▶ Watch Video: Senior citizens and cats find their “purrfect” match

Centreville, Virginia — At a recent adoption fair in Northern Virginia, the kittens received all the love, while the senior cats were largely ignored. It’s an old, sad story — cats who lose their human companions are often euthanized or spend the rest of their lives alone. 

Riley, a 12-year-old cat, is in need of a forever home. 

“We haven’t had any applications on him at all. He’s the best cat. He loves to be held. He wants to be in your lap,” said Cathy Awad, the founder of Fancy Cats Rescue Team. 

Fancy Cats Rescue Team has placed more than 15,000 cats in homes — many through its program, Senior Cats for Senior Laps. 

“Most seniors just want companionship. A kitten is not going to do that,” Awad said. 

It’s a growing trend. There are now at least 56 shelters in 35 states that have a pets-for-seniors program for cats and senior dogs, who also face difficulty getting adopted. 

Bonnie Paul has five senior cats, including 12-year-old Gracie, who decided she was not going to perform for the camera the day CBS News was in her home. But normally, Paul says, they’re all very affectionate. 

Bonnie Paul has five senior cats. 

CBS News

The best thing about senior cats is “the love they give you,” Paul said. 

There are plenty of senior cats like Riley who are waiting for their chance to fall in love.