Cats for Seniors

Cats make golden companions for people in their golden years.

By Stacy Mantle | Posted: July 19, 2013, 3 p.m. EDT

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Elderly Cats for Elderly People
Senior cats get a boost with help from the Good Mews Animal Foundation.

For more information about the Doris Day Animal Foundation grant and the Golden Companions program, visit Good Mews online or call 770-499-2287., a website dedicated to providing nutritious food to shelter animals, will donate 5,000 meals of Halo’s Spot’s Stew to Good Mews Animal Foundation.

When John (Bud) Lovell, 85, first met Priscilla, he knew she was the cat for him. He spent many hours meeting the feline residents at the Good Mews Animal Foundation, but was always drawn back to the mitted mackerel tabby’s shy personality and striking golden eyes. "She is a beautiful cat and we just got along right away,” Lovell says.

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Upon return to his assisted-living apartment complex, Lovell placed a small orange tree near the window of his second-story apartment. Priscilla spends her days in the windowsill under the tree, watching the birds gather around the feeders outside the window. At night, Priscilla curls up on the bed beside Lovell.

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Lovell and Priscilla’s partnership is a direct result of an innovative adoption program designed to support senior pet adoptions. Good Mews Animal Foundation in Marietta, Ga., – a no-kill, cage-free rescue in its 24th year with more than 100 cats in their care. The Golden Companions program is sponsored by a $5,000 grant from the Doris Day Animal Foundation. "The grant allows us to waive the adoption fee of senior animals to senior citizens,” says Nancy Riley, member of Good Mews Board of Directors.

Find cat food tips for senior and elderly cats >>

Cats in assisted living facilities are becoming more common as care providers realize the value of allowing pets to live on site. Studies show that pets offer seniors a clear sense of purpose; they also improve morale and allow seniors to handle stress better. There is a physical benefit as well. According to a 1990 UCLA study, seniors with pets are more likely to exercise, have lower blood pressure and a decreased likelihood of depression.

Lovell can certainly attest to the benefits of having a pet. "Priscilla has brought me such joy,” Lovell says. "Even when she’s just sitting in the window watching the birds, she brings me pleasure. We’re a great match.”
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Reader Comments

LaDonna    Salt Lake City, UT

1/11/2014 8:14:25 PM

I'm in total agreement. There is nothing better than a pet to help someone, especially if they are alone.

carol    buda, TX

12/18/2013 9:05:43 PM

I have a rousing YES to all older people having a cat, or a dog, or both...They become your friends, your protectors, your family. They give you unconditional love. Many famous people have had cats. They can attest to the intelligence & wonderful companionship from a dear cat or dog. Just DO it! :-)

cindy    kansas city, MO

9/9/2013 9:26:39 PM


I have cancer, which I call an illness. I don't give power to the "c" word. Prognosis is good, but many surgeries are coming between now and summer of 2014.

I've been concerned about what will happen to my pets sh/I be unable to care for them, which w/break my heart. I want to get suggestions and help with creating a fb site. I am able to get a 5k insurance policy, tho I have an illness. This policy will increase to 10k if my illness goes away in 2 years.

I'm taking that 5k and putting it toward a cat and bunny refuge. Suggestions and any info w/be appreciated. What I need now is help to gather info, (I've read Pet Finders report), and to inform people that their pets will most likely be killed esp the bunnies. I am with the maine coon rescue and I see so many emergency placement of cats due to a person passing, going to the hosp, etc.

The ins could be used to care for the pets for the rest of their life and any that is left over, w/be used for blind, deaf cats. It's a 24/7 operation like a hospital requiring many volunteers and a vet.

If interested in this project, my dream, please contact me by email. Surgery maybe coming up soon so I must get as much help to do the info gathering and fb setting up asap. Thanks and Jesus Loves you and the little animals of the world.

Barbara    Clearwater, FL

8/18/2013 7:34:37 PM

This is a wonderful but long overdue idea. I have not hit my "golden years" yet but they are coming. I live alone as I was widowed young and if it wasn't for my kitty, I would be lost. As a former nurse I have seen the positive medical and emotional effect that pets have on the elderly and ill patients in the hospital and hospice. If more people only understood. My late husband had tears in his eyes when he thanked me for finding one of the visiting dogs coming down the hall and guided him right into his room. I love dogs also but I find I would need the purring and love I get from my kitty. Bravo to all the enlightened organizations!

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