People who come to shelters seeking to adopt a cat are typically looking for a kitten. And why not? Kittens are cute and their antics bring joy to even the most hardened of hearts.
But what of the adult cats? The black cats? The FIV-positive cats? The elderly cats?
A recent Petfinder survey reports that 96% of its shelter and rescue groups have adoptable pets for whom they are having extreme difficulty finding a home.
Thirty-three percent of the adoption groups said they’ve had pets who were posted on Petfinder for 1-2 years without being adopted, and 27% had pets who have waited more than two years for a permanent home.
In response to this challenge, Petfinder has designated September 19-25 as Adopt-A-Less-Adoptable Pet Week.
By far the hardest pets to find homes for are senior pets and pets with medical problems.
Cats are technically considered “senior” when they reach the age of 7 or 8. But a well cared-for indoor cat can live as long as 18, 19, or even 20 or more years.
Shelters also have difficulty finding homes for cats with the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) or those with disabilities such as cerebellar hypoplasia, blindness, or missing limbs.
“There’s also a ‘big black cat syndrome’! Hard to believe, but many people are still biased against black cats, especially if they’re big,” reported one of Petfinder’s shelters.
Petfinder is encouraging people to help promote less-adoptable pets online. Bloggers and others who have websites can add a customized widget to their websites, for example.
Be The Change for Pets offers some other suggestions to help homeless pets who often get overlooked, among which are: Find a less-adoptable pet in your area to champion; write a blog post, Facebook post, or tweet; or, if you’re not a blogger, write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper or use their template press release to spread the word.
“Give them a second chance, give them a second glance,” say the Be The Change Challenge organizers.