Each year, 3.1 million dogs and 3.2 million cats are surrendered to shelters. Approximately 920,000 of those animals end up having to be euthanized. About 810,000 eventually go back to their owners, should owners’ financial or living situations improve. The best way to end this is by adopting a pet, rather than buying one.
National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day falls on April 30th and is a good time to address the pet your mom keeps talking about. She keeps talking about a puppy or kitten for companionship. Instead, see if she’d consider adopting an aging pet. Elderly dogs and cats often get overlooked due to their age and remaining lifespan.
The Benefits of Adopting Older Cats and Dogs
Older dogs are more likely to have already been housebroken, while a new home may take a few days to adjust to. Once your mom knows the dog’s patterns, accidents inside the home are unlikely.
The same is true of older cats. They’re more likely to have been fully litter box trained. Now, an accident here and there may happen as the cat learns the layout, but it’s much better than having a kitten that must be trained from the start!
Adoption and Care Costs
Some shelters also offer discounted adoption fees. There may even be a program for free vet check-ups for things like rabies shots, general health checks, and nail trims.
When you adopt a pet, you’re getting a dog or cat that has already been fixed and vetted. You save a lot of money.
A puppy or kitten will need to be spayed or neutered, given all initial and booster vaccinations, possibly dewormed, and is susceptible to diseases like parvo. According to CareCredit, the costs for this fall in these ranges:
- Kitten spay – $100 to $400
- Puppy spay – $50 to $500
- Blood tests – $80 to $200
- Vaccinations – $60 to $100
Older cats are more likely to want to sit around and snuggle. Kittens are adventurers and like to go explore, and they can be a bit more destructive in the process. Your mom will spend a lot of time having to stop a kitten from climbing curtains, scratching furniture, carpeting, and door frames.
Dogs are also going to want to go at a slower pace. Older dogs also slow down and sleep more. They’ll still want to play and go for walks, but the pace may be slower and a bit more suitable to your mom’s stamina.
Finally, you have to consider what happens to the pet if your mom has a stroke or heart attack or has an accident and has to go to the hospital or a rehabilitation community. Is someone familiar to the dog or cat going to be able to take the pet in?
Other Options for Companionship
If your mom only wants a pet for companionship, talk to her about having elder care aides stop by each week. Her caregiver can accompany her on walks, shopping trips, and can even watch a movie with her. They can also join her for meals and give her someone to talk to throughout the day.
Elder care services can be a better alternative than a pet that will need vet exams, time outside, or maintenance of a cat litter box, and food, snacks, and toys. Call a home care agency to learn more about elder care.