“Forgotten4Paws has over 75 cats aged six to fourteen. Some have been with us over eight years. While we show cats for adoption at the Easton Petsmart, the older cats don’t do well in that setting and are in foster homes. Therefore, the only way we can ‘promote’ these cats is through our website, Facebook, and word of mouth. We are lucky if we adopt 3-4 ‘senior’ cats a year! We have even started to offer covering the annual wellness visit with one of our vets and that hasn’t made a difference. The adult cats have so much to offer and I only wish people would open their homes and hearts to discover this. We have quite a few older cats who really need to be the only pet of the house and are living in a foster home with other cats. These are the hardest homes to find,” explains Lesa Rosenberg Branham, volunteer for Forgotten4Paws of Lancaster, Ohio.
November is National Adopt a Senior Pet Month. Pet rescue organizations and shelters across Ohio and the United States are hoping to attract attention to their most difficult pets to place, seniors. While aging varies by breed, most pets are considered to be “seniors” at age 8 or older.
While it may seem perplexing that someone could keep an animal for almost a decade and then surrender it to a shelter, this situation does happen for multiple reasons. In some cases senior pets are given up due to an owner passing away, or becoming too ill to care for them. Other times financial hardship or the inability of the animal to continue breeding contributes to senior pets being left at shelters. Or, due of the high volume of homeless pets taken in by rescue groups each year, animals may simply grow old waiting for their forever home.
Luckily for these animals, there are people who can see the potential they have as gentle, wise, and loving pets. Many senior pets are already trained, have settled in to their personalities, and are low-maintenance in comparison to a puppy or kitten. These wise pets, due to their experience and developed emotions, are more likely to show love and appreciation of being adopted, because they KNOW they are being rescued.
After interviewing multiple senior pet adopters in central Ohio, the message becomes clear: Senior pets are full of love and deserve to be cherished, not overlooked because they are a little wiser, and come with a little more experience than their younger counterparts.
Kristine Coplin adopted 9 year old, former feral colony cat, Francis, from Cozy Cat Cottage of Columbus. When he was rescued from his colony by CCC, Francis suffered from a respiratory infection, multiple wounds, and was discovered to be FIV positive. According to Kristine, Francis is the perfect match for her family.
“All the volunteers loved him and if you sat on the ground he was in your lap right away, purring. My husband Neil and I came to meet him and were in love within minutes. He likes being around us and is not skittish around groups of people. He tolerates our young niece and nephew well. He sleeps a lot on laps and doesn’t jump up on any furniture. He sleeps on my chest at night. We love having senior cats because they are so affectionate and appreciative of a warm lap. Their personalities are more solidified than a kitten so we pretty much figured that if he was affectionate in the shelter, he would be so in a home.”
Kristine and her family went on to adopt another senior cat, Bosco, who lives happily alongside Francis.
“[My dog] is the absolute poster child for adoption because having a safe and loving home generated a 180 degree turn in his demeanor. He is a great dog and I am so glad that we gave him a home. Seniors still have a lot of love to give and should not be overlooked,” explains Lisa Cottrell Jasper, pet parent to an adopted senior pit bull.
Many rescues and shelters will offer senior pets for a reduced adoption fee, and others may work with you on vet care if needed. So, if you are considering adoption, consider a senior. There are so many senior pets waiting in shelters to fill your heart- you’re bound to find the perfect fit for your family! If you’re still on the fence, check out these great articles:
Your new family member may only be a few miles away–search for a senior companion animal at these central Ohio rescues:
—Written by Merri Collins
Merri Collins is from Meigs County, Ohio and graduated from Ohio University with a Bachelors in Journalism. She works as a Marketing Coordinator full-time, and also as a freelance copy-writer. Merri has always had a passion for supporting animal rights and helping animals in need. She is a PetPromise cat foster, performs TNR in her area, and has an adopted cat named Big Poppa.