When deciding to adopt an animal, it is often tempting to choose a young kitten or puppy because, frankly, they look so cute waddling around clumsily with feet too big for their bodies. Older pets, who stride with confidence in their fully-developed bodies, are often overlooked and brushed aside. However, there are many reasons why adopting an animal up there in years is a smart and superior choice.
• Older pets are already trained. An older pet can mold easily in a new home, as they understand essential commands and household etiquette. Training a young pet is a 24/7 job that requires constant attention. Instead of letting off howls in the middle of the night, a mature dog knows when to sleep. And, rather than leaving a smelly surprise in the bed, a mature cat knows that the litter box is the right place to go.
• Older pets are calmer. With age and experience, older pets are naturally more relaxed and mild. However, this does not mean that older pets are less fun. Mature cats still play with laser pointers and mature dogs still love a good game of fetch. Older pets play, but with less hyperactivity, which leads to less destruction and more fun.
• Older pets are who they are. Kittens and puppies only stay small balls of fluff for a very short period of time. Then, the small pets quickly transition into their teen years. Just as humans have awkward teen years, so do animals. At this point, the young pets – who have just been painstakingly trained – tend to test their limits. With the body of an adult and the mind of a baby, this can be a very destructive time that sometimes leads to a trip back to the shelter. Older pets have already passed their teen years and settled into their true personalities.
• Older pets can be less expensive. By adopting an older pet, many of the supplies needed for kittens and puppies can be skipped. Special harnesses, gates and training pads are unnecessary for an experienced animal. In addition to these skipped expenses, many shelters offer discounts for the adoption of older animals. Since older dogs and cats are not in high demand, the price of adoption is often much lower for older pets than for younger pets.
• Older pets are in need of a loving home. Young kittens and puppies are adopted quickly and senior cats and dogs are left behind. Unfortunately, because older animals are left in shelters the longest, these pets are often euthanized by shelters the most. By adopting an older pet, the life of an animal is saved and a new family member is created.
Although kittens and puppies may seem sweet to adopt, remember that older pets need a home too. Create a lifetime of fond memories that will be cherished forever with the adoption of an older cat or dog. As you curl up with your wise and furry friend, you will never regret your decision.