I updated my 2009 macbook pro this weekend from 10.11 (last supported OS) to 10.15. The best part about it all is that the computer runs FASTER with Catalina installed then it did with El Capitan! It’s possible that this is due to the fresh install but it’s nice to breathe new life into old hardware that is clearly still working perfectly fine as a daily machine. If i need some more horsepower there is always the ESXi 7.0 instance with any flavor of OS, including the new version of Catalina I virtualized last weekend.
Macbook upgrade patch can be found at https://dosdude1.com, just make sure you have a decent thumb drive. I spent HOURS fidgeting with this issue before plugging in a proper EFI supported hard drive for the boot device.