Shelter Cat Adoption: Where and How

August 18, 2012 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Cats

Shelter Cat Adoption

You often hear about people who have kittens they are giving away or kittens that are on display in the pet store, but what about adopting an older cat from a shelter? Here are some things you need to know.

The Cold Hard Facts

There are two types of shelters: regular animal shelters like the Humane Society, and kill shelters. We have all heard about the former. These are places where animals go when they lose their homes to due to disinterest or death of the owners. Some advertise on television and in flyers that there are cats that need a loving home available for adoptions.

Kill shelters are often referred to as “open admission” shelters. Unlike the Humane Society, these shelters take all strays that are picked up off the street. Because of this, many cats are not in the shape that they need to be to attract the eye of someone looking for a cat. And, when the shelter gets full, residents who have been there the longest are put to sleep. It is an almost guaranteed death if the animals have been there for several months or longer.

Finding a Shelter Cat

The good news is that you can find a shelter cat that needs adoption pretty easily. Finding one that is compatible for you and your needs might be a bit harder.

Search online. The internet is great for locating a shelter cat who needs a good home. If you are looking for a cat with specific qualifications (minimal dander, older cat, disabled, certain breed) you can save yourself a lot of legwork by letting your fingers do the walking first. And while it is a good idea to search online, it is not so good to buy your cat this way, sight unseen.

Visit a local animal shelter or pet store. Here, you can interact with the cats to see which one is best for you. If you have other animals in the home, they can also get a glimpse of their potential new companion before you bring them home. If the cat has any issues or you notice something about them, you can ask questions right then.

It may take a few visits to find the cat that you want. Don’t despair. Always bring a cat carrier with you so you have a way to house your new pet if you find him. And, have a veterinarian lined up who can examine your cat before you bring him home. Shelters or pet stores may have history on your cat so you will know what shots or treatments they have already had.


There are a few things you will need to have to adopt a shelter cat, so be prepared. First, you will be charged a fee. The fee amount depends on the age of the cat and if any services are performed for the cat before you take them home.

Secondly you will need proof of age and residence. They want to know that the cat is going to an actual home. Other information will be taken so they can follow up with you.

Receive post-adoption instructions. You may be given fact sheets telling you how to care for your pet and what you need to make them comfortable in their new home.

Adopting a shelter cat is a noble deed. You are saving a life so choose wisely.


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