101-Year-Old Woman Adopts 19-Year Old Cat from Animal Shelter

by Jennifer Shea

The Guinness Book of World Records’ oldest cat made it to the ripe old age of 38, but 19 is still pretty old for a cat. And 101 is really getting up there in human years.

Which is why North Carolinians Penny and Gus are glad they found each other.

Gus was the oldest cat at the Humane Society of Catawba County shelter. He was given up for adoption by his owner, who had to part with him due to “unforeseen work commitments,” Newsweek reports. The owner brought Gus in to the local Humane Society shelter, whose mission is to ensure that “no adoptable animal will be euthanized.”

The shelter workers promptly fell in love with Gus, who is pretty spry for his age. And they were rooting for him to be adopted. But older cats don’t get adopted out as quickly as kittens.

Elderly Woman Meets Elderly Cat

“We took Gus in and proceeded to do a health check and found that for 19 years young, Gus was in exceptional health,” Jane Bower, Humane Society of Catawba County’s executive director, told Newsweek.

The shelter could take care of Gus while he waited for his forever home. But a shelter is not a home, and at Gus’s age, it’s far from optimal.

That’s where Penny, age 101, comes in. Her kids were looking for an elderly cat for their mom, who was lonely and didn’t exactly bond with the stuffed cat they had given her.

“The adopter’s family contacted us asking to adopt a senior cat for their mother,” Bower said. “She had recently lost her cat. And although they had given her a stuffed cat, she wasn’t happy because it didn’t purr.”

Now, typically, it is not a good idea to entrust a cat (or dog) to a person of extremely advanced years. They may experience increased mobility issues that prevent them from caring for the animal. Or they may die and leave the animal uncared for and with no place to go.

But luckily for Penny, her family stepped in.

Gus and Penny: A Match Made in Heaven?

“We were cautious because of the age of all parties,” Bower told Newsweek. “But the family said they were willing to care for the cat on behalf of their mother.”

So Gus joined Penny at her house, where he quickly settled in and took to eating ravenously. And the shelter workers feel their refusal to give up on Gus has been rewarded.

“As an animal shelter in the South of the USA, we are constantly full of companion animals. Gus’s age was exceptional but we do regularly see older pets. We still advocate for these animals and work to find them a new home, regardless of their age,” Bower explained.

As Gus’s picture shows, older cats can still be quite adorable. And they’re often considerably more settled-down than kittens, which take time and effort to train.

To find out more about the Humane Society’s work, you can visit HumaneSociety.org.