It’s hard for many would-be adopters to resist puppies and kittens. Older animals awaiting adoption are often overlooked when the cuteness factor of a young pet (puppy breath!) outweighs a gray muzzle. For shelters and rescues with older pets, try these 10 tips to tout seniors.
Waive (Or Reduce) Adoption Fees
At the SPCA of Texas, adoption fees for pets ages 7 and up are waived for adopters who are 65 and older. Animal Care Centers of NYC offers a “Seniors for Seniors” program that helps select pets over age 6 for people 60 and above, with fees waived.
Optimize Online Searches
Hundreds of shelters offer search filters by age range for adoptable pets. At Charleston Animal Society, would-be adopters can search online by “oldest” (or youngest) animals first. A recent “oldest” search prioritized 6 available animals ages 8 and up.
A Business Proposition
Is there a business in your community willing to sponsor a senior pet by providing for that pet’s food or medical needs? Find out! At Kentucky Humane Society, sponsorships of animals are welcomed to offset costs of food, shelter, and vet care. Cat Topia, which builds custom outdoor cat enclosures, donates 1% of its sales in New Mexico to the Santa Fe Animal Shelter and 5% of each sale that is referred by the shelter.
Bring Them Up To Date
Get your senior pets updated physicals that include blood work, urinalysis, vaccinations, heartworm testing, dentals and/or mass removals if needed. The Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago provides every adopter with 15 days of post-adoption care at their clinic if medical conditions were undetected at the time of adoption.
Use senior pets as the face of a campaign or donation drive. This gives them added exposure and can also help raise funds like the Kentucky Humane Society did for Bear, a 15-year-old shepherd mix.
Have Fun with Puns
Brainstorm promotion ideas using puns and witty prose. Vintage Days? Love Is Ageless? Senior Moments? For a black-and-white senior cat named Oreo, the Dane County Humane Society in Madison, WI, included the following text in her description: “It's a black and white case: I'm great, and you're seeking a great cat. Case closed. Need further proof?” No matter how corny or clever, puns and clever copy could capture someone’s attention.
Put Their Best Face Forward
Get quality photos and videos that showcase your senior pets’ personalities so adopters can envision interacting with that animal. At Gateway Pet Guardians in East St. Louis, IL, all animals are professionally photographed before being made available for adoption.
Canvass veterinarians in your area who provide quality care to adopters taking on senior pets or if they will offer discounts. The Humane Society of North Texas provides adopters with a list of participating veterinarians who offer free exams to all newly adopted pets.
Older pets have many advantages. They don’t require as much supervision and maintenance as younger animals. They’re often better behaved, house-trained, and know basic commands. Their personalities are already developed. What you see is what you get! Tons of shelters promote older animals on their websites’ home pages and in traditional media and social media posts. If you haven't, give it a try!