Owning a pet is a truly special thing. The pandemic has been hard for all of us, but one thing that’s helped me keep my sanity is having my cat, Pixie, around. In fact, Pixie has helped me through so much since adopting her back in 2015, just by being her cute and spoiled self. If you’re thinking about getting your own pet to experience the happiness of being a pet parent, there are many great reasons to consider adopting an older one.
Older pets are often overlooked
Pets of all ages deserve loving homes, but it might not come as a surprise to learn that kittens and puppies have a much higher adoption rate than older cats and dogs. Pixie was only a year old when I got her, still young but technically an adult cat, but the appreciation I received from the shelter I adopted her from caught me off-guard. Again, that’s a one-year-old cat. I can’t imagine how hard it is for cats who are even older to find new homes. Basically, a kitten or puppy you don’t adopt will most likely find a home with someone else, but older cats and dogs aren’t so lucky most of the time.
Why don’t older pets get as much attention?
Well, it doesn’t help that people have a tendency to associate ‘old’ with ‘bad.’ When you think of an older pet, you might be picturing an animal that barely moves and does nothing but eat, sleep, and poop all day. However, that’s simply not true. Kittens and puppies will almost certainly have more energy to spare than their older counterparts, but that doesn’t mean that older pets don’t like to play and explore too. Pixie is seven years old now, and she’s still as playful and curious as she was the day I got her. Older pets are more relaxed, but their spirit doesn’t disappear just because they grew up.
What’s so great about older pets?
There are a bunch of benefits to getting older pets as opposed to kittens and puppies.
They’re calmer. Boundless energy may sound cute and fun, but remember that kittens and puppies can’t turn it off at will. That energy could turn into mischief, and it could get exhausting to constantly deal with. Older pets are much calmer while still retaining that spark of fun. This is especially important to keep in mind if you’re not an active person.
They don’t need as much training. Kittens and puppies might need to be housebroken or trained from scratch (in the case of puppies), but older cats and dogs already know where to do their business. Also, many older dogs already know basic commands, like sit and stay. This spares you time and headaches from cleaning up after them.
They don’t need as much supervision. Similar to the above point, younger pets tend to need watching to make sure they don’t get into trouble or stuck somewhere. Meanwhile, older pets don’t really need as much overseeing from their owners after getting used to their new home. When Pixie wanders off somewhere, I usually find her napping in one of her four favorite spots or curiously standing in front of a closed door.
You’ll already know what they’re like. Like humans, cats and dogs have all kinds of different personalities. I chose Pixie because she’s calm and loves attention, but there are cats her age who are more active or solitary. With older pets, it’s much easier to know if you’ll get along because their personalities are already developed. Also, older pets are usually done growing already, so you won’t get any surprises concerning how big or small they might turn out to be when fully grown.
Kittens and puppies are cute, but after adopting Pixie, I genuinely find older cats and dogs cuter. Adult and senior pets don’t get as much of a chance at a forever home as they should just because of their age, but they deserve just as much love as younger ones do. Please consider adopting an older pet instead of or alongside a younger one. I promise you that they have so much love to give. Besides, November is National Adopt a Senior Pet Month!