Celebrate Adopt a Senior Pet Month by bringing home an older dog or cat—or three.
A cat is a senior at 11 years of age and a dog is one at age 7, according to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). If you ask owners of an 11-year-old cat or 7-year-old dog about the qualities and personalities of their pets, they’ll likely tell you that these “senior” animals are wonderful, playful, charming companions.
Throughout November, all pet lovers are invited to commend the special qualities of senior pets by celebrating Adopt a Senior Pet Month. Every year, animal welfare organizations and shelters highlight the traits and abilities that make older pets great companions for all types of households. Some of the traits mentioned frequently include:
- Good behavior. Senior pets are past their wild and crazy kitten and puppy years, and have learned the good habits they need to be polite, nondestructive household residents.
- Potty-trained. Most senior pets are already housetrained—unlike their younger counterparts.
- Calm and quiet personalities. If you’re looking for a lap cat or couch snuggler, a senior pet will fit the bill. Instead of begging to play catch or go for long walks, these pets will love quiet moments with you.
- Quick learners. Senior dogs and cats are more likely to pick up on new household rules—and follow them. Who knows? Maybe that older pet will teach you a trick or two as well.
- Established personalities. While it might sometimes involve some guesswork to figure out the personality of a kitten or a puppy (is he really that friendly or just full of youthful energy?), with a senior pet, what you see is what you get. These lovable older pets have fully formed personalities, making it easier to match the pet to the rhythm and vibe of your household. (Bonus: You also know exactly how large the pet will become, because he’s already full grown.)
Shelter staff encourage pet lovers to consider senior pets, noting that the animals still have plenty of affection and love to give to a family. This month is set aside to highlight these special pets because older ones typically have a more difficult time finding a new home.
If you want to celebrate National Adopt a Senior Pet Month, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) suggests contacting a shelter near you to learn about any planned adoption events. You can also help by spreading the word. Is your neighbor talking about adopting a new pet? Let him know how many wonderful senior dogs and cats are waiting for him at his local animal shelter. Mention Adopt a Senior Pet Month on your social media accounts, too.
About the Author: Stacy N. Hackett is an award-winning writer with more than 25 years’ experience in the pet industry. She is the former editor of Pet Product News and a former staff editor with Cat Fancy, Cats USA, Critters USA and Ferrets USA. To learn more about her work, visit stacynhackett.vpweb.com.