Adopting an older pet brings so much joy to all

Recently I was given the opportunity to adopt a cat. I was given my choice if I wanted a kitten, middle-aged or senior feline. I chose a senior cat for many reasons. My first reason was that I have a brand new baby in the house, and didn’t want a cat that would be too loving and potentially jump on baby and smother her. My other reason was the fact that they need love too and are just as affectionate, cuddly, playful, and cute as any kitten ever could be.

While I do plan one day to adopt a kitten for my daughter to see an animal grow up, right now was the perfect time to introduce a cat to our two-year-old dog, as well as bring a cat into my life for the companionship. I chose Hilda, a senior cat from the Red Deer and District SPCA, because she was 11-years-old, had been at the SPCA for a number of years, and she needed some affection.

Just like any kitten would have, Hilda has her quirks and a well-developed personality. She loves to be pet, loves to eat, and loves to cuddle. But she doesn’t jump up on people, won’t come to someone for attention and waits to be approached before beginning to purr or seek affection. It works perfectly in our home with a small baby on the floor rolling around.

The other reason adopting an older cat, or dog for that matter, was perfect for us was because of our dog that we already had at home. I didn’t want to introduce a playful kitten into the home and have our dog want to chase and play and run and jump. I wanted a cat that would stand its ground, tell the dog off, and be happy to lie in front of the fireplace and watch television with us. This is precisely what I got, and Hilda has been a terrific addition to our home.

When I went in to get Hilda though I was a little bit heartbroken. There are so many senior pets sitting waiting to be adopted and nobody seems to see how terrific they are. It seems most people want that brand new baby animal to add to their homes, but don’t see the benefits of adopting a senior.

The older cats and dogs have just as much spunk as the younger ones, and most of them are already well mannered, trained and have been around different lifestyles. There are many pets sitting waiting to be adopted that have traits that people spend years working to establish in a pet. For example, some of the senior dogs have already been around children, same with some of the cats. These pets are perfect for new families or people who have recently had children as they already know how to behave in these situations.

I recently had to drop Hilda off for some veterinary care and went to show my daughter the dogs and puppies, and she was much more drawn to the droopy brown eyes of an aged black lab than she was to the anxious barking and nipping of a young heeler-cross puppy. I too found the older dog to be much more attractive as he sat on command and knew to wait patiently for any scratches or petting.

So the next time I go looking for a pet it will not be that cuddly little kitten someone is trying to sell from a farm, or that puppy from a breeder that costs more than a month’s rent. The pet I will probably take home will be the one with the sad, aged eyes looking for some love and affection for however many years they may have left.