My job keeps me tied to a computer most days, which means there are several cats and dogs who come into the SPCA Albrecht Center and are adopted before I ever know they're here, which is exactly what we want for them - loving homes as soon as possible.
There are others though, who are here long enough that their names and faces become familiar, and many of those faces show graying muzzles and white whiskers.
According to PetFinder.com, senior pets spend about four times as long on their website, which means four times the wait for a new home. Along with solid black dogs and FIV+ cats, senior pets are among the hard-to-place and less-adoptable of the shelter pet population.
Adopters visiting shelters commonly overlook senior pets for puppies, kittens, or active adolescent pets, wishing for a long, full life with their new pet. Frustratingly, some of these same adopters insisting upon a young, energetic pet, return them to the shelter because the pet required too much attention.
All the while, senior pets sit and wait, for someone to realize they still have plenty of love to give and enough energy to satisfy an adopter's desire for play, while not requiring 'round-the-clock attention.
Some other reasons to consider an older pet: they're often house-trained, they may already understand basic household etiquette, and they make excellent nap companions! Don't just take my word for it though. Here's what a few of our adopters have to say about their senior pets:
Sandra Harris adopted Callista, a 10 year old shepherd mix, after seeing Callista's photo in The Aiken Standard's Adopt-A-Pet feature. Sandra says "if you are older or not high-energy, older pets are a great option."
Jack, a handsome long-haired black cat, was 12 years old when he was adopted by Melissa Creason. Melissa came to the SPCA looking for a cat, nothing specific, when Jack's "vampire teeth" and laid back personality caught her attention. She says Jack made himself at home right away and likes to lie down on her keyboard when she's on the computer. Melissa encourages adopters to not let age deter them from adopting a great pet.
Laurel Adams adopted Cinnamon, a beautiful, loving 15 year old cat, who found herself in the SPCA's care after her owner passed away. Laurel's cat Petey, another orange tabby, died after 18 years of companionship. She says she heard Cinnamon's story, came to meet her and fell in love when the affectionate cat purred right away and licked her face. Laurel says Cinnamon "just seemed to need someone", so she became that someone.
Samantha was a younger senior cat at just 7 years old when she was adopted by Linda Chase. Along with her age, Samantha held a constant "grumpy cat" expression which turned away many potential adopters, but had the opposite effect on Linda. She says Samantha was shy, seemed lonely and she wanted to give her the special attention she seemed to need. Regarding senior pets, Linda says "they really fulfill your life and have great personalities. They're easy to fall in love with."
Perhaps now you'll consider a senior when searching for a new pet to adopt, and I can add your story to the ones above. Right now at the SPCA, there are several wonderful senior cats looking for loving homes.
Mr. Gizmo and Stretchy, 10 and 9 years old, are two laid back, gentleman felines rooming together while they await adoption.
Hector is a handsome, 11 year old black cat working on his new diet and exercise plan while he waits to catch the eye of an adopter looking for an affectionate, easy-to-love companion.
Minnie, 9 years old, and Tuffy, just 6 years old, are two lovely lady cats looking for their perfect match. Maybe it's you?
See more at LetLoveLive.org/available-pets including dogs, if a canine companion is more your style. Senior dogs can also be found on the adoption floor and contrary to the phrase, old dogs CAN be taught new tricks.
One more reason to adopt a senior pet from the SPCA Albrecht Center: if you're a senior yourself (60 or better), senior pets (6 or older) are adoptable for just a $6 adoption fee. Six dollars for a perfectly loveable pet who's already spayed or neutered, vaccinated, microchipped, and who will be so grateful for the home and love you provide.
Sarah Neikam is the Communications & Marketing Director for the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare. She is an Aiken native and has been with the SPCA since 2012. Sarah lives in Graniteville with her family which includes three adopted cats: Bastian, Luna and Grady, who are all living happy, loved lives thanks to the efforts of the SPCA.