5 Reasons to consider adopting an older pet

Adult cats and dogs are heartbreakingly overlooked at animal shelters, as families are understandably drawn to wide-eyed puppies and kittens. As lovely as it is to welcome your new family member when they’re small, there are some advantages to adopting an older pet which you may not have considered…

1. They’ll come house trained

As a rule, cats are meticulous about hygiene, but they still need to learn where to do their business (and most importantly, where not to!). The same goes for pups. Toilet training a youngster takes a lot of time and patience, and a few accidents along the way, but an adult pet will already know where not to go.

2. They often have better manners

Older dogs and cats with more life experience will be better socialised than a puppy or kitten, and more used to being around people and other pets. They’re also often a lot more patient with human kids! Furthermore, what you see is what you get – an adult pet will come home with their fully developed personality, so you can choose a companion with a nature that best suits your own.

Also do not forget that adopted pets have been vet checked to ensure they are in good health before going to a new home.

3. They make for relaxing company

Puppies and kittens require a lot of time and energy – not only with exercise and play, but also clearing up after a chewing spree, or a case of ‘the zoomies’ that mysteriously correlates with a few of your favourite house plants going flying! Of course older dogs still need to be walked, but pets who are getting on in years will often enjoy more sofa snuggles with you, making them the perfect companions for chilled-out people.

4. They still love to play

Just like humans, pets are as young as they feel! An adult dog will still love to chase a ball around the park, and older cats will still jump at the chance to chase a string with you. You’ll find an adult pet is just as loveable, full of personality – and often just as hilariously silly – as a young one.

5. Older pets are the most in need of love

An older pet who finds herself in a shelter is likely to have been someone’s much loved companion whose owner was no longer in the circumstances to look after them, such as if they have moved into a residential care home or hospital. Of course, many elderly pets may have had elderly owners, and it’s lovely to think that you could provide the home for an older animal who may have outlived their beloved owner. Rescue centres can be scary and challenging places for older pets, and although we don’t like to think about it, if they can’t find new homes, they may tragically have to be put down. Adopting an older pet and giving them all the care and affection you can will transform their life, and the love and gratitude you get in return will probably transform yours.

We work with both Dogsblog and Cats Protection – great places to find advice and info about adoption.

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19 comments

  1. Totally agree with older adoptions.
    But why is pet insurance so high on seniors ?
    Surely if you adopt there should be a great reduction to coax more people!
    I couldn’t afford insurance and in the end with my gorgeous older cat being sick I worked out that I had saved £11,000 without insurance even though i still had £7,000!

  2. Having read your article about adopting older animals I would like to offer my opinion. Yes having an older animal is very rewarding, we have re-homed 6 dogs over the past 50 years including a dog who was blind, and we have had one puppy. Every one of them has given us much pleasure, but we have sadly decided that we will not have another dog when our present dog leaves us, simply because we cannot afford it.

    Vet’s bills are astronomical and insurance premiums for older pets are ridiculous and if you do have to make a claim the excess charges are sky high and even then they don’t cover dental work. As we are retired we just cannot afford to keep a dog anymore and I am sure there are many more older people like us who would love to give a home to an older pet but just can’t afford it. So many animals will be left in kennels or worse destroyed when there are lots of people who could give them a loving home but can’t afford it.

    1. Brenda – have you tried The Cinnamon Trust? Still a charity and in need of volunteers but in different ways. They are really good and I’m sure you could help them without having to part with money.

    1. Hi Milly,
      Well you are being exceptionally responsible by realising you cannot afford (yet) to have a dog. Having a dog is expensive and will cost on average easily over £12-15,000 over it’s lifetime. Fingers crossed that one day you will be able to adopt a lovely dog Milly and thank you very much for posting. Andrew

  3. We adopted our fourth rescue dog one year ago. He is Bertie a Bedlington Terrier and is just delightful. Bertie is 10 years old and will be 11 in January. He brings a smile to our faces every day. He is affectionate and happy and settled down within a couple of months. Although we don’t know his history we can tell that he was well looked after and just needed some attention from the vet so I guess his previous owner probably found this too expensive. When I tell people his age the usual comment is “how long do they live”. We aren’t bothered by the fact he may not be with us for years and are just enjoying him and loving him while he’s here.

  4. I agree that many more of us would love to give a forever home to senior dogs if it weren’t for the Vet costs.
    We have an eleven-year-old now, and if and when he goes, we will miss him, but he has been a money pit and we couldn’t afford another like him. It’s such a shame, but Vets and Insurance have priced us out of the pet adoption market.

  5. My beloved cat died two weeks ago aged 21. She was rescued by RSPCA (came from a flat in Bow) and I adopted her, together with two others. At one time I had seven cats. They all lived to very good ages and were dearly loved and well looked after.

    As I have no cats now I intend adopting another one once I get over losing Patra, but this time I will be looking at getting a ten+ year old as I am no longer young myself and will not be around in 20 years time. It will be a pleasure to give some old cat a cosy home to call his/her own.

  6. My family always go for the older cats at the local home. All they really want is good food, a safe and warm place to sleep and a little love. Our current cat is Nooshka is is a blue eyed deaf pure white cat who is a real “daddys girl” Lots of love to give and lots of love and great food in return. Best chair in the house, nearest to the radiator and the best duvet we own !!! She came to us when she was 10, how a sprightly 18 year old.

  7. We have always adopted adult rescue dogs (7 in total) The oldest we took on was a 12 year old Chocolate Labrador and we enjoyed 4 happy years with her.

  8. We have n old cat that adopted us, and his owners were pleased to let us have him, he had left them 3 years previously. We also have two dogs, both since they were puppies, and hope to have them for years to come. Eventually I think we will adopt an elderly dog/dogs as we are not getting any younger, but feel for our health having pets keep us fitter, and who else welcomes you back like your dog?

  9. I would like to say thank you for having a older cat they are loving and I had a pure white cat she was a bit deaf I only had her for 2 years and a girl I worked with got her boyfriend to run her over she got back home to me I took her to the vets he said she as been badly hurt so my husband had her put to sleep it broke my heart.

  10. I totaĺly agree, older pets can give as much joy as younger ones.
    I have had 8 rescues, my latest is from Romania where animal welfare is very poor.
    I will adopt older pets when I’m older so they don’t outlive me.
    I agree, insurance fees are prohibitive, so rescue shelters should tackle that issue and offer support to older people in adoption xx

  11. After having pet insurance for my past dogs for over 25 years with a certain supermarket company they put my monthly payment by £50 without any notice I had made no claims for over 3 years,that’s what you get for loyalty so needless to say I have NOT insured with them again, I went on to money supermarket and found a company that is cheaper per money and offers far more cover,do have a look.
    I have a rescue black Labrador who is my life my world since losing my husband ,he is tremendous company could not be without him.
    I had to take him to the vets last week as he gets sore ears and just needed drops and had claws trimmed £99.96 we were in surgery for 8 minutes unbelieveable amount of money HOW can vets justyfie charging that amount ,I am 70yrs .so I understand why older people who would like to adopt older dogs can’t ,something needs to be done about vets fees .

  12. yes i agree with u. and i think that bringing home an old dog will save lot of efforts to train him. besides he can adopte so quickly. but in some cases our kids want to see their dog grow up with them. Dont you think so?

    1. Yes it is great when kids and dogs grow up alongside each other but I still feel that being able to adopt an older dog (for me) would be the preferred option.

  13. We used to rescue Labradors and all of them in their later years needed to draw on insurance funding.

    The trouble is this can run out, ie £6000 with Direct line.

    Our last Labrador Sam lived for another couple of years and it cost me over £2000 to give him a decent quality of life.

    Iam now 83 and just took on another Doggie friend for life last year.

    I have made provision for him whoever outlives the other, meanwhile he has a loving home with 3 walks a day and a full Tum with lost of love and affection.

    Please consider the possible Vets/medication bills for treatment as there is no NHS for our for legged loved ones.

  14. Hi, Having read your blog on adopting an older pet l felt l should reply. I have never adopted a older dog ,taken on a few younger dogs at various ages and rehomed them for their owners for many different reasons and pleased to say very successfully , they have lived a happy and healthy life.
    I have always had my dogs from a very young age or have bred them from my own breeding stock and have many happy years spent with them. The reason I am leaving this is l had the most dearest little Sweedish Vallhund which l bred again from my own dogs and had his mother still whilst he was growing up. He enjoyed a happy healthy life up to around the age of seven and then he was diagnosed as being diabetic. I thought the end of the world had come l was so upset and worried what the outcome would be. Pleased to say he lived to the good age of fifteen years. Yes he had problem and yes is was very expensive keeping up the vet fees, but worth every penny . He lost his eye sight which l add did not stop him at all . We had stairs in our house and he used to love to sleep at the end of our bed, being like he was l admit l was a little soft with him but he was always very well behaved. Naturally he had problem coming down the stairs being almost blind and often l would creep down at night or first thing in the morning only to hear bop,bop,bop that was Flint making his way down the stairs on his bottom using his sence of smell to arrive at the bottom and greet me , his face all lit up and a wiggling bottom. Who couldn’t resist that . Finally the time came when l had to let him go it was heart breaking. If I am going to be honest l would do it all again. What l am trying to say is YES l also think adopting an older pet whether it a dog cat what ever giving it the chance of happy life no matter how long for is worth doing ,They reward you with so much love and respect and company, and be honest that what we are all looking for truthfully. We moved from the house after several years and naturally l couldn’t take him with me he was laid to rest with his mother in burial area in the garden . It was hard leaving all my pets behind but all the flowers and memorabilia l took with me and is now scattered around our new garden in loving memory of having them. Good luck to any one who as a older pet enjoy.

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