While puppies and kittens are the first adopted, other pets may wait months–or years–in shelters due to no fault of their own. To shine a spotlight on these pets that are often overlooked, Petfinder developed Adopt a Less Adoptable Pet Week.
When is Adopt a Less Adoptable Pet Week?
Every year, Adopt a Less Adoptable Pet Week takes place in the third week of September. In 2022, the pet awareness week created by Petfinder will occur September 19-25.
Adopt-A-Less-Adoptable-Pet was first launched in 2009 after recognizing that approximately 95 percent of shelters and rescue groups have a harder time finding homes for certain pets.
Which Pets are Considered Less Adoptable?
“Every day, families walk into shelters or visit Petfinder.com and, perhaps unconsciously, bypass some adoptable pets simply because of the way they look, their age, or because they have a condition such as blindness or deafness,” said Betsy Banks Saul, the co-founder of Petfinder.com.
Pets that often fall into this category include:
- senior dogs and cats
- dogs with mange
- dogs with heartworms
- dogs with chronic conditions such as epilepsy or diabetes
- blind or deaf pets
- “pitbull-type” dogs
- shy dogs
- black dogs and black cats
- feral cats
- pets with birth defects
- cats with ringworm, FLV or FIV
Our Own Personal “Less Adoptable” Story
Through the years, we’ve adopted many dogs and cats that might be considered “less adoptable.” Irie had mange. Inca and Ochi had ringworm. Perhaps, though, none was less adoptable than Felix.
Felix was a feral cat; he’d been trapped by animal control and resisted any human contact. He was just over six months old when we first saw him and brought him to our home.
Felix wasn’t adopted, as some ferals are, as a barn cat or an outdoor cat. All of our cats have always been strictly indoor cats so Felix would be no different.
It wasn’t an easy transition. Felix’s first interaction was to slap Paris with a paw whose claw span seemed impossibly wide for a cat (we didn’t accidentally adopt a bobcat, did we??) He then promptly ran and hid in the back of the closet for over a week, coming out only at night when everyone was in bed.
Little by little, leaving a trail of treats like breadcrumbs through the house, we got Felix to leave the security of the closet. He’d start to peek at us from the most distant room in the house. Maybe he saw us sitting and watching TV with the other cats, maybe the other cats told him all was OK, but slowly, slowly, Felix started working his way closer to us. After several weeks without direct contact with him, he started edging closer to check us out and finally one day he let us touch him. Over time, a touch became a pet, a pet became a purr.
When Irie and Tiki came into our lives, we were worried that a cat who had once had to make his own way would never accept a dog. We couldn’t have been more wrong.
Felix didn’t just accept the dogs, he became a dog buddy. He played with them.
He slept with them.
And, most of all, he just hung out with them.
Because that’s what family does.
If you’re at a shelter, please take a second look at those less adoptable pets like Felix. Once won, their love is all that much sweeter.
It just takes time, patience, understanding (and a good supply of treats). It’s a small price to pay for the difference you can make in a pet’s life!