I love November because it is the month for one of my favorite pet events …. National Adopt-A-Senior-Pet Month! I love senior pets for so many reasons. My Lucy is 15-1/2 years old and Jacob is a youthful senior at 8 years old. Senior pets are fantastic to adopt because there are no personality surprises … what you see is what you get! But I am also the most sad when I see a senior pet lose a home and enter a shelter.
Having volunteered in shelters for the past 14 years, most adopters want kittens and puppies and overlook the wise and established pets. When I think about the cats that I have fostered over the years, it has usually been a senior pet that was not thriving in a shelter (or simply ran out of time). This is how my Jacob came in to my life last year when he lost his third home.
It is always the senior pets who get sick from the stress of being in a shelter and from the trauma of losing their home and family. They can suffer unbearable grief and saddness because the life they once had is gone. I have always said that kittens and puppies are happy no matter what and can adapt to any setting, but senior pets mourn the loss of the people and homes that they loved and often don’t survive.
But far too many people surrender their senior pet to a shelter, often because the pet is starting to have more medical expenses. When you adopt a pet, it’s for life. Period. You should understand that you will be taking on the expense of feeding, housing and providing medical care for the pet until the last day of their life. Getting rid of your senior pet is like putting an elderly family member at a nursing home and then never visiting or thinking about them again.
A senior pet will be so grateful if you adopt them. You will never be at a loss for love from that point forward. Here are 10 great reasons to adopt a senior pet (from Petfinder.com):
- When senior pets are adopted, they seem to understand that they’ve been rescued, and are all the more thankful for it.
- A senior pet’s personality has already developed, so you’ll know if he or she is a good fit for your family.
- You can teach an old pet new tricks. Senior pets have the attention span and impulse control that makes them easier to train than their youthful counterparts.
- A senior pet may very well already know basic household etiquette (like not attacking your feet at night) anyway!
- In particular, senior cats are often already litter trained and are less likely to “forget” where the box is.
- A senior pet won’t grow any larger, so you’ll know exactly how much pet you’re getting.
- Senior pets are often content to just relax in your company, unlike younger pets, who may get into mischief because they’re bored.
- Speaking of relaxing, senior pets make great napping buddies.
- Senior cats often know that scratching posts (not furniture) are for scratching and toys (not hands or feet) are for biting.
- Senior pets are some of the hardest to find homes for — so when you adopt a senior pet, you’re truly saving a life.
So if you are considering bringing a new pet in to your home, consider adopting a senior pet. Or get busy with one of these ideas:
- Offer to foster a senior pet until a home is found. You will receive so much love and appreciation in return and will know that you truly saved a life.
- Donate bedding to a shelter so that the senior pets can rest comfortably.
- Donate money to help with veterinary expenses.
- Volunteer to spend time with a senior pet at a shelter.
- Share stories on social media about senior pets looking for homes in your area.
- Write a blog or editorial for your local newspaper raising awareness about adopting senior pets.
- Ask your local nursing or assisted living home if they would allow senior pets to live on-site to provide companionship to the residents.
All month on my Facebook page, I will feature senior pet rescue organizations who are doing amazing work, like The Grannie Project and Sanctuary for Senior Dogs. If you have adopted or fostered a senior pet, please share their story and their photo on my Facebook page. I love happy endings!
All my best,
Allie and my senior kitty Lucy
Join in on the conversations!
“This Old Cat” by KC Sievert Bingamon
I’m getting on in years, My coat is turning gray. My eyes have lost their luster, My hearing’s just okay. I spend my day dreaming Of conquests in my past, Lying near a sunny window Waiting for its warm repast.
I remember our first visit, I was coming to you free, Hoping you would take me in And keep me company. I wasn’t young or handsome, Two years I’d roamed the street. There were scars upon my face, I hobbled on my feet.
I could sense your disappointment As I left my prison cage. Oh, I hoped you would accept me And look beyond my age. You took me out of pity, I accepted without shame. Then you grew to love me, And I admit the same.
I have shared with you your laughter, You have wet my fur with tears. We’ve come to know each other Throughout these many years. Just one more hug this morning Before you drive away, And know I’ll think about you Throughout your busy day.
The time we’ve left together Is a treasured time at that. My heart is yours forever. I Promise – This old cat.