The decision to bring a dog or cat into your life is such an exciting time – especially so for children. Sharing your life with a pet is one of the most rewarding experiences! Who can resist those squishy puppies and bouncy kittens? And if you have decided to adopt rather than shop we applaud you for choosing to save a life…but wait!
Before you gravitate to the puppies and kittens take a second to consider adopting one of the older pets looking for a home. Many people believe that a puppy or kitten will “bond closer to the family” or “do not want to take on someone else’s problem pet”. These assumptions could not be further away from the truth.
O.k, so you have fallen in love with a baby bundle of fur and you look into their eyes promising to “love them forever” and “put in the time for training”. The reality is most families are time-poor, live in smaller spaces and spend less time at home. Some of the more popular breeds can be too challenging for a novice pet owner.
When you bring an animal into your life; for the rest of his life, remember that could mean 10 to 15 years for dogs and up to 20 years for cats. You will have lifestyle changes during this time such as house moves, the birth of children, new jobs, demanding work commitments. So what about your pet? How does he fit in with all of this? Remembering they are to be a permanent part of your life. Will you be able to care for them during all these changes?
Older animals are considered “Less Adoptable Pets” over the younger ones; which is the sad reality of pet ownership. Here are just a few of the MANY reasons older dogs and cats make GREAT pets:
What You See Is What You Get: With a mature pet there are no surprises later with size, colour, coat and even temperament. Puppies and kittens may be super cute, but they don’t stay that size for long. Just like human babies; they come pre-packed with their very own unique personality and in no time you will be knee deep in “teenager” pet behaviour!
Adoption Recommendations: Adopting from a shelter, dogs and cats have usually completed a “behaviour assessment”. Listen to your shelter staff for guidance about their adoption recommendations – they only want the best outcome for you and the animal. You might like certain “breeds” or even the “look” of a particular animal. This does not mean it is the best match for you, your lifestyle or your family. Adopt with your head not your heart.
House-trainings A Breeze: House-training a puppy is a lot of hard work. No matter how diligent you are in your training efforts; they will and do often make mistakes on your carpet and rugs. An older pet, if not already been house-trained, will often understand basic commands. So in a relatively quick time-frame will get the idea of nicking outside for a quick toilet break. Then don’t forget the chewing phase! Most seniors are well and truly out of the chewing phase. You must be prepared that puppies teethe for up to 6 months; while some dogs continue to be intensive chewers for the first couple of years!
Fewer Exercise Demands: Mature pets are usually less physically demanding; preferring playtime to in short spurts rather than an hour long run like young active dogs require. Often less jumpy they are great around the elderly, disabled and littlies. Mature cats tend to not get into as much mischief around the house, opting to couch surf over climbing the curtains.
Unconditional Love: Older pets want nothing more than to be loved again. Once they have settled into your life they show you unconditional love for opening your heart and home to them.
Feel Good Vibes: It can be extremely distressing for an older pet to end up in a shelter environment after years of being a family pet. They do not usually “sell themselves” like a cute puppy or kitten will. Knowing that you have just given an older pet the opportunity to be loved again throughout their twilight years, just makes you feel good if nothing else!
They Are Good Pets: Just because they have been surrendered to a shelter does not mean they are “Problem Pets”. There are many reasons an older pet finds himself in a shelter for adoption such as owners ailing health, financial reasons or stray.
Health Problems: You may be worried about the health of adopting an older pet? You shouldn’t be, well at least not based on the pet’s age! Even puppies and kittens can have health complications. So regardless of age when choosing to bring a pet into your life consider the financial requirements that come with pet ownership.
Older and Wiser: Looking past the greying muzzle and into those soulful eyes you will see a wise and experienced animal with an amazing past to tell. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to now be part of his twilight years?
So an older pet might be for you? To find your perfect match, please contact your local shelter or rescue group, some even specialise in older pets.
An older dog or cat may have less time in your life than a puppy or kitten, there is however nothing more rewarding then earning the love and respect of an older pet.
Author Bio: Nikki is pack leader at Pressplay Pets, a blog for the modern age pet parent interested in health & care, news, reviews & personal accounts of unconditional love & at times heartfelt pain of pet parenting. She is also proud mum to cute and cheeky Papillons ‘Amber’ and ‘Indy’ and one crazy Rainbow Lorikeet named ‘Ralph’! Follow my Facebook and Twitter.
Pressplay Pets a blog for the modern age pet parent interested in health & care, news, reviews & personal accounts of unconditional love & at times heartfelt pain of pet parenting!