It's a Process, but It's Worth It in the End

Do you think adopting a cat is easy? It’s a five-stage process, and you’re not always the one calling the shots. All adoption centers and pet shelters have different adoption procedures, however, the general steps are the same.

When adopting a pet, be ready to be scrutinized. After all, many cats that end up in the shelters have already suffered, and pet centers usually try to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

You need to be careful when looking for a legitimate place to adopt a cat. Respectable centers take good care of cats. They sterilize, vaccinate, and treat them to make sure you are adopting a healthy pet.

The Cat Adoption Process

Choosing A Cat For Adoption

Meeting your future family member is always exciting and a bit scary. Most adoption centers and shelters make it easier by posting photos and short histories on their websites. You can browse the pets and choose the ones you like best.

Then you need to set up an appointment with the shelter or find out about their visiting hours. Once in the adoption center, you can play around with the cat of your choice. Remember, cats are capricious animals. Unlike dogs, they don’t run to their potential owners, wiggling their tails. Cats may act suspicious, and look stiff and wary.

Filling out an Application

Once you choose an animal, you need to fill out an application. The adoption centers match the owner to the animal. It’s unlikely that the center decides that you are not suitable for the pet you’ve chosen. However, based on the information in the application, they might suggest another cat.

Some centers don’t accept applications sent over email, so it’s better to fill out the application on the spot, sign, and submit it immediately.

Going Through an Interview

Some centers and shelters may request an interview in addition to the application. The interview is not long, but together with filling out the application and waiting time, you should expect to be in the shelter for at least two hours.

Pay a Fee

Adoption fees are usually quite small. In many shelters, you’ll be paying more for kittens than for adult cats. In some cases, the kitten fee may reach $100. The majority of adult cats won’t cost you more than $10. The money you pay helps the shelters and adoption centers function.

Taking the Pet Home… Or Not

In the majority of situations, you’ll be taking the cat home right after paying the fee. However, some centers dig deeper. They need to do a background check and/or visit your home to make sure it’s suitable for a pet. This may take a few days. In any case, you’ll be getting your new pet within a week.

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How to Find a Good Place to Adopt a Cat

When looking for a respectable shelter, check the reviews. You can find them on Yelp or ask around. Since you’ll be finding most of the shelters on the internet, you can check if they have a good website. A respectable center will have all the information about its pets and licensing available online.

The employees/volunteers at the shelter should be polite and ready to answer all of your questions. If you have doubts about the integrity of the shelter, choose another one.

How to Choose a Cat at the Shelter

Before browsing the websites and visiting shelters, you need to ask yourself a few important questions:

  • What type of cat are you looking for? Do you need a purring, fluffy fur ball that needs everyday attention? Or perhaps you need an independent animal you can leave alone for hours?
  • Do you want a cat or a kitten? Kittens are lovely and cute, but they need training, and you can’t guess their character. They are more expensive, too. Kittens require plenty of attention, while cats are calmer and more independent. When adopting an adult cat, you have much more information about its nature (habits, liability to diseases) than when adopting a kitten.
  • Do you have small children? Young kids may be aggressive toward a cat without realizing it. Small kittens often suffer at the hands of small children so an older cat may be a better choice.
  • How much time can you dedicate to your cat? Kittens and affectionate adult cats need a lot of attention. Leaving them alone for the whole workday may be out of the question. Calculate your free time before getting a pet.

Once you answer the above questions and choose potential cats on the website, you can go to the shelter. When you go in, don’t go straight to the cat you’ve chosen. Walk by the cages and see how the cats react. If one of them shows immediate affection, give it some consideration. Adult cats rarely show emotions. If they do, it means you may have a great relationship.

Spend some time alone with the cat you’ve chosen. How does it react to you? Does it start relaxing after a while or become stiffer? Before picking it up, allow the cat to smell your clothes and fingers. Act as if you are allowing the cat to choose you, not vice versa.

Try to pet the cat and see how it reacts. If the first reaction is hissing and biting, the cat may not be a right choice for you, especially if you have little kids. If the cat cringes away, allow it some time to get used to you.

Ask the shelter staff as many questions as possible about the cat. Learn everything about its background, medical history, habits. This information is vital to making the right decision. Perhaps, the staff can give you some important advice on how to handle a particular cat.

Adopting a cat is an important decision and a tough process. It will go smoothly only if you are serious about taking good care of an animal.