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Adopting a Cat from an Animal Shelter

Updated on June 13, 2008
A beautiful grey and white cat adopted from a local shelter.
A beautiful grey and white cat adopted from a local shelter.

Adopting a cat from an animal shelter is a great way to find a loving companion. There are several steps you may have to go through before you can take your new friend home.

1. Visit your local shelter a few times before making a decision. It's easy to pick the first cute kitten that stares at you from between the steel bars of its cage and decide that it is "the one", but pet ownership is a serious commitment that requires some thought. If you find a cat that catches your eye, take some time to get to know it while it's still in the shelter. Ask the shelter staff some questions, get as much information as you can. And be sure to handle your pet and observe how it reacts to you and to any other members of your family.

2. Once you have chosen your new friend, be prepared to do some paperwork, and perhaps have a formal or informal interview. Different shelters have different adoption policies, so don't hesitate to inquire about what needs to be done to be eligible to adopt.

Here are some common questions that you may need to answer:

"Will your cat be an indoor or outdoor cat?"

"How much do you anticipate spending on your cat in one year?"

"How many hours a day will your cat be left alone?"

"Where will your cat stay if you go on vacation?"

An important question that is sometimes asked is whether you own your home or rent. Many shelters are now requesting letters from landlords to say that they approve of pets in their buildings. This is to avoid the possibility that you will have to return the cat when your apartment building has rules against pets.

3. Be happy to pay the adoption fee. Yes, it is often cheaper to get a kitten from a friend, or from the farm outside of town, but paying to adopt a cat from your local animal shelter helps to support the many beneficial services the shelter provides, such as reuniting lost pets with their owners.

4. Congratulations! You've been approved to adopt your cat! A few things you will need to buy before bringing your new cat home: food, food dish, water dish, litter box , litter, and scratching post. Have these items set up in the appropriate places before you go to the shelter. Also, buy a nice animal carrier and remember to bring it with you when you pick up your new friend.

5. Enjoy your new cat! Cats are warm and interesting pets that provide many years of joy, amusement, and love. Tell all your friends about your amazing new cat and remind them that animal shelters across the country are overflowing with beautiful pets that just want a new chance to have a happy life.

Take a moment to read over this post, Introducting a New Cat into Your Home, to learn more about what to expect when your furry friend comes home for the first time.

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