A year ago, Tom Brady couldn’t get an interview. In a league desperate for quarterbacks, teams overlooked his six Super Bowl rings, gaudy career stats and reputation as a selfless team player because he was too old, couldn’t move, couldn’t throw deep and supposedly dependent on Coach Belichick for success. A year later, Brady’s headed back to the Super Bowl (10th time) with a new team, a new coach, in a new league, with the same arm and lack of mobility. It’s a shake your head, NFW moment for anyone who follows football.

So what’s that mean for animal rescue? Well, like NFL general managers, potential adopters overvalue youthful exuberance and undervalue proven veterans. It’s easy to be smitten with kittens—they tumble around the house and inspire all sorts of Facebook moments—but while you’re taking delivery of a kitten now, a cat’s what you’re ultimately gonna get. Since they’re all growing up at some point, why not consider an adult that can deliver proven personality, tendencies and companionship?

Maybe he’s got an odd purr, a cloudy eye or is Jackson Pollock with litter. On the other hand, he tolerates kids, dogs and awkward idiosyncrasies—that baby talk, really?—and warms up for dinner on the scratching post not your favorite Pottery Barn couch. Maybe she’s older, has a tipped ear or an ailment that requires occasional vet visits. On the other hand, she sleeps on your desk instead of skidding across it, respects your wine glass while you binge-watch Bridgerton and doesn’t feel the need to challenge curiosity’s reputation every time you leave the house.

We’re placing 30+ kittens a week and thankful for it, but in truth, some of the best cats are the older ones that no one gives a second look. Banana, Tuloo, Majik, Harry, Niko, Nash, Cleo, Harmony and Woody meet 90% of the prospective adopter’s wish list once you get past the “kitten that’s cute” part. The most common feedback for every older cat we’ve placed is “OMG…He’s so awesome!”, and I’m sure if you asked the Bucs locker room what they thought of Brady now, they’d agree that cat is awesome too. So if you’re looking to adopt, spend some time with proven and predictable adults. You might get the results you’re looking for and sooner than you’d hoped. As for our prediction next Sunday? Old age and treachery always overcomes youth and skill!

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