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Adopting a Kitten on Long Island, New York: My Experience

Updated on February 5, 2021
Catherine Stolfi profile image

Catherine Stolfi has a Master of Science degree and enjoys sharing experiences related to expanding awareness on particular topics.

Rescued from Kent Animal Shelter, Tyrion
Rescued from Kent Animal Shelter, Tyrion | Source

When looking for a new member of your family, it’s important you know the best way to begin your search. There are many more adoption organizations than the ones I have listed here, however, I’ve personally visited these facilities and can provide my experience with them. This list ranges from rescue organizations in western Nassau County to those out in Riverhead in eastern Suffolk County.

A wonderful facility and arguably the most popular on Long Island is the North Shore Animal League located in Port Washington, NY. This animal shelter is large and ever expanding. They have a wide range of outreach programs including an adoption bus that travels around to different events and locations on Long Island for adoption events and fundraisers. They have a separate kennel from the facility that holds felines and have a huge number of animals at different age levels. Many animals are still in care here and not yet available for adoption since a large part of this facility is a care and rehabilitation center. However, you will find cats ranging from tiny kittens close to three months old to adult cats.

The most popular day for adoption is Saturday and you need to arrive early if you’re serious about adopting that day. The facility places yellow cards on cages when an animal is reserved. If you see a cat or kitten that you’re interested in, simply get the attention of a volunteer and they will reserve them for you. You will need to fill out some paperwork and answer a few questions. The league specializes in same day adoption so expect to be there close to three hours so the volunteers can verify your references while you wait.

The only downside I’ve found is that many of the kittens on the floor go quick… very quick. I arrived late afternoon on a Saturday and found yellow cards on every cat cage. This is great for the animal league that is desperately trying to find homes for these animals but disappointing if you were hoping to leave with an adopted animal that day. You may want to consider a smaller rescue in cases like these of which there are plenty on Long Island.

Kitten Waiting for Adoption at the Local Petco
Kitten Waiting for Adoption at the Local Petco | Source

In eastern Huntington is a great rescue, Little Shelter Animal Adoption Center. It’s located on a small road north of the LIE but has a lot to offer. Their facility has both dogs and cats but also special programs such as dog training on site. The building dedicated only to felines in this shelter has cats ranging from newborn kittens to adults and senior cats, but with more of the latter. The shelter also accommodates same-day adoption but may not for some of the smaller kittens if they still have vaccinations scheduled. You can have all of those questions answered during your visit from one of the many workers at the facility. I never felt like I was searching for someone to answer my questions or concerns.

The older cats are roaming the different cat rooms in the facility but the small kittens are in a “clean room.” They are separated from the older cats for mostly health reasons and vaccination purposes. You can play with the younger kittens but prepare to suit up as if you’re walking into a surgeon’s room. They equip you with a hair cap, booties to cover your shoes, and hospital-type gown for your clothing.

A wonderful facility, and where I ended up finding my little boy (kitten), is Kent Animal Shelter in Calverton, NY. They house both dogs and kittens but have a separated structure for their felines. The older animals are, again, wandering the adult cat room. You can walk through this house designed to accommodate walking up to and interacting with all of the cats on site. The younger kittens are in a separate room and range from newborns to close to one-year-old kittens. You can get a lot of great information from the main office at this facility as many kittens are still in foster and not yet brought in. They will have photos and information on all kittens that are available in foster homes.

Last, but not least, there are many kittens available in the local pet stores sponsored by small, local, non-profit rescue organizations. These stores include Petco and Pet Smart and include organizations like Last Chance Animal Rescue and Compassionate Action, Inc. At these facilities you may not be able to adopt same-day but you will be able to visit them at your leisure since these stores have longer hours than most rescue shelters. If you come at the right time, you may find someone that works for the organization coming in to care for the pets. You can ask them any questions and they can usually provide contact information and explain the adoption process.

However you found your new kitten, be sure to visit one of these rescues that could use the adoption fee collection to continue to care for the animals at the facilities and rescue strays in this area. It doesn't feel like I rescued my kitten, who is now one year and three months old, it feels like he rescued me.

© 2013 Catherine Stolfi


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