How to Adopt a Cat at an Animal Shelter

How to Adopt a Cat at an Animal Shelter

So you’ve found the perfect cat online and are ready to visit the animal shelter and meet the cat in person. To have the best adoption experience and, indeed, adopt the ideal cat for you and your family, there are some things you should and should not do. Here’s how to adopt a cat at an animal shelter and get the most out of the adoption process. When visiting an animal shelter to adopt a cat, it’s essential to take a thoughtful and responsible approach to ensure a successful adoption.

Things to do during the process of adopting a cat:

  1. Research and Prepare:
    • Research different cat breeds and their characteristics to find a good match for your lifestyle.
    • Prepare your home for a new cat by cat-proofing and getting the necessary supplies.
  2. Set Realistic Expectations:
    • Understand that cats have different personalities. Be open to meeting cats with various temperaments.
  3. Ask Questions:
    • Ask shelter staff about the cat’s history, behavior, and medical records.
    • Inquire about the cat’s age, vaccinations, spaying/neutering status, and known health issues.
  4. Spend Quality Time:
    • Spend time with the cat in a quiet area to learn their personality.
    • Observe how the cat reacts to petting, play, and handling.
  5. Consider Compatibility:
    • Consider the age, activity level, and personality of the cat in relation to your own lifestyle and preferences.
    • If you have other pets, inquire about the cat’s compatibility with other animals.
  6. Ask About Socialization:
    • Inquire if the cat has received socialization and how they interact with people and other cats.
  7. Plan for Veterinary Care:
    • Plan for a veterinary check-up shortly after adoption to ensure the cat’s health.
  8. Discuss Adoption Policies:
    • Understand the shelter’s adoption policies, including fees, contracts, and return policies.
  9. Consider Adoption Fees:
    • Be prepared to pay adoption fees, which often cover vaccinations, spaying/neutering, and other initial medical expenses.
  10. Adopt Responsibly:
    • Adopt a cat when you are ready for the long-term commitment of pet ownership.
    • Ensure your living situation and future plans are suitable for a cat.
  11. Provide a Safe Carrier:
    • Bring a secure and well-ventilated cat carrier to transport your new cat safely.
  12. Be Patient and Compassionate:
    • Understand that shelter cats may have had difficult experiences. Be patient and compassionate as they adjust to their new home.
  13. Understand the Adjustment Period:
    • Recognize that cats may need time to adapt to a new environment. Provide a quiet and safe space initially.
  14. Purchase Necessary Supplies:
    • Have essential supplies ready, such as litter boxes, food, water bowls, toys, and scratching posts.
  15. Complete Adoption Paperwork:
    • Fill out adoption paperwork accurately and provide any necessary documentation.
  16. Follow-Up with Veterinary Care:
    • Schedule and attend follow-up veterinary appointments as needed for vaccinations, spaying/neutering, and wellness checks.
  17. Offer Love and Patience:
    • Be patient and understanding as your new cat settles into their new home.
    • Provide love, attention, and socialization to build a strong bond.

By following these steps and adopting a cat thoughtfully, you can ensure a smooth transition for both you and your new feline friend.

Things not to do during the process of adopting a cat:

When visiting an animal shelter to adopt a cat, it’s equally important to know what not to do to ensure a positive and responsible adoption experience. Here are some things you should avoid:

  1. Don’t Rush Your Decision:
    • Take your time to make an informed decision. Rushing can lead to adopting a cat that may not be the right fit for your lifestyle.
  2. Don’t Ignore Compatibility:
    • Don’t adopt a cat solely based on appearance. Consider compatibility in terms of temperament, energy level, and needs.
  3. Don’t Skip Questions:
    • Ask shelter staff questions about the cat’s history, behavior, and medical records. Informed decisions lead to successful adoptions.
  4. Don’t Neglect Social Interaction:
    • Don’t ignore spending time with the cat. Social interaction helps you understand the cat’s personality and whether it matches your expectations.
  5. Don’t Disregard Existing Pets:
    • If you have other pets, don’t introduce a new cat to your home without considering their compatibility. Ask the shelter for advice on introducing animals.
  6. Don’t Ignore Allergies:
    • If you or a family member has allergies, don’t overlook this when adopting a cat. Spend time with cats to check for allergic reactions before adoption.
  7. Don’t Forget About Veterinary Care:
    • Don’t neglect to schedule a veterinary check-up after adoption. Ensure your new cat is in good health and up-to-date on vaccinations.
  8. Don’t Disregard Adoption Policies:
    • Respect the shelter’s adoption policies, including fees, contracts, and return policies. Ignoring these can lead to misunderstandings.
  9. Don’t Overlook Supplies:
    • Don’t forget to have essential supplies ready at home, such as litter boxes, food, water bowls, and a safe space for the cat.
  10. Don’t Adopt Impulsively:
    • Avoid adopting a cat on impulse. Make sure you’re ready for the long-term commitment of pet ownership.
  11. Don’t Assume Immediate Bonding:
    • Don’t expect an immediate bond with your new cat. Building trust and rapport may take time.
  12. Don’t Neglect the Adjustment Period:
    • Don’t expect your new cat to adapt instantly to their new environment. Be patient and provide a gradual adjustment period.
  13. Don’t Skip Responsible Ownership:
    • Don’t forget your responsibilities as a cat owner, including regular feeding, grooming, and providing proper care.
  14. Don’t Skip Licensing and Identification:
    • If required in your area, don’t forget to license your cat and provide proper identification, such as a collar with an ID tag and a microchip.
  15. Don’t Ignore Behavior Issues:
    • If your cat exhibits behavior issues, don’t ignore them. Seek guidance from a veterinarian or animal behaviorist to address any concerns.
  16. Don’t Disregard Safety:
    • Ensure your home is safe for your new cat by removing hazards and providing a secure environment.
  17. Don’t Neglect Socialization:
    • Don’t isolate your cat from social interaction. Gradually introduce them to family members and other pets in a controlled manner.

By avoiding these common pitfalls, you can make an informed and responsible decision when adopting a cat, leading to a successful and happy adoption experience for both you and your new feline companion.