Back in November, a grant from the Seattle Animal Shelter Foundation (SASF) helped market senior dogs and cats in celebration of National Adopt a Senior Pet Month. All cats and dogs over 6 years were $15 plus applicable license fees and 23 pets (14 cats and 9 dogs) were adopted during this effort.

There are many benefits to senior pets, and here are a few insights from folks who chose to adopt a senior.


  • From one cat-savvy adopter: “Older cats are smarter; they learn more the longer they live.”
  • From young parents: “We trust an older, mellow cat to interact nicely with our toddler.”
  • From a busy couple: “We work all day. She is fine by herself and then very happy to see us when we come home.”
  • From a senior human: “His age approximates my own, and we will be there for each other.”
  • From someone who knows: “Seniors are easy! Playtime with a kitten or young cat can be exhausting!”
  • From the parents of teenagers: “Our girls really wanted a cat. They will be leaving home in a few years, so a senior kitty made perfect sense.”
  • From good Samaritans: “Not as many people choose them. It makes me feel good to help a senior cat.”
  • From a man who was smitten: “I saw a photo of her online and thought she was adorable. She’s a sweet old gal and I’m an old guy who was looking for a companion.”

For additional senior support and for those older animals in need of special care, SAS also partners with other organizations in the Seattle area. For senior dogs, Old Dog Haven has a great reputation and are skilled and experienced with seniors. According to Amanda Tattersall-Craft, supervisor of Animal Care at SAS, the shelter usually sends no more than five dogs a year to Old Dog Haven.

For cats, Emerald City Pet Rescue, Meow Cat Rescue and Center Valley Rescue are go-to partners and these organizations will sometimes take on cats with medical issues who by default tend to be senior cats.

“The shelter has fairly established relationships with all of these groups and I typically reach out to see if they have space or availability to take on a special needs animal. Old Dog Haven always works as quickly as possible to find space for one of our senior dogs. Sometimes we send the animal to foster care first which gets him/her from the shelter to a more peaceful home environment and allows the receiving organization time to make a plan of action,” said Tattersall-Craft.

A dog currently in foster/hospice is Tula, a large German Shepherd mix, and she’ll stay with an SAS foster family while her progress is assessed.

For additional senior support, SAS has a new cat fospice (foster hospice) program underway with funding from SASF. We’ll have more to share this summer on this.

If you’re interested in supporting a senior animal through fostering, please complete the SAS online volunteer profile and select foster dog or cat program.