Many people who have retired consider owning a pet cat. The flexibility and free time now available to you provide an opportunity that might not have been practical while working or looking after a family. With the children having long since flown the nest and grandkids now older, the physical and emotional benefits of sharing your life with a cat or dog can more than outweigh the commitment needed.
So if you’ve weighed the pros and cons and decided to bring a pet into your life, the next question is which animal to choose.
Cat or Dog?
First, dogs need exercise, sometimes lots of it. Even smaller breeds need regular, supervised outings to keep them healthy and happy. This could be just the ticket for active retirees, but for many folks, cats may be more suitable. They can happily live indoors, and when you need to go out, they can be left alone for far longer than dogs. If they do venture outside, they’re capable of looking after themselves and returning home without training. They also require far less grooming and food.
But what else is it about cats that make them excellent pets? Here are some other reasons why you should consider a friendly feline as a partner in retirement.
Ultimately, humans are social beings who thrive on close interaction. If you live alone or don’t get to see family and friends regularly, a cat is there to greet you when you wake up and when you arrive home or just to jump in your lap in the evening.
The new rules governing socializing due to the COVID pandemic mean, for a significant amount of people, that isolation and loneliness have increased. As a result, it’s understandable why people would opt to own a friendly cat to help see them through what can be challenging times.
Mental and Physical Well-Being
Did you know owning a cat could cut the risk of stroke or heart disease by as much as one-third? Petting a cat regularly has been shown to lower heart rate, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels, as well as increasing serotonin, the feel-good hormone.
Feline purring has long been known to have a calming, soothing effect. Amazingly, there is now research indicating that the sound frequency of a cat’s purr has therapeutic qualities for healing the human body. On top of these benefits, a lot of owners report that their cats can sense their moods and provide comfort and affection when they need it most.
Cats are low maintenance, so someone who enjoys a relaxed retired life won’t have to worry so much about walks, bathing, or grooming. They are also generally healthier than dogs or at least don’t get into as many scrapes — which is good news for both stress levels and budget.
Even though cats are less of a hassle, the interaction, and care they do require to provide great functional exercise for older owners. Playtime provides gentle, fun exercise, keeping both you and your pet’s joints mobile and your minds active. A laser pointer can provide hours of fun and can be used from the comfort of your favorite chair!
After the honeymoon period of retirement wears off, one of the most common things people miss is the routine and structure that work provided. With no fixed time to get up and often no one else to answer to, the gentle demands of looking after a cat is a great substitute. Having set times for feeding and play helps give a renewed sense of purpose and responsibility that might be missing after a long career or role as a partner has ended.
Kitten or Cat?
As cute as they are, kittens can be far more stressful than adult cats. Grown felines have a little bit less excess energy and fewer training needs and are more content to snooze on the chair. Then again, for some retirees, the vitality and zest a kitten has can provide a new lease on life.
Retirement is something many people look forward to. Along with freedom, however, it can be a challenging time for some due to isolation or as a result of the current social climate. Looking after a cat has proven physical and emotional health benefits. As well as being a great company, they’re happy indoors and have low exercise and training demands. This makes them great companions and ideal for retired people.
If you’re looking for a community that helps you and your wellbeing, Riddle Village can assist! Whether you are stopping in for a visit or you are a new resident; our welcoming community will quickly make you feel right at home. Schedule a visit and see for yourself. Call 610-891-3700.