January 29, 2022 – 6:06 pm
An animal rescue pairs older cats with older humans to fight loneliness in the South Okanagan.
The Seniors for Seniors program is for seniors who live alone and want to share their space with an adult cat. It is run by Happy Tails Cat Rescue in Oliver, although their services extend as far north as Kelowna.
“It’s the best of both worlds for cats and seniors – they can spend their golden years relaxing with someone else,” founder Shari Rowland said. “It’s like a long-term foster situation. If the situation of the elderly person changes and they need to be taken care of or they don’t like the cat, we take it back.
Before matching senior cats with seniors, Happy Tails makes sure cats are healthy with a vet check-up. Additionally, cat rescue will help with food and litter for seniors on a tight budget.
“We’ll provide the litter, the food and the scratching post – they just have to provide the love, care and attention.”
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Rowland said older cats generally have a harder time being adopted and prefer quieter spaces. Therefore, pairing them with older people solved both of these problems.
One of the cats taking part in the program is 12-year-old Mitzee, who is “very happy” to be living with her eldest, she said.
The shelter has taken in around 100 cats since it opened last spring, and currently there are just under 20 living there. However, all of the cats currently living there are under the age of eight, so any seniors interested in the program will have to be placed on a waiting list.
“The availability of cats is limited to what we have. What happens is what we have to offer.
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However, Rowland said spring tends to be busy for cat rescue organizations, so she anticipates an influx in the coming months.
Anyone who wants to apply for Seniors for Seniors can complete an application on the Happy Tails website here.
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