Seeing older cats in the shelter bothers me a lot. After rasing my cat out of his kitten years I swore I would never get a kitten again. Older cats are different. They are affectionate, easier to handle, and don't get into mischief. My cat is 17 now but from birth until he was about 10 he was a pain (but I still loved him). He didn't like being around and ran every time I tried to go near him. Now, I just have to be within a foot of him before he begins purring. He actively seeks me out (when he's not sleeping 23 hours a day).
I believe that if cats weren't a regular pet (and instead considered "exotics") many proclaimed "cat-haters" would probably like cats because they are "cool"; beautiful, graceful, efficient killers, soft, mean, and whatever else people like about cool exotics. Okay, maybe persians aren't that cool looking ...