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Adopt a Senior Pet! You'll Find a New Best Friend

Updated on May 6, 2014

Old Cats and Old Dogs Make Great Pets! Senior Pets give special Pleasures

Why do senior pets deserve a place in your home? Even though it may seem hard to believe, old dogs and cats have many qualities that make them delightful pets!

Many people think dogs and cats are just not fun when they are older, when actually senior pets can be very delightful. This is true whether they are your own beloved pet that you have raised from a kitten or puppy, or whether you adopt a senior pet.

Senior pets can be more settled, affectionate and playful without being hectic. They have a lot to give.

At any shelter, you can be assured that senior dogs and cats will be overlooked for puppies and kittens. I have heard people say that they like "kittens but not cats."

I hope to prove to you that adopting a senior pet is a GREAT idea! Although great senior pets are available any time of the year November is "Adopt a Senior Pet Month," and I hope you join with me in celebrating our fine animal senior citizens.

Trillium Poncho- cat and his dog buddy, Creative Commons photo of An 11-year old tabby cat and a mixed Molosser breed dog lounging on a sofa.

Old Cat by Barbara Libby - Purr-fect Book for Senior Cat Lovers

This liberally illustrated book for about old cats belongs on the bookshelves of every feline fancier. It is truly gorgeous. If you have an old cat who cuddles up to you, you don't need to be convinced about how wonderful he is, but still it is beautiful to see love like that in action.

Old Cat
Old Cat

Old Cat is beautifully written and beautifully illustrated. One reviewer said "The illustrations are subtle pastels with great detail and everytime I pull it out to read I end up in tears."

A lovely tribute to old kitty friends, a wonderful gift for any cat lover.


Take a New Look at a Senior Dog - Take a Look through Their Aged Eyes

Older dogs can be charmers. This video demonstrates clearly just how much love and life old dogs have them! So cute!

If the video below doesn't convince you, check out photographer Nancy Levine's facebook project of senior dogs across America.

Do You Need a Gift for a Senior Dog? - Our Elderly Canine Friends Have special Needs

Gifts for Senior Dogs
My dog Buckwheat is an excellent old dog, but I do have to admit: he is a senior dog! Senior dogs have special needs. They have additional medical problems,...

Whether you need a Christmas present for your favorite senior dog - or just want to help your older dog alleviate or prevent any complications of aging - I've got you covered.

Please visit this companion lens that I have written with deep respect to old friends who bark instead of talk.

Advantages of Getting an Older Cat or Dog - Don't judge a Book by the Cover!

Twenty Year Old Cat - Ready for a Snooze - photographed by Dimitri Torterat
Twenty Year Old Cat - Ready for a Snooze - photographed by Dimitri Torterat

Old cats can provide you with plenty of joy as well as old dogs.

Cats tend to be loving right up to the end, and even though senior cat may have other health needs, the love and attention you will receive will be worth it.

Older cats tend to be grateful, less demanding and more easily content. They seem to know that they have been saved from an ugly end.

Doesn't a senior cat belong with you in your home?

You May Find your City Dog in the Ranks of the Senior Dogs

Retired Greyhounds Actually Make great Apartment Dogs. They do need a short daily run, but then they are basically couch potatoes.

A Senior Greyhound might be Perfect for Your Family! - Have you Ever considered Adopting a Retired Racing Greyhound

Should you adopt a Retired Greyhound?

Maybe! They are affectionate, low-key, and smart. They are light-weight bigger dogs, kind of the best of both types of dogs. I have always had a hankering for a greyhound, except I have heard that they are sight hounds and they run away easily. However, my own dog has done that so I don't think it is just the breed.

And the greyhound rescue groups can fill you in on all the details of the greyhound that you want to take home.

Need convincing? Cal the Greyhound is looking for a long-term commitment - let him explain it himself.

Eleven Great Reasons why a Senior Pet Might be Exactly Right for You - Older Cats and Older Dogs give More than they Take

Listed below are great reasons that a senior dog or cat could be perfect for your family. Petfinder, an online resource that works with shelters and rescue societies across the US to make sure that no adoptable animal have compiled a list of ten reasons Senior cats Rule.

The nation's largest animal rescue society: the ASPCA compiled another excellent resource on ten reasons to adopt an older dog.

I have combined the two and added my own take on things to make the case totally compelling - a senior pet belongs in your home!

PS - Like the poster above? Click here to bring the Library Pup home with you.

  1. What You See Is What You Get. A senior cat won't grow any larger, so you'll know exactly how much cat you're getting, the same with a dog. And you also know the personality of the pet that you are adopting - no rude surprises there.

    Everyone has idiosyncrasies, if you adopt a senior pet you will be able to choose one to match your quirks.

  2. You generally will find training a senior pet much easier. Old dogs can learn new trick! They have more control over their body for the most part, and also will find it easier to focus on you as they don't have puppy or kitty energy. A senior cat will be less likely to attack your feet every night, and almost all of them are litter box trained.

    PS - Old cats can learn new tricks as well.

  3. Senior pets come with instant gratitude. I don't how exactly, but there are so many stories of how senior dogs and cats just seemed to be so grateful and appreciative. They seem to know that they have been ripped out of the jaws of death!
  4. They are not as labor intensive as younger cats and dogs, they are not a 24-7 job. They just have less nervous energy.

    While they need a walk, or maybe a little playtime for a kitty - there is not the intensive exercise requirements that younger dogs require.

  5. You may be afraid of messes - actually senior dogs and cats are less likely to be messy. Dogs are more likely to be house-trained, cats are usually litter box trained and able to learn that the scratching tree is where they need to exercise their claws.
  6. They generally settle into your home quickly. They are usually more adaptable.
  7. Want a couch potato and a lap cat to hug as you relax? Consider an older dog or senior cat! They just have less energy requirements, and are more appropriate for modern day folk who are very busy.

    The fact that they are winding down makes them much more appropriate to be therapy animals. I am just now beginning to think of having Buckwheat be a therapy dog; as a high-energy intense border collie - I had to wait for his senior years to think about taking him into rest homes and libraries.

  8. You will get special points in Heaven if you adopt a senior pet. I know - I am a Squid Angel! :)

    Senior pets are some of the hardest pets to adopt. They top a list of other unfortunate animals such as black pets, and pets with illnesses and disabilities - animals that are hard to adopt.

    That is an entirely unfair situation - unfair to the pet, and unfair to the person who could be blessed with them.

  9. Breed fanciers: you absolutely can get a purebred pet as a senior.

    Breed rescue societies are great ! Fancy a Rottweiler? Got to have a Pug? No problem! There are breed rescuers for every dog breed. Here you can find a comprehensive list of breed rescues from the American Kennel Club.

    Are you a Persian Cat fancier? Just got to have a Ragdoll or other Floppy Cat? Understandable! And you will be able to find a loving cat at the breed rescue. Click here for a comprehensive list of cat breed rescues.

  10. If you adopt a senior pet you create one LESS reason for awful puppy mills and kitty mills to exist.

    Get a great friend and strike a blow for animal justice at the same time!

  11. Senior pets are adorable. Don't believe me?

    Have a look at these funny faces.

What about the Health Problems of Senior Dogs and Senior Cats? - The benefits will outweigh the challenges

Lively Old Dog
Lively Old Dog

Senior dogs do have health problems. But at least you know what you are getting - sometimes a puppy you have paid a lot for end up with having a lot of problems. (Puppy mills, you know?)

Some of the special health requirements of cats include arthritis and obesity and trouble with their coat. Attention to their diet, playing with them so they get some exercise and enough water to keep their joints lubricated, and brushing can go a long way. They may have trouble with their kidneys, so you might want to meet with the vet a little more often to monitor this.

Dogs are more prone to arthritis, which can be abated with gentle exercise, diet to avoid obesity and supplements and pain medications from the veterinarian. The Grey Muzzle Society knows these issues well, as well as more simple ways of helping. They are a rescue society exclusively dedicated to senior dogs. They have found that simply by using simple dog beds like the Coolaroo Large Steel-Framed Pet Bed with knitted fabric you will alleviate a lot of the suffering of older dogs. Older dogs do not do well lying on concrete.

When you adopt an old dog or old cat, you can make a decision how aggressive you want to be with their health care, and realistically how much money you can spend. I have decided that for right now I can only take on the veterinary care and feeding responsibilities for one dog, for instance.

But know this - for so many dogs and cats - just having a warm bed and caring home is better than any medicine that money could buy.

Lensmaster NightBear has Opened her Heart - Nightbear cares for a Paralyzed Dog

It happens! Usually it is not predictable and frequently it is devastating. Your beloved dog has become paralyzed. What do you do now? In our case, our dog ...

This is a fascinated tale of the joy that you can find by taking care of a dog that is very handicapped, without as much sacrifice as you would imagine. Good for you Nightbear!

Pet Naturals of Vermont Hip & Joint - Superior Supplement - American Made

Keeping mobile is important for both animals and humans.

Pet Naturals of Vermont is one of the finest pet nutritional support companies that there is. They follow strict testing of their materials, and are always striving for excellent.

Pet Naturals Hip & Joint for Cats (45 count)
Pet Naturals Hip & Joint for Cats (45 count)

This helps with joints which tend to disintegrate with age.

Pet Naturals Calming for Large Dogs, Chicken Liver Flavor, (21 count)-2.37OZ
Pet Naturals Calming for Large Dogs, Chicken Liver Flavor, (21 count)-2.37OZ

Nutrition can be a fine aid in natural calming of animals.


Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

You CAN teach an old dog new tricks. Recently I have enrolled my own ten year old Buckwheat into private dog training. He is much better on the sit, stay, come, and heel command. All in all a better dog. And he is ten years old.

Old Cats Rock - Life Doesn't End at age Five!

I love to watch these older cats playing and cuddling.

You don't have to be a kitten to give love!

Sometimes shelter fees can be reduced or eliminated entirely for senior dogs and senior cats

The Sacramento SPCA gives their staff latitude to wave the adoption fee for a senior dog if they have already determined that the potential adopter can provide a good home. Some shelters have "Senior Citizens Adopt Senior Animals Free" programs. Could you influence your local shelter to try some similar programs the same?

What about You? - Has Your Life Ever Been Graced by a Senior Pet?

Have You Ever Adopted a Senior Pet

See results

Even if you can't adopt a senior pet from your local animal shelter, you can easily make a contribution that really matters.

The Animal Rescue Site helps dogs and cats in shelters across this country. When you press the button - you are actually making a donation. At no cost to yourself!

Bloomingrose is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to She also receives affiliate commission from eBay and other affiliate programs on items that are for sale, unless specifically indicated.

Have You Ever Adopted an Older Pet? - Would you Consider Bringing a Senior Pet Home?

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    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 4 years ago

      @BLouw: Absolutely, the truth is even humans get nicer as they age. :)

    • BLouw profile image

      Barbara Walton 4 years ago from France

      Nice lens about such an important subject.

      The good thing about older cats and dogs is that they are better behaved and calmer. Both my cat and dog were FULL of bean. Molly, our pointer, was a great handful from puppy to very recently. She's still full of energy but much more manageable.

      Our older cat is wonderful - and now we have a kitten I so much appreciate our older cat's ability to fit into family life and not do anything to annoy me.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 4 years ago

      @Stephanie36: Thanks for sharing that sweet story!

    • Stephanie36 profile image

      Stephanie 4 years ago from Canada

      I almost adopted a senior cat because I felt so sorry for her. There wasn't really a connection between us, but the poor girl had been there for 3 months. But, in the few minutes I was agonizing over it (because I was completely in love with another cat besides her), she got adopted! So, she got a home and I got my 4 year old kitty, Tex (he's 7 now).

      My parents cats are all older and we're unfortunately losing them now. :( But older cats are wonderful, and I often don't notice a difference in them from younger cats.

      Fantastic lens!!

    • Joebeducci profile image

      Joebeducci 4 years ago

      I wish I had time for a dog, I love those animals! Great lens, Greets, Joebeducci

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 4 years ago

      @Lynda Makara: Well, you had six wonderful years with a living teddy bear.

    • Lynda Makara profile image

      Lynda Makara 4 years ago from California

      The oldest dog I adopted was six years old, a gorgeous Samoyed. He was the best dog ever, just like a teddy bear. Sadly, he only lived to be 12. That's the hardest part about adopting an older animal, knowing that your time with them will be short.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Rose, you are getting good traffic. Queen ziggy was 3 when I adopted her. Knowing how loving she was as a senior, I can imagine adopting an older dog if the price was lower, or if the dog came with food for awhile and a free round of shots.

    • profile image

      cmadden 4 years ago

      We end up with kitties for all sorts of reasons: Shadow was turned in to a rescue organization at eight years (his humans lost their home); Callie at four years (she became inconvenient when her humans moved); Odan (about three), after losing his back leg in an argument with a car, ended up going through three other "forever" homes (sent back each time) before coming to us (he's shall we say, *very* active, three legs or no); and Sylvester (about the same age as Odan) spent a year in the cage waiting for adoption. They are, respectively, a brown tabby, a tortie, a gray and white cow kitty, and a kitler tuxedo kitty.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      @ReneeK2012: MMMMMMmmmmmmm - I kiss you! All those sweet animals now have a nice home.

    • ReneeK2012 profile image

      ReneeK2012 5 years ago

      Absolutely....I have 2 senior cats plus 2 junior cats at the moment. The junior's I took in because 1 was a throwaway at under 6 weeks, and the other one had only 3 legs and I considered her mine as soon as I spotted her tiny body. Just because she wasn't perfect didn't mean she wasn't entitled to a good life. My daughter just adopted an 8 year old beagle who is an absolute sweetheart. Seniors who are rescue animals deserve to have a happy retirement being members of a family and spoiled rotten....

    • colleenw1 profile image

      colleenw1 5 years ago

      a senior pet is deserving of a loving forever home to live out the remainder of their life....

      We would definitely consider doing so....

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 5 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      Yes, we've adopted several senior dogs and they make wonderful pets. The only thing we have ever wished is that we had more time with them. Actually several lived longer and healthier lives than we expected them to and we've lost dogs that were younger that we expected to have a long time to cancer, so I would adopt an older dog again anytime.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      We have a new puppy in our home. Lucy is 2 to 3 months old. She came from the shelter and I'm not sure what kind of dog she is, but I think mostly lab. Rose, this dog is such a handful! I love her to pieces, but she requires constant attention. After reading in your lens today about the attributes of senior dogs, I am jealous of senior dog owners :) If we ever get another dog, I'm voting for a senior! Oh, well. Lucy will be old one day! The new Purple Star for this lens is well deserved!

    • profile image

      Margot_C 5 years ago

      We rescued a 1-year old Basenji who just had her 13th birthday. She's a cancer survivor (6 years cancer free) and is just starting to have kidney problems. But she is such a joy now that she doesn't eat furniture anymore. :-) Seriously, older pets are definitely worth it - they all deserve loving homes and it's a good feeling to give one to those who need it most.

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 5 years ago from Land of Aloha

      I LOVE Senior Pets!

    • profile image

      momideas 5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this with us.

    • profile image

      RockingChairWisdom 5 years ago

      Kind of stumbled into it. Hadn't planned on getting a dog as we lived in an apartment.

      However, my Father-in-law passed away this past year and my Mother-in-law is in a nursing home. Consequently we brought their 9-year old Cocker Spaniel home with us.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 5 years ago from USA

      We have adopted several older pets. They are so loving, and have brought so much more into our lives. Congratulations on the purple star.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      The older I get, the less an enegetic pup sounds. Yes, it sounds like a great idea. Congratulations on your purple star. And now blessed by a squid angel.

    • profile image

      Aunt-Mollie 5 years ago

      I "liked" this the first time I read it. Since I can't "like" it again, I'll just put my "like" right here: Liked and Loved!

    • choosehappy profile image

      Vikki 5 years ago from US

      Congrats on the purple star ;) *blessed*

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      @MartieG: I didn't even know I had a Purple Star on this! Well, it seems that they are being given out for lenses made from the heart because that is where this one came from.

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 5 years ago from Jersey Shore

      Just stopped back to congratulate you on the well deserved purple star! :>)

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      @PreLovedDogs: Thanks! And I love your lensmaster name and icon. Ahhhhhhhhh

    • profile image

      PreLovedDogs 5 years ago

      I love the SeniorDogs!! video and the 11 Reasons. Heck, I love the whole page. Well done on sharing such great information.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      @KimGiancaterino: You bet! And you are an angel with your cat adopting ways.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

      I'm fostering 4 cats right now, all of which were scheduled to be killed within hours of being pulled from our local shelter. The oldest is a gorgeous 7-year-old Siamese and she was just dumped. Another is an ordinary striped Tabby, probably close to 5 years. No one is going to want her, but we love her. People who adopt older pets are special indeed, and those fortunate animals repay the kindness tenfold.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      @Donallphin: Wow - you had both of your pets for over a decade a piece. I can't even imagine how you felt about them by the time their time on this Earth was over.

    • Donallphin profile image

      Donallphin 5 years ago

      We kept a cat named Takamatsu for 17 wonderful years. My Chesapeake Bay retriever only lasted 12 years but gave us some incredible joy along the way. Thanks for this lens!

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      @MartieG: Adopting older pets! I love your strategy.

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 5 years ago from Jersey Shore

      We brought an older dog into our home when a friends father passed away and this dog was the best dog ever. I will adopt older animals from now on. What a great topic you have chosen ~~~~Blessed~~~~

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      @AnnRadley: Puppies are very cool too, I admit it. But I have never had the free time for a puppy.

    • AnnRadley profile image

      AnnRadley 5 years ago

      I haven't yet but look forward to it in the future. I adopted one 3 year old whom I adore. And one puppy - but cute as he was, I will opt for a senior dog next time. Thank you for this wonderful lens

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      @DebMartin: Thanks! There is no better friend than an old friend, no matter what the species.

    • profile image

      DebMartin 5 years ago

      Thank you for creating this very important lens.

    • profile image

      AnimalHouse 5 years ago

      Adopting a pet, old or not, is a lot like thanking and appreciating their existence.

    • profile image

      BradKamer 5 years ago

      I may someday. I currently have a senior cat and a young golden retreiver. Great, inspiring lens. Thanks for sharing.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      @squidoopets: Sounds like a wonderful plan! In the meanwhile, you can support the lives of older pets just by pushing the Animal Rescue Site button.

    • squidoopets profile image

      Darcie French 5 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

      For a time we were breeding Morkie puppies as a family hobby and we enjoyed raising them and finding them good homes. Things can happen in life though, wherein people are no longer, for whatever reasons, able to keep their pets and the beloved pets end up needing a new home during their older years. It is my goal to adopt and care for senior animals when I am again in a position to care for a cat and a dog. Hubby and I intend to live in an RV when we reach about age 50, once the last child leaves the home, and when we do we'll complete our family with older animals who wish to retire along with us.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      @Steph Tietjen: Thanks, and hug your good old dog for me!

    • Steph Tietjen profile image

      Stephanie Tietjen 5 years ago from Albuquerque, New Mexico

      I adopted my 16 yr old dog at 6 mos. and would adopt an old dog anytime. He's a joy and only has a bit of an issue with hips, but we still walk most everyday. A great lens with compelling arguments for the old ones.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      @Franksterk: I know you are a cat affectionado - and have done a huge amount to help them over the years. Thanks so much for the blessing.

    • Franksterk profile image

      Frankie Kangas 5 years ago from California

      We have adopted many senior cats over the years. They are terrific. So much easier to train and they have all been love bugs. Thanks for sharing. This was a lens I meant to create and just didn't have the time. Thank you. It needed to be written. Blessed. Bear hugs, Frankster

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      @AlleyCatLane: What an amazing story! I can just see you with that kitty cat now.

    • profile image

      AlleyCatLane 5 years ago

      I just inherited my dad's tabby cat, who is about 12, when dad passed away. He is so sweet and handsome. He's a big baby who loves to be in my lap, or right next to me, or laying on my keyboard tray when I am on the computer. I can't imagine not having him around.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      @hamshi5433: All I can say is that I always know my old dog is there to greet me with love, my kids - not so much.

    • profile image

      hamshi5433 5 years ago

      I'm not really a pet fan but these days, I keep getting this feeling that animals are more loving/honest and thankful than humans. That video of senior dogs was emotional, loved it.