Young-at-heart senior kitizen likes to sing for her supper

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A spritely 20-year-old rescue cat who likes to sing loudly is a poster girl for mature moggies, according to her North London owners.

“Gizmo is just as lively as a cat half her age,’ said Jenny Ayre, a marketeer from Crouch End. “She is surprisingly energetic and agile for an older lady. She doesn’t let age hold her back.

“Living with Gizmo hasn’t been any different to adopting a younger cat. We only had to get used to one thing; Gizmo is deaf so she meows a lot. And quite loudly, too. We call it her singing. She’s always calling us to sit on the sofa with her or asking for more food. She’s our beautiful cat with a big heart and a very loud voice.”

Although this senior kitizen had recently clocked up two decades, the couple were undeterred by Gizmo’s age when they adopted her from Cats Protection’s Harrow Homing Centre.

Gizmo came into care when her owner was unable to look after her. After a spell in foster care, she was advertised on the charity’s website to be rehomed in February 2022.

Lydia Sawyer, Manager at Cats Protection’s Harrow Homing Centre, said: “Older cats are much harder to home than cute kittens. People can be concerned about health issues or believe they’re not as loving or playful as younger cats. While some can have ailments, our team of vets monitor and can advise on the best care for cats that we home.”

On average, older cats in the charity’s care wait three times longer to find homes than their younger counterparts – despite having some great qualities that make them the perfect pet for some. Gizmo was lucky; within a month she was adopted by Jenny Ayre and Declan Sheahan, of North London.

Lydia said: “Gizmo was a very loving cat and from the day she arrived we know that she had something special to offer.”

Jenny added: “We really wanted to give an older cat a loving home to live out their twilight years. We had initial concerns that maybe we’d bond emotionally with a cat that might not be with us for that long, but any doubts were massively outweighed by the fact that we knew we could give her a happy home.

“We read about Gizmo online and then as soon as we met her, we knew it was meant to be.”

Having lived with Gizmo for a few months, Jenny is convinced that they made the right choice. She said: “Our experience with Gizmo should definitely encourage people to give a second chance to an older cat. They still have so much to share. Giving Gizmo a home has been so rewarding.”

Cats Protection champions senior cats with its annual Mature Moggies Day (16 June), highlighting the benefits and sharing myth-busting advice and support for anyone considering adopting an older cat.

After being smitten by Gizmo, Jenny and Declan prepared their home for the new arrival.

Jenny said: “We were excited to adopt Gizmo and did what we could to make her homecoming more comfortable. We must have done something right as she settled in super quickly. It took us quite by surprise.

“Within a few days of coming home with us she was jumping up on the sofa for cuddles on her dad’s lap, which has become her favourite thing to do.”

Cats who have lived a life often come with character traits and personality quirks, which is what makes them so appealing to many owners of mature moggies.

Gizmo is no exception, Jenny said: “Gizmo is very sociable and loves fuss and attention. It took us a little while to figure out her play habits and we tested a good many toys in the process, but now she loves to embrace her inner hunting skills by chasing a ribbon around the living room.”

Though older cats like Gizmo may still feel like a kitten at times, eventually they’ll start to slow down. Older cats often need a little extra care and attention as they enter their twilight years, and there are lots of ways to help a cat continue to be healthy and happy.

Cats Protection has produced a guide on how to care for elderly cats, including behaviour to look out for, recommended food types and how to ensure they’re comfortable at home.

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