If you have been longing to walk through your front door greeted by a wagging tail or listen to the relaxing sound of a contented purr after a long day, now may be the time to visit your nearest animal shelter to meet any number of homeless pets looking for a forever family.
It’s important to take the time to choose the right pet for your family’s lifestyle – dogs and cats can both live many, many years in happy, healthy and loving environments. People are often naturally drawn to choosing kittens or puppies. Let’s face it, they are cute, playful and full of energy! What’s not to love? But I’d like to argue for adopting the oft-forgotten pet: the senior animal. Here are 10 reasons why your perfect pet might just be an older one…
1. Senior pets already have fully-developed personalities. In other words, “what you see is what you get.” If you have specific traits you are looking for in a pet, adopting an older pet that already has those traits takes the guessing game out of seeing how a kitten or puppy might develop and fit into your family.
2. Senior pets often carry lower adoption fees at shelters. While it’s important to budget and plan for the cost of caring for a pet at any age, having a lower adoption fee for adult pets can increase the likelihood of adoption.
3. Senior pets are often calmer and more laid-back, which translates into being more independent, an attractive trait for families with busy schedules!
4. Because senior pets are already fully mature, there’s no need to worry about the “mischief” phase. You may not even need to crate your dog when you leave home, for example, because he or she has no interest in stirring up any trouble while you are away. This also means…
5. Senior pets won’t ever teeth on you or your furniture! Need I say more?
6. Senior pets typically are already trained. Dogs are already house-broken so no accidents on your new carpet. Cats already know to use the scratching post you provide and not your new couch.
7. Senior pets have longer attention spans than kittens or dogs, which can make them easier to train if there are specific behaviors you want to introduce.
8. Senior pets typically require less exercise and are therefore less demanding of your time. Unless you are specifically looking for a running buddy or a high-energy pet, senior pets can be content to occupy themselves or spend hours napping or sleeping by your side.
9. Senior pets are often the last to be adopted and the first to be euthanized in shelters. You would literally be saving a life.
10. Finally, because of #9, senior pets know they are being rescued when you bring them home. In turn, they will spend every day of their life showing you unconditional love as a thank you! –Emily Buser
Emily Buser is a public policy and research analyst by day, animal activist by night. She currently lives in Ohio where her two cats have graciously allowed her and her husband to co-exist in their house with them.