Adopting a Cat From a Shelter

Animal shelters bear the consequences of reckless breeding practices, the failure of pet owners to responsibly spay and neuter their pets and the heart-wrenching acts of neglect and abuse. In addition, abandoned pets and strays are taken in at a rate that often exhausts the capacity of the shelter. Reputable animal shelters deserve our attention and financial support.

It is advantageous for a cat lover to adopt a pet from a shelter. Shelters offer a wide array of companion pets for all sorts of individuals and families. While animals receive adequate care in a shelter, nothing compares to the everyday comforts of a warm and loving home.

Adopting a cat at a shelter is the best possible way of ensuring the mutual satisfaction and love that both the pet owner and the pet deserve. In addition, cats in shelters have developed personalities that allow a person to more accurately choose one that will best suit one’s lifestyle. It’s tempting to want to start with a kitten. However, in addition to the unexpected inconvenience, chores and energy of dealing with a kitten, there’s no guarantee that the ultimate personality will suit your lifestyle or home situation. Contrary to your first inclination, kittens are not the best choice for young children. A cat that is at least one year-old offers the best chance of giving a young child a positive experience with their first pet. Mature cats are much easier to care for, and more predictable in their behavior. Shelter workers are genuinely interested in helping you find the right cat for your personality, demeanor and home situation, and will assist in helping you make a wise decision and investment.

Adopting your cat from a shelter is also substantially more economical. A majority of shelter cats are of a mixed-breed, without the inherited health issues many times associated with particular full breed cats. Shelter cats are usually spayed, neutered and vaccinated. Special discounts are often available for spay or neuter programs if your cat is adopted at a young age. You can also adopt a set of cats that have bonded, or litter mates at a lower price. This is often a very rewarding experience that enhances the quality of life for the cats, as well as the companionship one ultimately enjoys. The price of adoption can vary. Certain shelters ask for approximately $100 for a cat, but it can be substantially less. In addition to spay and neutering, the adoption fee from a reputable shelter will usually include vaccinations for distemper and testing for both feline AIDS and feline leukemia. The average cost for feline AIDS and leukemia treatment is $45-$75 for each disease. Spaying or neutering can run up a bill of $45-$90 and vaccinations typically cost $150-$300. Adopting a cat from a shelter not only relieves the burden of overcrowding that many shelters experience, but it’s obviously the more cost effective choice.

If one is insistent about a particular breed, the selection at a shelter includes most every breed at one time or another. In addition, there are many organizations that specialize in the rescue and adoption of specific breeds. Most of these can be located online or by referral of your local shelter. The employees and volunteers of the shelter want what’s best for the cat and will work together to help you find the best possible match.

Shelters are in special need during the spring and early fall seasons. These are the breeding seasons, and shelters are generally overrun with kittens that need homes. If you’re an experienced cat owner, capable of the responsible ownership of a kitten, and committed to the life-long care of a cat of uncertain personality and health, a kitten can be a very rewarding and enjoyable experience.

To locate an adoption center in your area, check your phonebook or with a local veterinarian; or contact the Humane Association of the United States. Millions of cats who do not get adopted are humanely euthanized annually in the United States. By taking a feline companion into your home, you will be saving a life, and making room for other cats to have a chance of living a full life in a nurturing environment.

Remember: pet ownership is a life commitment. Consider the long-term care and expenses of the cat, and be willing to accept the difficult times as well as the memorable experiences and priceless companionship your cat will return to you.

Finally, support local and national shelters as well as the many organizations that provide badly needed services and ensure the humane treatment of our valuable animal friends.