Kitty cat considerations

Dear Annie: I am hoping you can help me. I am an avid animal lover, and I have had animals all my life. I am now on the brink of turning 65 and have no pets. I am in very good health. Also, I am on the autism spectrum (high functioning). Despite 30 years of counseling, I have no friends or family. I am yearning to adopt a cat! However, I have reservations because of my age.

What if I suddenly had to go in the hospital for a few days or even a week? I have no one to look after my pet. What happens to my cat if I pass away? I have no one to take care of her/him. I am so worried about this that it has delayed my going to the shelter to bring home a precious friend.

Do you know of any programs available for people like me? Perhaps a service that I can call to make sure I am alive and well, tending to the needs of my cat. If you or your readers have any ideas, I would be quite grateful. I really love animals, and I have had veterinarians tell me any animal I adopt will be “lucky indeed.” — Missing Out on Friends

Dear Missing Out: It’s a wise idea to have a system in place so that someone will know if you’re in a bind — not just for your future cat’s sake but also for yours! It would be beneficial to get plugged in to some form of community, even if human company isn’t something you crave (based on your letter, I’m not sure). Perhaps volunteering at an animal shelter would be a good option: You’d be working alongside people who also love animals and would be likely to check on your cat for you, should you run into obstacles.

Also, you might consider adopting an adult cat (i.e., 5-6 years old) instead of a kitten if you’re worried you might not be able to care for a cat for 16 years (the average lifespan of an indoor cat). Adult cats have a harder time finding homes than kittens — only 60 percent of cats older than 18 months get adopted, while more than 82 percent of kittens do — so you’d be doing an extra-great thing.

I’ll let you know what other tips I hear from readers on adopting pets as a senior. But I don’t think you should wait to hear those tips to proceed with adopting. I concur with the veterinarians: The cat who lands in your lap is a felicitous feline indeed.

(Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com. This column is syndicated by Creators Syndicate columnists. Visit the website at www.creators.com.)