CAMDEN—Peanut, a Calico-colored senior cat, had a good life for 15 years until her owner died this year. She landed at PAWS Adoption Center in Camden, where she now lives.
“I believe family members tried to keep her after that, but it wasn’t working out as a long-term solution,” said Tabitha Lowe, PAWS Development Director. “So, we’re really hoping to find someone soon, because we don’t want her to live out the rest of her life in a shelter.”
Peanut, who is blind, is otherwise healthy. She was initially bewildered and anxious with all of these recent transitions to find herself in a shelter.
“She was definitely nervous, like a lot of animals are, when they come in,” said Lowe. “She was used to her owner’s voice and touch and now, everything is still so new for her. But she’s very trusting. Once she hears the tone of your voice and if you extend your hand, she’ll get up and rub against you. She’s a very sweet girl.”
Global interest in pet adoptions surged in the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced people to stay at home for much of the last year and a half, according to a 2021 study.
“We have been seeing a steady number of adoptions and definitely a lot of people coming in this past year looking for their perfect ‘Covid buddy,’ ” said Lowe.
However, according to research conducted by Pets for Seniors on why older people might have a hesitancy to adopt an older animal, reasons included: potentially higher expenses for older animals, fear of how to care for the animal if the adopter had an extended hospital stay, and concern over what would happen to the animal if the senior citizens reached a point where they could no longer care for the pet.
Nationally, there are a number of Senior-to-Senior programs, matching senior citizens with senior animals. PAWS has a special Senior Pet Adoption program called the Wilkalas-Batch program to ease the initial financial burden.
The adoption fee is reduced by 25 percent for anyone more than 65 years old when adopting a dog eight years and older and a cat 10 years and older. (Personal and veterinarian references are still required for all adoptions.)
There are also a number of national pet financial assistance programs for any pet owner, not just seniors, who are on a limited financial budget, but who can still provide a forever home for an animal. Many of these funds and programs help cover routine veterinary care, emergency services, and adoption expenses.
“Peanut, like most cats, is a social creature who wants to belong to part of a human ‘pack,’” said Lowe. “The best environment for her would be a quiet home, not with other animals or children, but with an owner who is willing to be patient. She also needs a home that is easy to navigate since she makes her way around by sounds.”
November is National Adopt a Senior Pet month and here are more resources on Pet Finder on how to care for one, including “Ten Reasons Senior Cats Rule.”
Let’s hope Peanut finds her forever home before then. To contact PAWS. visit: pawsadoption.org/services
Kay Stephens can be reached at email@example.com