her gentle approach and willingness to come over and sit next to me was what mattered most. She wanted the connection just as much as I did. At five and a half years of age, Jasmine is a youthful, playful, and loving cat that clearly enjoys her life.
Adopting an older cat doesn’t necessarily mean that the animal will not want to play or enjoy your company. It doesn’t mean that they are past their prime and won’t be loving or fun pets. I think the exact opposite is true: these animals are so patient and grateful to be given a forever home that they demonstrate love and companionship as often as they can when someone gives them a chance. When Jasmine rests her head on my lap and drifts off to sleep, her age doesn’t matter to me. We have a special bond that I feel every day, and no fewer or extra years would change that.
Thank you for reading Jasmine’s story. I truly hope it encourages more adopters to consider giving an older cat a home. Jasmine is one of many older cats that wait patiently for someone to bring them home. Whether a cat is one year old, five, ten, or fifteen, their desire for love and companionship is unwavering. They will find a special place in your heart if you give them a chance.
— Amy Ellen Soden