Every day mature cats and dogs are dropped off at our facility because of circumstances neither they nor their families can control. They often get overlooked on the adoption floor by families looking for puppies or kittens under the misconception that adults in shelters are “damaged goods.” And while the babies are pretty stinking great, ask any shelter worker who their favorite animal in the whole shelter is, and they’re going to point you to a senior citizen! Here are five reasons we think adult adoptees are great, and you should too!
Number 1: What you see is what you get!
Since we rarely meet the parents of the puppies and kitties who come into our shelter, we can really only guess at what breed they may be and how big they’re going to get. By adopting a dog or cat over 4 years old, you can pretty much guarantee that he or she is done growing. Their personalities are also pretty much set in stone, so it’s easier to find a companion that will match your lifestyle. Looking for a hiking buddy? Or is a partner-in-naps more your speed? Do you want a constant sidekick or more of a “roommate” pet that can keep themselves entertained? While there are no guarantees in this life, adopting an adult cat or dog who has already grown into their true selves is a safer bet than adopting an infant and hoping they grow up into who you want them to be.
Number 2: With age comes wisdom!
Most adult animals have a natural instinct to keep their “den” clean and will gladly go potty in a designated area once you help them understand where it is. Younger puppies or kittens, on the other hand, have not yet learned to control that aspect of their hygiene. In fact, it’s going to be easier to teach adults any tricks or habits you want them to have because you are working with a fully formed adult brain instead of a still-growing puppy brain that’s still working on the basics. Additionally, many of our adult/senior pets come in with at least a basic understanding of a human’s expectations, and they receive some basic training from our dog-walking volunteers as part of shelter enrichment.
Number 3: They have as little energy as you do, let’s be real.
Most puppies and kittens are going to have huge amounts of energy up until about 2 years of age. After 5 years, cats are less likely to get house-crashing “zoomies” and dogs begin to need less intensive exercise. If you want a pet but don’t have the time or energy for a long walk every day after work, consider a senior pet! Add in a breed disposition like a pit bull or Great Dane and you’ve got the perfect cuddle buddy who will NEVER judge you for spending your whole Saturday binging on Netflix.
Number 4: Don’t tell me no lies, and keep your teeth to yourself!
Perhaps the most dreaded part of pet parenting the is teething – those little puppy and kitten teeth hurt, and the only thing that makes it feel better is…your dining room table. While less prominent in kittens, either species that is separated from their litter before 4 months of age is going to have to go through the frustrating and painful process of being taught that biting is not okay. If you’ve been paying attention, you know I have a great suggestion on how to avoid it entirely. That’s right! Senior pets! They have fully developed social skills from a lifetime of interacting with humans and other pets that can save your arms AND your furniture a lot of nicks and scratches.
Number 5: C’mon… look at that face!
Are you convinced? Take a look at all the amazing senior pets available for adoption at the Atlanta Humane Society by visiting atlantahumane.org/adopt.
by: Alison Dowdle