This article is part of a series we’re calling Questions From You. You send us questions, and we post the answers right here on the 4-Paw Post! If you have a question and would like to have it considered for Questions From You, send an email to with the subject line “Questions From You.” Now, on to today’s question!

Today’s question comes from a young volunteer. “What is the longest stay for a cat at the SPCA?”

As you may know, the SPCA of Hancock County is a no-kill organisation. This means that we do not euthanize for space (ever!), and while most animals are adopted fairly quickly, there are always a few who remain in our care for a longer period before an adopter comes along. We actively work to find homes for special needs animals, older animals, and those who simply are repeatedly overlooked,  and we stand by them for as long as it takes. Sometimes with older cats, that means that they remain with us until their life comes to a natural end.

Miss Priss

Our longest-term cat residents in the past ten years have been Miss Priss and Anna, and their stories go together. Miss Priss stayed with us for 3 years. She arrived at the age of 14 after her owner moved to a nursing home. Although we kept looking for an adopter for her, Miss Priss lived at the SPCA until her heart failed in December 2016. Miss Priss will be fondly remembered as the linen closet kitty. One of her very favorite places to sleep was in the cat bed closet. She liked to climb on top of the stack of all the cat beds like the princess and the pea. We counted the beds once… she had a stack of 17 beds. That adds up to one bed for each year of her life.

Anna on her favorite rug.

Anna stayed with us for 4 years. She was 13 when she arrived at the shelter. Anna’s rear knees were not able to flex correctly, but that didn’t stop her from getting around! Anna and Miss Priss shared the staff office and were able to wander the lobby freely. Anna was always a little bit sassy – heaven help the dog that wanted to sniff her tummy! She would always respond with a sharp swat to the nose and a fierce hiss. Although we often showed Anna to people who were looking for an extra-special cat, she never seemed to be the right fit. She remained with us until Miss Priss passed away. After the loss of Miss Priss, Anna was so out of sorts. She did not want to eat anymore, and her health declined rapidly. She was 17, and we are pretty sure Anna left us to cross the Rainbow Bridge and be with Miss Priss. 

It’s easy to think of how tragic it is that Miss Priss and Anna never found homes, but on the other hand, they both were able to be comfortable and loved here for the final years of their lives. Both had many regular visitors, both volunteers and members of the public. 

If Miss Priss and Anna’s story touched you, please consider adopting an older cat in their memory. Cats ten years of age and older often have longer stays at the shelter, ranging from 2 months to four years. Yet this is the stage of their lives when they are less resilient and their time is more precious, and it’s even more important that they find a home quickly. Adopting an older cat means that you get to give them the greatest gift possible – a loving home in their golden years.