The Paw-fect Pets for Later Life, Revealed.

  • Cats are revealed as the overall best pet for people in their senior years
  • The best cat breeds for later life are Ragdoll, Siamese and Maine Coon based on the cost, friendliness and ability to be around other pets and children
  • When it comes to dogs, the Pug came out on top, followed by the West Highland Terrier

We’re a nation of animal lovers and this obsession with pets isn’t bound by age. Pets of all kinds can make the perfect companions for elderly people, but there are a few extra considerations needed when becoming the proud owner of a pet later in life.

There’s a lot of evidence backing up the benefits of seniors owning a pet, like their impact on our mental health. A survey by The National Poll on Healthy Aging revealed that 86% of pet-owners aged 50 to 80 said their pets made them feel loved and 88% said that their pets helped them enjoy life.

Take a look below for an in-depth breakdown of the considerations needed when deciding on a pet in later life, as well as the best pets and breeds for seniors based on different requirements.

To determine the best pet for elderly people, Lottie considered a series of metrics and can reveal the top pet from each category and the results are in. 

Which pets and factors were considered?

The pets analysed were cats, dogs, indoor birds, guinea pigs, rabbits, domestic fowl, fish, turtles and snakes. To determine which pet came out on top, an individual score (from 1 to 10) was granted to metrics including the cost of keep, the best pets to support mental health, neediness and ease of care to create an overall score.

Cats take the crown as the perfect pet for seniors 

With a score of 29, it was cats who are deemed the most suitable pets for seniors, narrowly piping their rival counterparts, dogs (28). Cats scored highly on ease of care (8) and best pets for mental health (9).

When it comes to different cat breeds, there’s a lot to consider too. The Ragdoll cat was the winner, scoring in the top two scores in all factors apart from allergies. Next, there was not much to separate between Siamese, and Maine Coon. All of these scored top scores on friendliness and how good they are with children. You can take a look at the full breakdown and graphic of which cat breeds are best for older people at the bottom of this press release or on the campaign page here.

Dogs came in 2nd

With an overall score of 28, dogs were just one point behind the title spot. Of course, not all dogs are appropriate for elderly people with a broad range of personalities across the breeds. Dogs scored highly of course for best pets for mental health with a top score of 10. Dogs however can require a lot of attention, meaning they scored 6 for ease of care.

Pugs came out on top as the best dogs for seniors scoring high with a favourable energy level and love required. The next best, which all scored similar to each other, were Cavaliers, Poodles and Poms. The dogs we deemed the least suitable for seniors are Yorkshire Terriers and the Queen’s favourite, Corgis. You can take a look at the full breakdown and graphic of which dog breeds are best for older people at the bottom of this press release or on the campaign page here.

Indoor birds and guinea pigs are the 3rd best pets for older people

Scoring high on ease of care (7) as well as support for mental health (6), indoor birds can make brilliant companions for elderly people. Birds such as parrots make excellent ESAs (emotional support animals) because of their ability to mimic human speech and their tendency for empathy.

Joint 3rd with birds are guinea pigs. Whilst the small furries do need cleaning regularly meaning the ease of care scored low (6), they’re affordable pets that show affection and can make a great companion.

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Lottie is a comparison website allowing potential residents and families to find the perfect care home, but for this study, they’ve analysed a series of metrics to determine what the paw-fect pet is for those in their senior years. You can find the full piece here.