Cats are a joy to own and take care of, especially if you are a cat lover. According to articles online, kittens of 12 weeks or 3-4 months old are the ideal ages to adopt. However, this doesn’t mean that full-grown cats aren’t adoptable. They are. They just need a lot more time, work, and love.
Quincy’s story: What is it like adopting a full-grown cat
Around March or April of 2021, my mother broke the news that she is adopting two full-grown cats from a client of theirs. At that time, I was taking care of a cat we adopted a few months previously and just adopted another one so the former would not feel lonely.
So, I tried to dissuade her. I told her it is troublesome to take care of four cats at once and adult cats are even harder to take care of. Yet, my mom was insistent that she needed them to catch pests in the office. As expected, she overestimated them and was not ready for the months that followed.
They take and they take
When Quincy arrived with another cat (which later got adopted by someone else) they would not stop hissing and trying to scratch us every time we get a little too close to their liking. Even as we attempted to feed them, they would squeeze themselves into the other end of the carrier they came in.
They looked pitiful in their cage as their heads snap around in fear upon seeing or hearing the faintest movements. I let them free from their carrier since while it is big enough for two, I believe it is not right for him to stay there.
That same day, I learned that they spent their whole lives in that carrier. Also, they are fast and impossible to approach. For the next two months, they wrecked the place with their urine and feces everywhere.
They drove my parents nuts with how bad they made the office smell. Whenever we would try to catch them, they hid in places we could not find or reach them. However, we were able to catch them after laying some traps that lead them to a box they cannot escape from.
Quincy was first caught and brought home. He was a fat black and white cat turned thin with the most doe-like eyes I have ever seen. We let him go from the carrier upon his arrival knowing this time it will be different.
There are always people at home and fewer places to run and hide compared to where he stayed previously. We had to keep the windows on the first floor closed for months since he might jump out to run away.
The goal here was to get him used to being around people. Hence, I strictly forbid others from trying to pick him up or hitting him when he does something wrong. Sometimes, I would reach out to pet him and if he runs away or hisses then I do not force him to be petted. Never chase a scared cat as chasing them will worsen their fear of people.
Since we had two other cats at home, I had to make sure to keep them out of his way as much as possible so as not to startle and/or fight him. However, I still let them roam around freely hoping that Quincy can watch and learn from them. Adult cats learn like kittens but at a much slower pace. Hence, they need a lot of time and patience which understandably, other people do not have for full-grown cats.
Worth all the fuss and interrupted nights
My desire to get Quincy to where he is today is what kept me going despite all the hardships he put me through. Nowadays, he is not the same ferocious and fearful cat I once knew. He still has doe-like eyes that are hard to deny food to. Like any normal cat, he plays, fights, and he eats, and sleeps a lot. He has gained back weight, would let me cut his nails, and give him a bath without scratching me.
To think that it took weeks before he was comfortable enough to be petted on the head, months before I knew his preferred spot for scratches (hint: elevator butt), and a full year before he would let anyone carry him and pet him on the belly. He has turned into a complete baby.
I still remember the first time Quincy felt comfortable enough to try to sleep beside me. On this particular night, I moved to change my position and felt my foot brush up on fur. It could not be my other cats since they do not sleep at the end of my bed. I suddenly heard paws dash away on the wooden floor as I got up.
Quincy was there in the doorway staring at me before running downstairs to sleep somewhere else. Then, I realized that he has been traumatized his whole life in a cage, and he has no idea how to handle anything outside of it. Yet, he still tries.
In adopting a full-grown cat, we have to treat their traumas first just as we would with people. You might learn something quirky about them or find happiness and comfort in their presence as I did with mine.
All the way from Mindanao, Reimeline is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Media Arts at UP Mindanao with hopes to be an accomplished writer one day. She is mainly a homebody who owns three pet cats and likes to crochet, read stories, play online games, and scroll the internet when she is not writing.