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Cats in Assisted Living Situations

Cats can help elderly people.

Having a cat around can have tremendous benefits for people, including:

  • Decreasing the risk of dying from heart disease (Adnan I Qureshi, 2009).
  • Possibly helping heal joint and muscle conditions with the frequency of their purr.
  • Relieving stress and lowering blood pressure.

Those benefits don't decrease as a person ages. Older adults may derive even more benefits from cat ownership, including the relief of loneliness and depression and the development of a sense of being needed.

Cats and Assisted Living Facilities

When a person lives in an assisted living situation, the presence of cats can be a huge boon. Some therapists use pets as part of their treatment for dementia and senility.

Some challenges can arise surrounding bringing a cat into an assisted living situation, including:

  • Policies and restrictions against animals in the home.
  • Lack of space for a cat to play and climb.
  • Allergies in other residents or staff members of the home.
  • Costs of adequately caring for the cat, including food, litter, preventative care, and treatment of any illnesses that arise.
  • Liability for any damage the cat may cause to the building itself or anyone's belongings.

If you or a loved one is moving into an assisted living facility and wants to take your cat along, you'll need to investigate the policies at the places you're considering and find a good fit.

Resources for Choosing an Assisted Living Facility

As you are researching assisted living places and deciding on the best one for you and your cat or considering adopting a cat to live with a loved one already in assisted living, you'll have much to consider. Not only do you need to think about the issues listed in the section above, but you'll also need to plan for what will happen to the cat if the resident can no longer care for him (Learn more: "How You Can Care for Your Cat After You're Gone.")

Take a look at this comprehensive guide for pets in assisted living facilities for more information and further resources:


  1. Adnan I Qureshi, M. M. (2009, Jan. 2). Cat ownership and the Risk of Fatal Cardiovascular Diseases. Results from the Second National Health and Nutrition Examination Study Mortality Follow-up Study. Retrieved from

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