8 Great Reasons to Adopt An Older Pet


This Valentine’s Day, consider opening your heart to an older pet.

Older pets make excellent companions, and are often better suited to busy lifestyles than their puppy and kitten counterparts. Here are 8 reasons why you should consider adopting an older pet.

1. No surprises

When you meet a puppy or kitten, you can guess what they will be like as adults, but you can’t know for sure. With adult pets, what you see is what you get. Their personalities are well-established, you can tell right away what grooming they will need, and they aren’t going to get any bigger than they already are.

Trouble, a 6-year-old male Domestic Shorthair, available at the APA Adoption Center.

2. Less Mess

How many unrolled rolls of toilet paper, chewed up boots, or gnawed/clawed furniture does a family need? Instead of forfeiting another vase to the kitten’s mischievous ways, consider a calm sidekick who has learned the ways of the home and doesn’t feel the need to climb curtains or relieve himself on the sofa leg.

3. Slow and steady

You don’t feel like running a marathon every morning? Good, neither do older pets. In fact, many older pets like to spend most of their time at home, relaxing on the couch. Sound like anyone you know? Of course, they still enjoy a leisurely walk or game of laser light chase, but for the most part, a scratch behind the ears will do.


Tony, a 5-year-old American Foxhound mix, available at the APA Adoption Center.

4. Seasoned veterans

Most older dogs and cats just get it. They’ve been a part of the family for a long time. They know what it takes to get along with other members of the pack and how to settle in without fuss. In fact, older cats are often less stressed out by a new cat at home when the new cat is also a mature feline introduced in a calm, quiet way.

5. Love bugs

Some people think older pets can’t learn to love their new families. We know nothing could be further from the truth. Older pets can bond just as quickly in their homes as younger dogs, and people who adopt older pets often claim that they can sense the gratitude their companion feels for a new start.

Tauris, a 7-year-old male Domestic Mediumhair, available at the APA Adoption Center.

6. Adult supervision not required

Of course you want to spend time with your new pet—that’s why you adopted, after all. But sometimes you probably want to just a little time alone. Older pets will grant you that luxury and can entertain themselves while you’re doing your own thing.

7. Life of love without a lifetime commitment

We often hear that people don’t feel prepared to care for an animal for 15-20 years. It’s smart to consider that lives change with growing families and new careers. Elderly people often don’t want their pets to outlive them. Older pets are no less of a serious commitment, but they can be a shorter one.

Nala, a 5-year-old Boxer mix, available at the APA Adoption Center

8. Hero status

It’s no secret that older dogs and cats are the last to be chosen at the shelter. Giving an older pet a home allows him or her to live out the golden years on a couch, not in a kennel.


  1. Older pets REALLY appreciate all you do for them. I have “pedigree challenged”, 3 legged, 13 year old dog, and I don’t think I could manage without him!


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