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5 cat adoption tips

Each day in the US, animal shelters struggle with overcrowding, and many euthanize pets that cannot find forever homes. Fortunately, you can help ease this burden by adopting a cat or kitten from a local shelter.

If you want to provide a forever home to a shelter cat in need, there are a few things you may want to consider.

1. Do your homework. Before you set out to adopt a cat or kitten from a shelter, you might want to do a little research, especially if this is your first cat. Cat breeds differ in size, temperament, and care needs. For example, if you want to keep grooming needs and hairball cleanup to a minimum, you may want to go with a short-haired breed. Or if you want a gregarious chatty feline companion, you may want to consider a Siamese or Burmese.

By researching various cat breed characteristics online, you can make more informed choices about the cat you adopt.

2. Talk to shelter workers. The technicians, vets, and volunteers who work with shelter animals daily can be a great source of information when you’re looking for a pet to adopt. Workers will know at least a little about each cat’s history (such as its general health, disposition, and history). This info can help you decide which cat would be the best fit for your home and family.

3. Consider adopting a senior cat. Traditionally, kittens are more adoptable than adult cat, and senior cats are at the greatest risk for being euthanized as unadoptable. Senior cats offer some advantages you may not have considered. Senior cats:

  • Are (almost) always litter trained
  • Have had all their vaccinations
  • Usually socialized (around humans and other pets)
  • And have long outgrown the destructive kitten phase

You can make a difference in a senior cat’s life and ensure that the animal’s final years are filled with love and caring.

4. Make your home cat-friendly. Pet ownership is a serious responsibility, and shelters are keen to ensure that each pet they release goes to a good home. So be sure your home is ready to receive a cat before you head out to adopt. That means you’ll need (at minimum) a litter pan, food and water bowls, a collar (or implantable microchip), a healthy cat food, and some toys to keep your new arrival amused. You also might want to spend some time cat-proofing your home by removing potential hazards and temptations like dangling electrical cords or expensive shelf art.

Editor’s Note: Bringing home a new cat can be an exciting experience for the entire family. To best prepare for kitty’s arrival, keep this list of cat care items and needs in mind.

5. Be aware of your responsibilities. Most shelters will give you a brief medical history of any cat you adopt—including shots, prior health conditions, and spay/neuter history. They’ll also want to know that you will continue to provide for your new pet’s health. So, if you don’t already have a family veterinarian, shop around and find a vet in your area.

Some shelters offer programs that allow you to bring your adopted pet back to the shelter for immunizations and spay/neuter procedures, while others will expect you to obtain those services from a private vet. Be sure you understand your responsibilities before you adopt.

Pet insurance can make the entire process of caring for a new pet easier. By reducing the financial burden of caring for an ill or injured pet, a pet health insurance policy may ensure that your pet will always receive the care it needs and that you’ll have the peace of mind you deserve.

June is national Adopt a Shelter Cat Month, a time when organizations like the ASPCA and American Humane highlight the plight of shelter cats and encourage responsible adoptions from the public.


Cecily Kellogg is a pet lover who definitely has crazy cat lady leanings. Her pets are all shelter rescues, including the dog, who is scared of the cats. She spent eight years working as a Veterinary Technician before becoming a writer. Today she writes all over the web, including here at Figo.

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