Has it ever happened to you that when you look down on a basket full of tiny kittens you are overwhelmed by emotion and feel like taking home at least one? Unfortunately, adult cats don’t elicit that sort of emotion in us and, in fact, they are often overlooked for adoption. We went to talk with Elena of the Amici di Chicco association, a group with a blog called amicidichicco.it and a page on facebook committed to overthrowing the prejudices people have when it comes to adopting adult cats.
Where did the idea for this association come from?
Amici di Chicco came about after one of my cats, Chicco, passed away. He had spent his entire life in a cat kennel until my husband and I adopted him, and nine months later he was dead. This made us very angry. We did not want a repetition of this ever again, we wanted to prevent other cats from spending their lives in a cage at a kennel. And so we founded this somewhat unusual association to fight people’s prejudices against adopting adult and elder cats.
What sort of negatives are there about abandoned adult cats?
The most common is: “I want a little kitty so I can train him as I like.” Just like people, the personality of cats is also partially the fruit of their experiences and education. But much of it is determined by genetic makeup. Not only, but you can’t train cats like you do with dogs. That means that taking a kitty is no guarantee that its character will be anything like what we are looking for, nor does it assure it will do what we want it to. On the contrary. When you adopt an adult cat you make a very clear decision because the cat’s personality is already defined and expressed. Another widespread fear is that an adult cat won’t grow to love his new family. I can assure you that this is not true. The gratitude I have seen in cats saved from the kennel is immense.
What are the advantages of adopting a grown cat? Who would you suggest take one?
There are so many benefits. For example, an adult cat is much easier to take care of than a kitty, who needs constant attention and playtime. Adult cats are usually very calm, they sleep a lot more during the day and you can leave them alone without fear of coming home to a shredded household! I think an adult cat is ideal to keep older people company, or for anyone who is out a lot, people who work.
What should we do when we decide to take home an adult cat?
Be patient. Give the cat a chance to trust us and get accustomed to its new home. It actually takes less time than you think, but it’s still a good idea to take everything in stride, not get anxious. It’s also a good idea to stop in at the vet for a check-up, just to make sure everything is in order from a medical point of view.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to take an adult cat?
Older cats are usually very sweet-natured. They don’t ask for much except to spend the precious time they have left in a home with a family that loves them and will care for them. They may need a bit more medical attention, but I assure you that you will be fully compensated by the immense and unconditional love they will give you.
Thank you, Elena, and your association for the time you’ve given us.