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Shelters face challenges adopting out aging animals

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WISH) – Their histories can be heartbreaking; stories of abandonment, sickness and replacement fill many of the cages at the Humane Society for Hamilton County.

The same can be true of other shelters like it that take in more animals than are adopted on a given day.

Many of those furry residents are considered “seniors,” or animals that are seven years and older.

According to HSHC’s manager of community outreach, Maggie Owens, aging animals are often surrendered due to their owner’s health, inability or interest in caring for the pet.

“Every person they’ve ever known, every home they’ve ever known just get taken from them,” Owens said. “They get depressed. They stop eating. They kind of lose the personality that they had. After time, with a lot of rehabilitation, and we spend as much time as possible trying to help them – they develop that back in most situations but some of those older senior animals start to give up because they’ve been given up on.”

One such animal was given a second chance in January when Caitlin Catellier of Noblesville specifically sought out a senior cat.

Catellier adopted “Melissa” a 12-year-old cat that had been surrendered after her original family got a kitten.

“I just wanted one of the cats that was hard to adopt,” Catellier said. “They’re still active. They still have lots of life left and I feel like they appreciate you so much for rescuing them that they’re so loving toward you.”

HSHC uses resources like social media and online postings to encourage more families to realize the reward possible through animal rescue.

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