Why you should adopt an older pet 

Are you thinking of growing your family and bringing home a four-legged friend? We know that kittens and puppies are impossible to resist, but giving an older animal a loving home for their golden years is so rewarding. Here’s why you should adopt an older pet.
older dog with grey muzzle looking into the distance

They are so grateful 

An older dog or cat may be more wary of new people, but once you’ve earned their trust, the bond you’ll feel is irreplaceable.  

We don’t know how an animal was treated before they came to us, and older pets who have been through a lot can be slow to trust again. Our team works closely with each animal, going at their pace and helping them grow their confidence. Especially with dogs, this can be a slow process which requires a lot of patience and love.  

Older rescue pets are generally less popular than puppies and kittens and they may have spent a long time in the kennels. They are very bonded with their kennel parents and might take a little while to warm up to new owners and a new place. This is why we encourage multiple visits before rehoming, to allow you both to get to know each other.  

When someone is willing to take the time and energy to slowly build a relationship and provide them with a safe and loving home, they understand this and are so appreciative of the effort.  

You CAN teach an old dog new tricks 

Even older dogs and cats have a lot of life in them! Our resident, Peter, is 12 years old and so full of playful energy.  

He is happiest when running free in our paddocks, chasing after his ball. When he had to have surgery on his foot last year, the worst part of the whole ordeal for Peter was having to rest while he recovered. 

Older cats are the same, they may not have the relentless energy of kittens and are usually happier to snuggle or observe things from afar, they still get the zoomies occasionally and will benefit from running and playing.  

You can encourage an older cat to jump and play by providing plenty of ‘stepping-stones’ such as stools or shelves to help them reach high-up spots. Make the most of sensory toys such as catnip balls or puzzle feeders to engage all their senses and bring out their playful side. Check out our DIY pet toys for some easy ideas!  

peter sitting on cosy bed wearing an orange harness

There are no surprises when you adopt an older pet

When you take home a kitten, or especially a puppy, from a rescue shelter, there could be no telling how big they might grow. If an animal comes in as a stray, we have very little information about their past and their breed, a tiny puppy could grow into a big, strong boy. 

Adopting an older pet means that there are no surprises. Not only are they fully grown, but they’re unlikely to go through any drastic personality changes at this stage.  

What you see is what you get when adopting an older animal. Plus, you’re unlikely to have the hassle of toilet training!  

They deserve a comfortable home for their golden years  

However comfortable they have become in the kennels, the best place for a dog or a cat is in a loving home.  

It’s our hope that every older dog or cat who comes to us will spend their golden years being spoiled with comfort and love. No matter their age, every animal deserves a second chance at love.  

It is a hugely rewarding experience  

Carla adopted Fergus when he was 14 years old. She told us that she was a little worried about taking him home as he had previously spent his whole life in the same home with the same owner and sadly had to be rehomed when his owner passed away. To begin with, Fergus was very timid in his new home but soon started to warm up. He’s now 21 years old and very happily settled with Carla and her family. 

Carla said, ‘Seeing Fergus become settled and happy with us, and recognising us as his new family was so rewarding.  

I think though that the most rewarding part of having an older cat is knowing that I’m doing my best to give him a comfortable and happy retirement and seeing him enjoying life with us.  

Older pets are often overlooked for adoption, so it’s a nice feeling to know that rather than him spending his twilight years in a cattery, he’s in a home that loves him.’ 

19 year old kennel assistant Emily cuddles 21 year old cat Fergus

19 year old Kennel Assistant, Emily, cuddles 21 year old cat Fergus

Carla’s advice for someone thinking of adopting an older pet 

Carla’s experience adopting an older cat has brought her and her family so much joy and love. Her advice to anyone thinking of adopting an older pet is:  

‘Go for it! There are things to consider when adopting an older pet, such as any health conditions they might have or will be likely to develop, but the pros far outweigh the cons.  

We’ve had 7 years of owning Fergus, and he was a spritely outdoor cat that often got mistaken for much younger, up until he was about 19.  

He has been slowing down since then, but he didn’t need any medication and didn’t develop any health issues until he was 20 – so just because a pet is older, it doesn’t mean that they can’t still have a great quality of life.  

He’s brought us a lot of joy and love, and I’m sure any older pet would do the exact same.’  

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