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Giving an Older Cat or Dog a Second Chance

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Here’s why our senior cats and dogs can be just as, if not more rewarding to adopt or foster.

Puppies, kittens, and the ‘young and fit’ have always been a popular choice to adopt and foster at RSPCA and animal shelters. Here’s why our senior cats and dogs can be just as, if not more rewarding to adopt or foster, and how wonderful it is to give them a second chance.

Forming Passions

Working as an Animal Attendant at the RSPCA for 2 and a half years, I have come across so many loveable kittens/puppies and cats/dogs that have stolen my heart numerous times over.  Of course everyone forms their favourite kind of animal, breed, size, colour, furriness etc. No matter how many cats and dogs come and go, I seem to love them all regardless of their age, but cannot doubt I have formed a major ‘soft spot’ for our senior cats and dogs over the years. I could say this has become a passion of mine

Although their greying faces and soft nature are a joy to be around, these older pets deserve better than spending their last days in a shelter environment. Adopting or fostering an older cat or dog can have a huge positive impact on their life.

Day in the life of an Animal Attendant

A typical day as an Animal Attendant doesn’t just include cuddling animals and walking dogs (as much as I’d like it to be!). There is so much more involved in the way of animal care and welfare; constantly making sure every cat, dog, horse, reptile, mouse, (the list goes on) is the most comfortable and happy they can be while they are with us at RSPCA, and carrying out each task to ensure that. Of course there is the not-so-glamorous side of it, but at the end of the day it’s always worth it, especially knowing that we may help find their forever homes.

In most jobs, you find your ‘niche’. Although working with animals can also sometimes be sad and confronting, there is no doubt that I want to continue doing it, but in a different approach. I have now started volunteering in the Marketing department at the RSPCA, as well as working as an Animal Attendant. I love sharing what we are about at RSPCA, whether that’s on social media or face to face. It’s fun to share experiences and passions, maybe ones that aren’t as popular or talked about.

Why the older crowd can bring just as much joy

Working in shelter, I come across many pets at different ages and stages of life. Many puppies, kittens, and young, bright cats and dogs. We also provide temporary homes to cats over the age of 8, and dogs over the age of 9, which may be considered ‘seniors’. The reason these cats and dogs are at the RSPCA can vary. Maybe their owners could no longer look after them or no longer wanted them, maybe their previous owner is ill or has passed away, or maybe they were mistreated and brought to us for rehabilitation? No matter the reason, these older animals particularly continue to touch my heart.

I’m not too sure if it’s the white around the eyes of a loving staffy, or the sleepy personality of a big old cat, either way they have my heart. These cats and dogs have also formed their own unique personality and can show this off to you in their new home! A shelter environment is no permanent home for any animal, but it’s always a little sad to see older cats and dogs spending their later years sitting in a cat condo or kennel, when they have so much love to bring to your home.

Older cats can curl up on your lap while you’re watching telly, and senior dogs can take you for a more casual stroll down the park. You would also be giving them a chance a second chance at a loving home, and fulfilling the rest of their journey. Making sure your home is fit for any animal of any life stage is important, but if you are ever considering adopting or fostering a cat or dog, shy away from the typical kitten or puppy. I believe adopting or fostering an older cat or dog is a very wise choice!

Fun fact:
Ever see a cat’s tail vibrate? Don’t worry, this means they are ‘crazy about you’ and love you! Give him/her a pat ;)

Bridget Fitzgerald
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