5 Things to Consider Before Adopting a Shelter Cat

Adopting a pet cat from an animal shelter is a great choice, but be sure to ask questions to ensure you're making a wise decision.


Cats bring joy and happiness into people's lives every day. 

People can bring that same sense of joy to a cat by adopting a homeless one from an animal shelter.  Animal shelters always house plenty of sweet kitties and cats in need of good loving homes on any given day.  These abandoned or lost cats lay in their cages all day waiting for a nice owner to come to take them home.  The less time a cat spends living in a shelter, the better chance it has of staying healthy.  

Aside from the relief, you would bring a cat by taking it to a loving home, adopting from a shelter will also bring relief to your pocketbook.  If you can’t or don’t want to afford a $300 pet, rescuing a sheltered cat is a great money saver.  Most shelters charge a minimal adoption fee (we’re talking significantly less than $100).  Most of the cats that have come under their care have been given medical examinations, vaccinations, flea, and tick treatment, and most of them get spayed or neutered during their stay as well.  The adoption fee you pay does not even cover all of those fees, and if you don’t adopt from a shelter you’ll pay those fees on your first vet visit.  So if you are looking to own a new cat, consider adopting a needy one from a nearby shelter.  

When you go to a shelter to look for a cat or kitten there are a few things to think about before you let yourself fall in love with an irresistible cutie.  Be sure to talk to the shelter worker or volunteer to find answers to the following questions before you adopt them.  

1) Was the kitten a stray or did the owner voluntarily bring it in?  

2) If the cat was handed in, why did the owner surrender their pet to the shelter?  This is an extremely important question to have answered.  Some pet owners who never imagined they could give up a pet might find one to be so hard to live with that they feel there is no choice but to give up the animal.  For example did the catfight with other animals or people?  Did it find alternatives to a litter box all over the house?  Are its medical needs so exorbitant that the owner could no longer afford to care for the cat?  Sometimes, there is nothing wrong with the cat at all, but something just wrong with the owner’s situation. For example, some people might be relocating to a place that does not allow pets.  Or perhaps the owner was moving in with a person who is allergic to cats.  No matter what the reason is, if you can find it out, do so.  It will help you make a wise decision that both you and the cat will be happy with for the long-term.

3) Has the animal undergone behavior testing?  Sometimes, if you don't know anything else about the cat, you can at least learn about its current disposition to find out if it will make a suitable pet for you.

4) If the cat has medical or other problems, find out the cost and extent of special care the animal will need from a shelter worker to determine whether you are willing and able to give the animal what it needs.

5) If the cat has special conditions, will those conditions prevent it from living a long life?  Most people just don’t want to invest emotionally or financially in an animal that won’t be around to reward you for the next ten years.