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Adult cats and dogs are heartbreakingly overlooked at animal shelters, as families are understandably drawn to wide-eyed puppies and kittens. As lovely as it is to welcome your new family member when they’re small, there are some advantages to adopting an older pet which you may not have considered.

1. They’ll come house trained

As a rule, cats are meticulous about hygiene, but they still need to learn where to do their business (and most importantly, where not to!). The same goes for pups. Toilet training a youngster takes a lot of time and patience, and a few accidents along the way, but an adult pet will already know where not to go.

2. They often have better manners

Older dogs and cats with more life experience will be better socialised than a puppy or kitten, and more used to being around people and other pets. They’re also often a lot more patient with kids! Furthermore, what you see is what you get – an adult pet will come home with their fully developed personality, so you can choose a companion with a nature that best suits your own.

Also, do not forget that adopted pets have been vet checked to ensure they are in good health before going to a new home.

3. They make for relaxing company

Puppies and kittens require a lot of time and energy – not only with exercise and play, but also clearing up after a chewing spree, or a case of ‘the zoomies’ that mysteriously correlates with a few of your favourite house plants going flying! Of course older dogs still need to be walked, but pets who are getting on in years will often enjoy more sofa snuggles with you, making them the perfect companions for chilled-out people.

4. They still love to play

Just like humans, pets are as young as they feel! An adult dog will still love to chase a ball around the park, and older cats will still jump at the chance to chase a string with you. You’ll find an adult pet is just as loveable, full of personality – and often just as hilariously silly – as a young one.

5. Older pets are the most in need of love

An older pet who finds herself in a shelter is likely to have been someone’s much loved companion whose owner was no longer in the circumstances to look after them, such as if they have moved into a residential care home or hospital. Of course, many elderly pets may have had elderly owners, and it’s lovely to think that you could provide the home for an older animal who may have outlived their beloved owner.

Rescue centres can be scary and challenging places for older pets, and although we don’t like to think about it, if they can’t find new homes, they may tragically have to be put down. Adopting an older pet and giving them all the care and affection you can will transform their life, and the love and gratitude you get in return will probably transform yours.