More than 90 percent of member shelters surveyed by Petfinder report having animals who have been there for a long time. Most of those are "less adoptable" pets, who typically wait nearly four times longer for a home than an average pet does — sometimes more than two years.
So Petfinder started the Adopt-A-Less-Adoptable-Pet Week campaign to raise awareness about the fact that special-needs pets are just as wonderful and loving as "normal" pets, and that they’re just as deserving of forever homes. This year’s campaign starts next week.
What makes a pet less likely to be adopted? The most common reason by far is age. According to the Petfinder survey, 24 percent of shelters say they have long-term residents who are senior or older pets. Considering that a cat is considered a senior at age 7, and an indoor-only cat who’s well cared for can live to be 15 years or even quite a bit older (my Siouxsie is 16 and she’s still in very good health), it’s pretty unfair to pass by these “old” cats.
Pets with behavioral needs are also left behind more often than not. Behavioral problems happen to be the most common reason cats are relinquished to animal shelters. It can be difficult to handle problems such as inappropriate elimination or fighting with other cats; I know this from experience. But it’s important to give these cats a chance. They deserve a loving family who will help them heal from whatever trauma has caused the behavior.
Fearful or shy pets as well as pets with medical needs have a hard time finding homes. Again, I understand — I recently adopted a "two-fer" in that department — but if you have the time, patience, cat knowledge, and resources to provide a forever home for one of these special felines, you will have a friend for life. Sometimes they’ll even change the course of your own life.
If you’re not ready to adopt a less adoptable cat, please share this story and encourage your friends and family to share it as well. Let’s help get some of these less-adoptable cats find wonderful families who will love and care for them and do everything they can to get those cats the veterinary and behavioral care they need.