Adopting an older pet

Statistically, senior animals are less likely to be adopted than their younger counterparts. Often overlooked, these animals are typically more mellow and have established boundaries and personality traits, which can be the perfect scenario for those simply looking for a companion. 

There are many benefits to adopting at each age— let’s dive into what this may mean for an older pet.

  • Older pets typically require less training. Depending on their background, these animals may be fully trained and socialized, but every animal is different.
  • They are calmer and typically require less exercise. Elderly dogs and cats will be the perfect friend for someone looking for quiet, easygoing company. Less likely to require long walks and runs, a simple walk around the neighborhood or a game of fetch could be all they need to hit snooze for the rest of the day.
  • They are more established. An elderly pet will know what kind of food they like, what sounds they run from, and how they interact with other pets. Leaving less to the imagination, elderly pets can reduce the stress of trying new things for the first time and instead live out their happiest days with you, altering their daily life to be just how they like it.
  • They Cause Less Mess and Want to Snuggle More. Kittens learn by engaging with their environment. If they are are not constantly supervised, it can lead to destruction in your home. As they explore their world, they can chew up your stuff (just like puppies!), claw your furniture, and run around crazily, which could lead to broken items. Adult cats are mature, and their play is calmer and not as hyperactive. Of course, even a calmer adult cat needs lots of attention, exercise, and playtime. They just tend to be a little more mellow about it all.
  • As an added bonus, an older cat is more likely to want to curl up with you when you go to bed or when you’re relaxing on the couch after a long day.
  • Older Pets Need Less Supervision. Sure, kittens and puppies are cute, but they need a lot of supervision. They get into a lot of things, and they’re more delicate. You’ll need to offer more patience with them as they grow up, and you will need to provide more toys and distractions to keep them occupied. Adult cats and dogs provide so many advantages that you might want to consider adopting an older one.1 Older pets are more emotionally mature and are more independent. They know how to occupy themselves while you’re at work. They also won’t get into “trouble” like kittens typically do.
  • You’ll Know if the Cat Gets Along with Kids or Dogs and vice versa. With an older cat, you can learn his preferences before you bring him home. This way, you know ahead of time if he’ll mesh with your other household members. Ask the rescue or shelter if he’s good with children, dogs, or other cats. Ask if he gets along with men and women just the same. If you’re interested in volunteering with pet therapy services, you can ask if the cat is comfortable with strangers.

Adopting an elderly pet can be a wonderfully fulfilling experience. Allowing them to live out their days feeling nothing but love and warmth is equally beneficial for the adoptee as it is for you. Reflect on your lifestyle and how a furry friend would best fit into your life— maybe an elderly dog or cat is the perfect fit for you!