by Angela Marcus, co-founder of GetYourPet.com
There are few things more adorable than a puppy or kitten, so it makes sense that when someone decides to adopt a pet, their first instinct is to go for young and cute. There will always be adopters for those little fluffballs. But there are thousands of slightly older, equally wonderful pets in need of homes that go overlooked.
Here are five reasons to adopt an adult pet rather than a puppy or kitten:
What you see is what you get. An adult pet eliminates the “surprise” factor. You don’t have to wonder how big they will get, whether they will shed, or how their personality will turn out. While you have no way of predicting the future disposition of a puppy or kitten, an adult pet is usually pretty easy to read. They have had time to develop their likes and dislikes; establish how they react to new people, other pets and unknown places; become their own individual character.
When you are contemplating adoption, it’s important that you meet your potential new pet in an environment where they are calm and acting naturally, so that you can assess their true personality. This isn’t always possible when adopting from a shelter. But adopting a pet in foster care or using a site like getyourpet.com, where you adopt directly from the person who owns the pet, increases the likelihood that what you see is what you get.
Adult pets have more training. Unlike puppies and kittens, many adult dogs and cats have spent time living with a family and becoming socialized to life with humans. Chances are, they may have even have had some form of training and be able to respond to at least basic commands. Most adult pets are already trained to potty outside or in the litter box, so acclimating to a new home environment will be easy for them. Also, adult pets are less likely to be destructive, as they’ve already gone through the puppy and kitten phase of teething, chewing and scratching.
It’s easier to find your match. If you are particularly drawn to a specific type of pure-bred pet, you will have a much better chance of locating one if you are open to adopting an adult. Breed-specific rescues and shelters very rarely have pure-bred puppies or kittens to adopt but are commonly seeking homes for adult pure-bred dogs and cats. If you have other attributes you are looking for – say a pet that loves children, because you have kids – you can be confident about adopting an adult pet that has previously lived with children successfully.
Adult pets are easier to live with. The lifestyle of adult dogs and cats is usually much more relaxed than that of their younger counterparts. They adapt more quickly to your schedule and are happy to chill on the couch with you at the end of the day. That’s not to say they won’t need regular exercise, but they aren’t as full of wild energy as puppies or kittens. Adult pets are also cleaner to share your space with. Once housetrained, dogs and cats rarely have an accident in the house. If they do, there is usually something medically wrong and you should consult your veterinarian.
They are the most “at-risk” pets in shelters. As mentioned above, puppies and kittens are usually the first pets adopted from the shelter. Adult pets often languish for weeks, or even months, before finding someone to give them a chance. In most cases, they’ve experienced a loving home and cannot make sense of the unusual smells and sounds of the shelter environment. They are scared, and they may develop medical or behavioral issues because of their time in the shelter, further hindering their chance of a live release.
The decision to adopt a pet is a big step, one that will undoubtedly change your life for the better. There’s a good chance you’ve decided to adopt because you want to save a life (great decision!) and the absolute best way to ensure you are doing so is to bring home an adult pet.
Get Your Pet is an online community that connects people who need to find a new home for their pet with people who want to adopt a pet like theirs. Animal shelters and pet rescues do wonderful work, but the current, shelter-based system for pet adoption is in crisis, and it needs our help. Get Your Pet is a simple, smart and humane way to keep pets out of shelters, one that also increases shelters’ ability to care for the homeless and abused animals that can benefit most from the amazing work they do.
The website, getyourpet.com, is a revolutionary pet adoption site that helps lovable pets go directly from one good home to another rather than to a shelter, and is now available across the U.S. The site offers a simple, smart approach to pet adoption, enabling people who need to give up a pet to connect directly with people who want to adopt.