Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Beauty of Aging: Consider Adopting an Older Pet

It goes without saying that families prefer puppies and kittens to older dogs and cats who have already grown out of the adorable fluff-ball stage. But it is very important to remember that all puppies and kittens mature quickly and grow to be the adult animals you see waiting to be adopted at the shelter.

My 15 year old family cat, Spunky. 
It might be nerve-wracking to adopt an older animal because they may already have emotional, physical, medical, psychological or behavioral problems. However, when given a chance and patience, most adult or senior shelter animals usually adapt quite well and adjust to life in a new home. In fact, they greatly appreciate the attention. Despite doing a good thing by saving an adult or senior shelter animal, when they are often looked over and displaced, you might be pleasantly surprised by the companionship of an older animal.

For one, older animals are often calmer and less destructive. With a younger dog or cat, a pet owner may worry that the animal will rip up the carpet or chew on things during the day when no one is home. Older animals will be more mellow in the home during the work day if toys and stimulation is provided. Also, house training takes patience and consistency so it is important to be home often for puppies. For kittens, they may have accidents outside of the litter box at first. With older animals, they may take some training to get used to the schedule in a new home, but more than likely will have house training down. Shelters try to house break all animals in order to place them in homes quickly.

Also, for families with young children, it is not always recommended to adopt puppies and kittens because just as kids are rambunctious, so are baby animals. The two mixed together can create a dangerous cocktail resulting in scratches, bruises and bites-not because the animal or the child are bad, but because they don't know how to properly interact with each other yet. A child may be better suited with an animal that has matured a bit and won't be so hyper. Overall, an older animal may fit your lifestyle better when you don't have the time to worry about the behavior of a puppy or kitten when you leave them alone or if you already have young children at home full of energy.

Beyond all of this, there is a true beauty and compassion that comes with adopting an older animal. They are eternally grateful and show us what they have already been through in life with their actions, likes and dislikes. Older animals who have been abused, abandoned and neglected have the incredible ability to bounce back and live enriched lives with people who show them love and trust. To see a truly beautiful portrait of aged animals, check out the photography of Isa Leshko here.

1 comment:

  1. You are absolutely correct about adopting elderly animals as they do make great companions. We adopted an elderly cat when I was growing up and after an adjustment period of him hiding under the bed for two weeks, he was the best lap cat and lived a very long and happy life. Great job on the article and your link was very interesting. It's so nice that there are people out there who care about what happens to animals. I am so happy that you are one of them!!