My parents and I have always adopted adult cats. The only time I ever had a kitten was when I was a kitten myself
Our 4th adult family cat passed away 2 years ago, and since then I have moved out and now live on my own. Within a month of moving out I *had* to adopt a cat. I knew I wanted an adult because of our past good experiences with them.
I adopted Maggie from the SPCA, she was around 3 years old. She had previously lived with a male adult, who didn't like her apparantly. Anyway - we got to know her for about a year, she did change a LOT from the first months. Then we started to worry she might be lonely, so we adopted another female adult cat, which Maggie wasn't too pleased about. As hard as it was watching them stalk each other and fight, i believe it was for the best because it really brought out even more charecteristics of each cat. They finally get along, now and Maggie is soooooooooooooooooo, well - just Maggie! she started out being the un-affectionate sour puss, and every day changed little by little - she is now a cuddler and i also notice she talks a lot now too, whereas before she meowed maybe once a day. now it's all day!
she also used to hate being held, but now she puts up with it and sometimes even enjoys it. i don't know if she has changed this much over time due to the other cat in the house, or if she would have drastically changed anyway.
i have changed too - i never thought i'd find another soul mate after my family Kitty died 2 years ago, but Maggie and I have a special bond that i have never experienced before. I think Ruby, her recent friend and i are headed down that same path, but Ruby is less of a challenge for me since she has always been affectionate and a lover.
Speaking of Ruby - yes she's changed noticeably in the last year. She is more confident in herself and won't let Maggie even look at her funny! 6 months ago Ruby would have just ran away. Now she will stalk back!
i don't know if i really answered your questions, feel free to ask more specific ones.
oh - some more thoughts: regarding past owners of older cats....it's deifnitely interesting when you notice specific things that they probably experienced with their past owners. Ruby for example - i think she lived with an opera singer, because she just goes NUTS if you sing for her!!!!!!!!!!! i have never seen a cat react like that. she is also more dog-like than cat-like, so i think she lived with dogs. she is also very scared of spray-bottles, so i know that's how she used to get punished for things. i think she is realizing lately that i won't spray her with Windex
so she has stopped running away whenever we are cleaning something or if i spray perfume on me.
Maggie's tail kinda shivers when she's happy - i think she's had it stepped on pretty badly in her past......
i like having adult cats because of neat things like these to ponder..........