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Take a chance on a golden oldie

Older cat Charcoal enjoys snuggling up on her comfy bed

Don’t write them off – there’s life in the old pets yet. In fact, they could be just what you’re looking for in a new companion…

Charcoal is lying on owner Elaine’s bed when we pop round to see her in her new home. She’s tucking into a lunchtime snack and is enjoying it so much that she doesn’t notice the strangers that have come to take her photo.

At the grand old age of 18, Charcoal suddenly needed us to find her a new home. She had lived with the same owner since she was a kitten, but sadly they could no longer care for her and called on us to make sure she had the best chance of finding a loving new home.

Charcoal is 19 years old now and we’re catching up with her just over a year after she went to live with Elaine Willingham.

Elaine said: “When I read the story about how she’d lived with the same person her whole life, I thought ‘poor little thing’. All she knows is this one place, one home, and she must have been so bewildered to leave. It just broke my heart and I knew I couldn’t leave her like that.”

Senior kit-izen

Cat Charcoal with her new owner, Elaine
Charcoal was given the gift of a new home at age 18, by Elaine

Elaine says it was love at first sight between her and Charcoal, despite the senior kit-izen’s years. “I reached in to give her a fuss, and she just erupted into the loudest purr. She is so little bother; she doesn’t create mess, she’s so, so clean, and I don’t have to worry about her going out near the road because she likes to stay inside.”

Charcoal is one of the lucky ones. She was only in our care for 26 days before Elaine gave her the precious gift of a home, but on average older pets take much longer to rehome.

While it takes just days to find a new home for a kitten, adult cats tend to wait well over a month on average for a new owner to come along.

It’s a similar story for dogs too. While we have waiting lists for pups, Adult dogs stay with us for 33 days, and even longer if they’re senior.

Lisa Kent, an Welfare Assistant who cared for Charcoal at our Lewknor rehoming centre in Oxfordshire, said: “Rehoming an older pet is often much easier than taking on a youngster. Their personalities are already developed so you know exactly who you are getting and they are generally much calmer.”

No regrets

So would Elaine encourage others to take a chance on an elderly pet?

“I thought if I give her a home and she only lives for six months, its six months of love and affection, and after 18 years of being with one person, she deserves another shot. I would recommend taking on an older cat.

If you’re looking for a pet that’s going to be happy to let you love them, then you want a Charky. I don’t regret a day.”

— Page last updated 8/09/2016