Guest Contributor: Kendle Frank, Marketing Intern 

Far too often, senior pets in our shelters wait to find new homes for much longer than their younger counterparts. Some people tend to focus on the perceived challenges of adopting a senior, rather than the loyalty and rewarding companionship that older animals can bring. For Sarah and Keanan, however, adopting a senior cat named Basil has been anything but challenging. In fact, adoption day was just the beginning of happiness.

Hoping to give an older pet a loving home, Sarah and Keanan came to the Dumb Friends League with their heart set on Basil, a sweet, 13-year-old black cat whom they had seen online. “When we asked [about her], we were told that she was one of [the League’s] ‘longest stays,’ and that in her nearly three months at the shelter, nobody had asked to see her,” Sarah said. “As soon as we heard that, we knew we were going home with her.”

Because Basil struggled with fear and anxiety during her shelter stay, our Behavior team enrolled her in three of the League’s specialized behavioral programs for cats in need of extra support: Kitty Comfort, Cats N’ Clickers, and Feline Fortitude. Although she was very shy during her initial adoption consultation with the couple, Basil quickly warmed up in her new home and began showing off her silly, social demeanor. According to Keanan,

Within a week or two, we felt like we started to see her full personality. She likes to play occasionally but is otherwise content sleeping all day and cuddling with us at night.

With the support of her new family and ongoing resources from the League, such as our online behavioral resource library, Basil transitioned into her new environment with ease and showed everyone that senior pets are more than capable of learning, growing, and sharing so much love. Unfortunately, many older animals, like Basil, are underestimated for a variety of reasons, the majority of which are rooted in stereotypes and misconceptions. Often calmer, easier to care for, and more predictable than younger animals, senior pets just need someone to give them a chance to prove how devoted and loving they truly can be.

For Sarah and Keanan, the benefits of providing a caring home to an older animal in need are endless. “Older cats – not to mention black cats – often get passed over for younger kitties … it was nice to take in a cat who is mostly interested in sleeping and cuddling, has already been litter-trained, is not too fussy with food, and is [very] well-behaved,” Keanan said.

At 13 years young, Basil is happily living her golden years snuggling with her favorite humans, making new friends, and occasionally indulging in her favorite frozen treats. Once a timid and fearful cat, she has blossomed into an affectionate companion who is thriving with her new people. “Basil is the perfect addition to our little family,” gushed Sarah. “She sleeps on us at night, wiggles around on the couch for belly scratches every morning, and is the low-maintenance, highly adorable companion of our dreams!”

Are you ready to open your heart and home to a new furry friend? Consider adopting a senior in need! Every Tuesday, we offer a “Seniors for Seniors Adoption Special,” in which fees are waived for people 65 years or older who adopt any pet 8 years or older.