Recently, someone emailed to see if a senior cat at the shelter was still available for adoption. They were looking for an older cat to “save” knowing that the kittens and active young adult cats would sell themselves and find homes quickly.
Most adopters do look for the younger, more active pets. Often, animal shelters put a limit on how many older pets they will take in as these animals tend to be in shelters for a lot longer than the youngsters.
The fact that this one family was searching high and low for the perfect older pet got me thinking about why older pets make good companions.
Let’s just take out the “saving a life” factor when it comes to adopting an older pet – that’s a given. Living for months on end in a small kennel no matter how clean it is, how much food is provided, or how many minutes of love is given from shelter staff, it is not a home. Older pets truly do better in a home.
If you are thinking of bringing a pet into your home, here are some things to consider that may put an older pet top of your list.
1) Already house trained. You just need to learn the best spot for the litter box or your dog’s “please open the door” signal.
2) No need to spend oodles on toys, perhaps one or two will do. Since older pets are less active you won’t need to break the bank trying to find the perfect toy to keep your pet occupied.
3) A comfy bed, perhaps with a view, will do nicely. Older pets tend to relax and sleep more. A bed that will ease any aches and perhaps be placed right in line with a long-lasting sunspot could win you extra purrs or wags.
4) Less chance of a precious nick knack being broken since older pets generally are not apt to jump or bolt around the house like they did in their younger days.
5) Be rewarded with the peace and quiet of a companion who would rather lay next to you than get into mischief.
6) Learn your veterinarian’s name. Yes, you will find an older pet requires a few more visits to the veterinary clinic, perhaps a special diet to help with an infirmity, and maybe a daily pill. How scary similar is that to your daily routine. How many of us have cut out a few things from our diet or now take a pill or three on a daily basis.
With love, good nutrition, great medical care, and patience, your pet will be older longer then he/she was younger. My two older cats are the apple of my eye. Clio is a young 13 and Mack is an aging-a-little-to-fast-for-my-taste 16 year old.
by Kathy Covey