Few people can resist the face of a puppy or kitten, and often assume they must start with a baby animal when choosing a pet. However, we often see many of these adorable creatures returned when they are less than a year old because well-meaning adopters did not account for the time and energy required to raise a puppy, or the kitten was more than they bargained for. Most of these adopters could have been successful with an adult dog or cat that required less effort. In our shelter, “adult” includes any animal six months to senior ages.


There are few things more adorable than a kitten. Kittens are entertaining and full of fun. They also have needs similar to raising a puppy.

A young kitten will have more needs for attention and supervision than adult cats. As a kitten learns about the world by playing, your curtains, couch and flower arrangements can become sacrificed in the process. An adult cat can settle in faster, and choose to nap in front of the window versus climb the drapes.

Kittens are often poor matches for young kids

Kittens can play rough and have sharp claws that can hurt young children. Young children, in turn, can handle a kitten too roughly and cause injury. An adult cat can be more patient with young kids, and best of all, knows when to walk away from interactions that are too much for either of them.

Kittens can also be bad matches for homes with resident animals

Dogs may play too roughly or worse yet, mistake the kitten as prey. Adult cats are more able and confident in setting boundaries with dogs. Resident adult cats often resent the playfulness of a young kitten, and would settle in faster with an adult housemate.

Adopting an adult cat can bring the easiest and sweetest rewards

Domestic cats, especially those living exclusively indoors, often live to be 20 years old or older. By adopting an adult cat you are taking a stand against the pet overpopulation crisis, and your efforts will be appreciated daily through the purring thanks of your new cat. Adopting a kitten or cat is a big responsibility, and there are many Things To Consider Before Getting A Pet.


Watching a puppy grow can be a rewarding experience, and is often compared to the time requirements of raising a human baby. And just like a baby, you won’t discover the dog’s true personality until it is nearing adulthood.

Young puppies require large amounts of your time

They need to be fed 3-4 times a day, kept in a confined area indoors, and let out every few hours to eliminate. The first few weeks can be filled with sleepless nights as the confused puppy seeks comfort and food.

A puppy’s growth phase requires much supervision and training

House-training is accomplished only after accidents. Teething (“chewing”) lasts the first six-eight months. And puppies don’t become mature adults until they are two years old, meaning they act like teenage dogs for a year or more. If everyone in your home is gone for eight hours a day, your puppy probably won’t get the attention he needs to meet your expectations. If you are gone much longer than eight hours a day, even adult dogs have high attention needs and may not be a good choice for your current lifestyle.

Adopting an adult dog has many advantages

Most dogs given to shelters are young adolescents. They don’t usually have behavior problems; they were just victims of well-meaning owners who didn’t have the time, knowledge or patience for the needs of a dog. While many shelter dogs could use a little more training, they usually bond quickly with new owners, and have fewer needs than a young puppy. Many shelter dogs are already house-trained, though they often need some reminders and a few days of adjustment time after their stay at a shelter. Even if they were sadly kept outdoors only, adult dogs often only need a day or two to learn that they live inside, but eliminate outside.

Many shelter dogs have already lived with children

People often assume that they should start with a puppy if they have children. Puppies have sharp baby teeth and can play too roughly with young children. There are many adult dogs in the shelter that are recommended for households with children. And, teaching children about the moral benefits of saving the life of a homeless adult pet is a lesson that will never be forgotten.

Adult dogs are easier to train than young puppies because they have longer attention spans

And many shelter dogs already know some basic commands taught in their first home or by shelter volunteers. Dogs in our shelter are enrolled in our Phideaux (pronounced Fido) University train-to-adopt program, where staff and volunteers teach them basic good behaviors like sit, wait, down, and to walk on a leash without pulling. 

Dogs are generally more predictable

A dog isn’t full-grown until it’s a year old, so when adopting an adult dog you already know its full size, health and real personality.

Dogs seldom mature out of their “teenage phase” until they are two years old

Adopting an older pet means that someone else already had his or her shoes chewed and you get the benefit of a dog who is more mellow and allows you to finish the entire newspaper.

Don’t discount a dog that is approaching a senior age

Even an eight-year-old dog has the likelihood of many more good years to give you. A senior dog often offers the sweetest rewards. And if you’re a senior yourself, you can take advantage of our Seniors for Seniors program–if you’re at least 60 years old, and the pet you choose is at least 6 years old, the adoption fee is just $6!

You are taking a stand against the pet overpopulation crisis and saving an animal that will bond quickly with you, and shower you with gratitude and unconditional love. All dogs are social animals and have a high need for regular companionship and attention inside the home with their humans. If you are gone much longer than eight or nine hours a day, a dog may not be an appropriate pet for your busy lifestyle. Adopting a puppy or dog is a big responsibility, and there are many things to consider before getting a pet. 




So are you ready to adopt? View our available pets online, or visit them in person and download our Adoption Application.


The SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare is a

tax-exempt 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization.

EIN: 57-0329782

  199 Willow Run Road  Aiken, SC 29801      Shelter: (803) 648-6863    Vet Care: (803) 648-6864

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