Here are twelve reasons why it is better to adopt a cat from a shelter provided some sensible precautions are taken. I’d always have either your vet check out the health of a cat to be adopted or ensure that the cat is certified as been all clear in respect of the big feline diseases such as FIP, FeLV and FIV plus clear of the usual infections: URIs and UTIs.
- The first and biggest reason is that you are adding to the sum total of cat welfare. Shelter cats need homes. They already exist, whereas when you buy from a breeder the breeder is creating cats. Bringing cats into the world when there is already an excess is taking away from the sum total of cat welfare because in adopting a deliberately created cat, one shelter cat is likely to lose his life (euthanised).
- When you don’t adopt from a shelter you might be buying a kitten from a pet shop. Pet shop cats are deliberately bred, often in unpleasant conditions. They can be unhealthy. When buying from a pet shop you are not only failing to save the life of a shelter cat you are promoting the unethical breeding of kitten mill cats and promoting unhappiness amongst cats due to illness.
- When you adopt from a shelter you have a lot of choice. Choice is good in face to face meetings because the shelter cat can get involved in selecting you and you can get to know the shelter cat’s character. This results in a better chance of a successful relationship.
- A good shelter will have procedures in place that ensure that your adopted cat is in good health and vaccinated, spayed or neutered, immunized, dewormed, microchipped etc.. You know what you are adopting.
- If you adopt a purebred kitten from a breeder you don’t know for sure what you are getting in the long run. Purebred cats are on balance less healthy than random bred cats. The healthiest cat is probably the 1-5 year old black moggie. You’ll find one at a cat shelter. (note: there are purebred cat rescues as an alternative).
- Adoption fees from shelters are cheaper than the purchase price of purebred cats.
- Long term health is an important decision in adopting a cat. Pet shop cats and purebred cats are likely to cost more in vet bills in the long run than adopting from a well run shelter. I stress, however, that the shelter should be well run because shelters are potential breeding grounds for the spread of contagious diseases.
- If you rule out pet shop cats (as you must), there are far more shelters than there are purebred cat breeders. As it is important (if we are honest) to actually meet your future cat companion before you adopt, it should be easier from the point of view of travel times to adopt from a shelter.
- There is a selfish reason for adopting a cat from a shelter. Let’s be honest when we do something good there are two reasons for it (a) we are doing something good (b) we feel better about what we have done. It boosts our self-esteem and makes us more content.
- A shelter cat might have gone through a difficult phase in his life (abandoned by his owner) and he has been stuck in a shelter for a while (shelters aren’t the best of places for a cat). He’ll be relieved to be in a decent home, your home, this will make him more accepting of a new place and he should settle in, in fairly trouble-free way especially if he is an older cat.
- Shelters staff are more likely to be objective when providing advice and help in selecting a cat as there is no financial profit involved as opposed to commercial enterprises such as pet shops and purebred cat breeders.
- Appearance is often the number one criteria in selecting a cat followed by personality. You might like calico cats (tortie and white) or a sleek grey cat. You might like a quiet cat or an active cat. You have more chance to find what you are looking for from shelters than breeders and shops because of the wider range of coat and personality types.
Can you think or an 13th or 14th reason? Any success stories in comments are welcome.