Puppies and kittens spring to mind when people think about enriching their lives with a pet. Their bountiful energy, their playful spirit, and their unwavering wonder at the new world around them are a joy to see. As delightful as that sounds, puppies and kittens are a lot of work. A lot. From house-training and chewing everything to crying and constant vigilance. A lot of work. Getting a senior pet means that someone has already done all of that hard work for you – all you have to do is reap the benefits! It’s paw-fect!
Pets are considered ‘senior’ from about the age of 7 onwards, depending on the breed. They are often the last to get adopted, which is sad considering they have many years of love and loyalty to offer someone who loves them in return.
There are plenty of other advantages of adopting a senior pet, too.
Even when you adopt a pedigree puppy or kitten, there is always a chance you may end up with a dog or cat bigger or smaller, more energetic or calmer, more obedient or rebellious than you were expecting. On the other hand, what you see is what you get with an older pet. Their size, temperament, energy levels, and grooming requirements are plain sight to see. This means that if you have exact requirements, you can search until you find the perfect match.
Senior pets are already house-trained
Can you hear that? Listen carefully. That is the sound of your carpets and floors thanking you for considering adopting an older pet. Older cats and dogs have already gone through house-training and will thus spare you and your floors the mess and hassle of clean-up time.
However, if you adopt a very old pet, remember that you could have to deal with incontinence sooner rather than later.
Senior pets are less destructive
The everything-goes-in-the-mouth and let’s-push-the-boundaries phases are over in an older animal. Oh wow, it’s happening again. Did you hear that? This time it is your furniture, your curtains and your shoes thanking you. Older pets are less likely to be as destructive as their younger counterparts. Grandma’s dining table applauds your decision.
Older animals understand basic commands
Because they have already spent a considerable amount of time around humans, older animals generally understand “come”, “sit”, “stay”, “out”, etc. This will save you a lot of time, which is great if you have a busy lifestyle. It also means that the foundation for future training has already been laid. Yes, old dogs (and cats!) can learn new tricks, so don’t let age stand in the way of that new agility course at your local dog park. Older pets also have longer attention spans, which makes them easier to train.
You would be saving a life
Everyone tends to overlook the grey muzzle in favor of the adorable puppies and kittens clamoring for attention. However, adopting a senior pet is extremely rewarding. They are grateful for your kindness and willingness to give them a second shot at a loving family in a way that only someone who has adopted an older pet will understand. They are your instant companion and want nothing more than to please you. And yes, you may have less time with your treasured pet, but don’t let that stop you. Adopting an older animal helps you appreciate the passage of time and how precious every moment is.
Many people also assume that an older animal is still in the shelter because they are a ‘problem’. This is simply not true. Animals are given to shelters for many reasons. Their original guardians may have lost their job and been unable to care for them, they may have had to leave the country or perhaps their family situation changed and they were unable to keep their beloved pet. Whatever the reason, being in a shelter after having been part of a loving family for so many years is a heart-breaking way to spend your retirement.
The ability to see beauty, love and loyalty behind aged eyes when so many people overlook the expression of hope on their faces is truly inspiring. Adopt a senior pet today and give them the chance to live out the rest of their days giving and getting the love every animal deserves.