Be a hero: Adopt an adult

Adults have more refined tastes. They're into craft beers, while youngsters are out there drinking cheap rum.

Adults have more refined tastes. They’re into craft beers, while youngsters are out there drinking cheap rum.

For the past year or so, I’ve been volunteering on and off at a local animal shelter. I was really involved with the community relations department for about six months during my unemployment, but I decided to stop volunteering when three part-time jobs came rolling in at once. Recently I’ve began volunteering again. Every Monday, I work with another volunteer in filming animals and creating short video clips for their profiles online.

I love playing with the animals, even if it’s only for a few minutes. They are all so sweet and crave human interaction. I WANT TO ADOPT THEM ALL! But my lack of space and funds, along with my desire to not become that crazy person, all prevent me from doing so. That’s why I’m going to convince you to adopt a shelter pet. But not just any shelter pet; no, you should adopt an adult.

Before I say any more, I’m going to admit that I’m a hypocrite. My boyfriend and I adopted a kitten two years ago. I was open to getting an adult, but he had never owned a kitten. And I couldn’t deprive him of the joys that come with kitten rearing.

But there are also many positives to owning a fully-grown cat or dog.

Limited training necessary

I’ve never raised a puppy, but word on the street is that training can be difficult and time consuming. Kittens are a little easier as far as potty training goes; stick them in a litterbox once and they’ll always go back. But with both animals, you’ll need to work on establishing rules and keeping them from destroying your apartment. Don’t have time for that? Adopt an adult! They already know the basic rules, and you can always teach them more if necessary.

*Bonus: You may end up adopting a cat that’s already declawed. Your furniture is guaranteed to be safe, and you won’t have to feel guilty about removing kitty’s claws.

Looks and personality are established

Watching puppies and kittens grow up can be surprising. Their coloring might change, and they may end up larger or smaller than expected. While this wait-and-see can be fun, sometimes it’s good to know what you’re getting right away. Along with looks, you’ll also know what the animal’s personality will be like. Many shelters assess the personalities of adult animals and are able to give you a good idea of what your new pet will be like once you bring it home.

*Bonus: If your dog or cat has a weird quirk, you can tell people that they must have picked it up from the previous owner.

Not as big of a commitment

OK, this one is a little morbid. Don’t judge me for adding it to the list. With a puppy or a kitten, you’re looking at 10-20 years of pet ownership. That’s a huge commitment, especially for someone in their 20s. Most 20-somethings aren’t sure what they’ll be doing in two years, let alone 15. Depending on how established you are and how well you handle commitment, you might be better off adopting a pet that will be around for fewer years.

*Bonus: You’re making it possible for an older animal to live out its final years in a loving home rather than in a cage.

Less expensive

Adopting a kitten can cost you over $100. A puppy? You’re looking at about $300. These little guys are the money-makers for shelters. If you want to save a little cash, adopt a fully-grown animal. Adult cats are only $25 at the shelter I volunteer for. Dogs are about $100. That’s about a 70% savings just for adopting an animal that’s been alive for longer than a year. It’s like waiting to buy the latest gaming system instead of rushing to the stores as soon as its released. Now that’s being a smart shopper!

*Bonus: Adults go on sale! Well, I’ve seen cat sales, anyway. If you wait for a sale (usually in the summers), you can adopt a totally loveable, vaccinated, awesome, already-spayed-or-neutered cat for just $5. What a steal!

(Pricing varies slightly based on shelter location. Check with your local humane society.)

You become a hero

Kittens and puppies are usually in and out of a shelter within a week. But cats and dogs can be there for months. While they are well taken care of, a shelter is still a stressful environment. These animals would be much happier in a loving home. So give them that chance! In the world of job-hunting, cats and dogs are the recent college grads competing with experienced puppies and kittens (which are coincidentally less-experienced). No one will hire the adults! But you can be the person who does. You can give an adult a great opportunity.

*Bonus: You aren’t only adopting a wonderful animal, but you are potentially saving its life.

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2 thoughts on “Be a hero: Adopt an adult

  1. I really want to adopt or foster an older dog! But I had a trial run where I brought my dog from home to live with me for a few weeks and I’m just not home enough so it becomes unfair for the poor pup 😦 I’ve been seriously considering getting a cat instead now and this may have just put me over the edge…

    • Yes! You should do it! Our cat always has to be the center of attention and gets mad at my boyfriend and I for not playing with her (she is very vocal), so I often feel bad about leaving her home alone, similar to your dog from home that you tried to have live with you.

      But there are plenty of cats out there that are more low-key and don’t mind spending the day napping in solitude. If you’re gone a lot during the day, the plus side with cats is that you don’t have to worry about letting them outside to go to the bathroom.

      Good luck with your decision!

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