Pets are a window to our soul.
"Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet"...Pets help seniors fight loneliness, stay active, feel needed, and maintain better health. But it's important to carefully match the companion animal to the senior, so before adopting, consider the senior's lifestyle and limitations. A pet can be great company for people of any age and any walk of life. The best pet for an elderly person is the one they want, can take care of, and can afford.
There is a powerful bond between animals and humans. They enjoy a mutual, deep bond and connection that is hard to explain or define, but it doesn't make it any less real or tangible. Many people have learned the benefits of having pets. And a pet of any kind, whether it's a cat, dog, horse, lizard, or bird who feels loved and secure, will bring great joy to their human.
Cats seem to have the personalities and temperaments that could make adopting a moggie a golden choice for a senior in their golden years. Senior citizens and senior cats can make for a great combination, enhancing both mental and physical well-being.
The little kitty or puppy that lights up your face or the older person’s has real needs like a human baby and older folks can’t take on the responsibility for training a puppy and walking them in all kinds of weather or cleaning a litter box, or scrubbing a birdcage, for example.
Health benefits of having pets
If the senior does not get outside regularly then a cat might be a great pet. Cats can be indoor pets exclusively and do not need daily walks. Choosing the best pet for a senior citizen requires a few considerations including-
Dogs and cats are go-to choices for pets for seniors because they offer companionship and can typically roam on their own around the house, versus a bird, rabbit, or lizard, for example.
Dogs make great pets for seniors because, in addition to therapeutic companionship, they offer good motivation for seniors to get outside and exercise (dogs require at least 30 minutes of walking and exercise daily), as well as security, and as needed, hearing assistance. Dogs are loyal to a fault.
Cats might be an easier alternative for a pet for seniors with mobility issues who simply can’t walk a dog 2 or 3 times a day. Cats also offer companionship, are more low-energy and low-maintenance than dogs typically, and can take care of rodents and pests around the yard if they are outdoor-trained.
I would opt for the cat. It is small, quiet, does not require any everyday care other than food and water, and keeps very good company. Cats actually behave like dogs in many aspects but people seem not to know this. A cat will follow you everywhere in the house, will come and sit on your lap, and will communicate with you vocally. The only extra task that it requires, is cleaning the litter-box.
There's the cost to adopt or purchase an animal and then the cost for care (food, toys, medical bills, etc.). Shelter adoption costs vary from place to place, but many have special programs in place to encourage adoptions. Many people enjoy traveling with their dogs, but hotels usually charge a pet fee per night or the entire stay. Companion animals enrich our lives and offer unconditional love. They can help seniors stay active, social, and healthy. Here’s why a senior cat can be a great pet for a senior citizen.
3.Fewer training needs or demands for adaptation
4.Reasonable appetite than kittens, and are happier to be left at home alone
5.Senior cats are usually litter trained
A small dog could also be the best pet for seniors; a small lapdog is a good option if they are active or have help. However, dogs need walks and not all senior people are able to walk them, let alone in bad weather. They also need baths. A dog will stay with you almost all of the time, a cat will only sit with you when it wants to and will be out doing what a cat does for part of the day. A gentle cat like a rag doll would be good. In any case, a plan should be in place for care if the senior can longer care for the pet. Many small dogs and cats live 15 plus years so there is a real risk of a displaced pet that will be hard to rehome.
The Canaries, budgies, etc are always there to watch and hear but require cleaning out regularly and you don’t always get that physical interaction. Indoor rabbits are comical but need a lot of cleaning up after and careful feeding. Not quite the same as a cat or dog, chickens in the garden. Comical and affectionate as they grow to know you but require daily cleaning up after and they will destroy your lawn. Pick one that is a great fit for lifestyle, food, health issues, and costs. If the senior does not get outside regularly then a cat might be a great pet. Cats can be indoor pets exclusively and do not need daily walks.
Animals find joy in the simplest, smallest things. They have no need for excuses or pretense, they are only ever being themselves. Their buoyancy, resilience, devotion, determination, and optimism are infectious. They go to sleep unencumbered by daily worries and wake up every morning with a clean slate, ready to take on the world with fresh eyes and spirits.
Research has revealed that the bond between people and their pets increases fitness, lowers stress, and bring joy to their owners. Some of the many benefits of having pets are that people enjoy:
- Decreased blood pressure
- Decreased cholesterol levels
- Increased opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities
- Decreased triglyceride levels
- Decreased feelings of loneliness
- Increased opportunities for socialization
( Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Getting to know how pets can help you to stay healthy is surprising!
Despite the monotony and tediousness, a surprising statistic reveals that more than 65% of households shelter a minimum of one pet. Sheltering pets is an expensive hobby and according to a study, owners spend more than 50 billion on their pets. If you travel frequently, factor in the costs of boarding or pet-sitting services. Many people enjoy traveling with their dogs, but hotels usually charge a pet fee per night or the entire stay.
While retirement might free up your time to be able to care for a pet, the costs associated with owning pets can quickly add up and tap into that retirement account. Pet food, vet bills, litter, boarding costs for when you travel - keep all these things in mind when choosing the best pet for your Golden Years!
Pet always greet their owner with slobbery wet kisses as he or she returns home after a hectic day. It is an extremely comforting experience. Interacting with a pet seems like a stress relief antidote for the majority of people, at the end of the day.
In a few minutes’ interactions with a cat or dog or watching fish swim will make you feel calm and relaxed.
Overall, avoid the temptation to get a pet for a senior because they need companionship. It’s true that pets are great companions. However, a failed pet selection will just make the senior feel worse. It’s important to think through the choice at the outset so that it is a successful match.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Tuli Banerjee