For any prospective pet owner, one of the biggest decisions you’ll have is whether to adopt a young or a mature pet. Many people assume that mature pets come with a laundry list of issues, and immediately dismiss them as an option. In reality, there are a number of misconceptions about mature pets that need clearing up before you should make any decision.
Misconception #1: Older animals are at shelters because of health issues.
Animals arrive at shelters or your local SPCA for many reasons. It may be that a senior can’t look after their pet anymore, or that a family situation has changed and the pet can’t continue with them. It’s worth asking about your prospective animal’s story to learn about their situation and make a decision on whether they’ll be a good fit for your family.
Misconception #2: You won’t want to miss the puppy/kitten stage.
While young animals are certainly adorable, they do come with some challenging behaviors that you’ll have to accommodate as they grow. There may be some chewing, potty training and general mischievousness that come with your younger animal. An older animal is likely past those stages, and may have a calmer temperament than a puppy or kitten.
Misconception #3: They only have a few good years left.
When cared for properly, cats and dogs can live well into their late teens. They’ll be grateful for your kindness and will likely develop a great bond with their new family.
Misconception #4: They have bad habits.
Mature animals have likely had the opportunity to live with a family before and are used to being around people. They may already be house trained, received some obedience training and respond to commands. A visit with the animal can give you a good idea of the animal’s personality, as opposed to a younger animal who hasn’t developed its habits quite yet.
Misconception #5: You can’t adopt a purebred.
If there is a certain breed you have your heart set on, there may a breed rescue organization in your area that can help you locate mature pets in need of homes.
There are a few other things to consider when selecting a mature animal. For example, when adopting a puppy or kitten, you will get to experience your pet grow up and navigate their way around their world. It can be very rewarding watching them respond to their first command, become successfully housetrained and figure out the stairs. Puppies and kittens are also undeniably cute and fun to have around. Whether those moments are deciding factors is a choice only you can make.
Whatever you prefer, adding a pet to your family is going to be an exciting and fulfilling experience regardless of their age.