Animal Rescue USA

Yep..mapping 4,000 rescue organizations in the USA (inc. Alaska and Hawaii). Please click on pink markers for details – move + zoom. Controls using keys: To zoom in use the “+” key. Zoom out use the minus key. To move the map use the arrow keys. Hold the key down to move the map fast.


As Google terminated the software to create this map and as I found it too hard to fix it before termination I have created a spreadsheet as an alternative. Sorry that it’s not a map but it may actually be better. Hope you find it useful nonetheless. As there are over 4k listings the scrolling may be a bit juddery.

Please scroll down. It is alphabetical. And please scroll right using the bar at the base of the spreadsheet as you can see more of the spreadsheet including phone numbers. Note: things change.

Note: This is believed to map almost all of the animal rescue centers, organisations of all kinds in the USA. It is a unique map at Jan 2012. The main idea is to map animal rescue USA so that people who want to adopt a rescued animal can readily find the location of the nearest facility. However, the locations of what are probably offices of animal rescue and humane organisations are also mapped. These may come in handy but are secondary to the stated purpose.

I would hope that there is a good level of accuracy in the mapping. It took a lot of effort to produce this. However, there is no doubt that there will be errors. I would like people to tell me about the errors. You can do this in one of two ways. Click on one of the links below if you have the time and the inclination. I hope that you do as it will help cats and other animals that we consider to be family members who need a home. As the map is concerned with all animal rescue USA, animals other than cats are involved.

 – Update: see animal rescue sanctuaries of the Republic of Ireland mapped.

If you are thinking of adopting a purebred cat that has been reliquished and being cared for at a foster home, the following page sets out a number of links that might assist: purebred cat rescue. The first choice in adopting a cat should be from a rescue organisation of some sort as there are too many unwanted cats that are killed. I should think that you are aware of that.

Animal Rescue USA – Tips and Tricks

calico rescue cat

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats
This article concerns cats but the same principles will naturally apply to all animals. I realized that the best advice of choosing a shelter pet and shelter tips comes from my own experiences and not online research. The only research I would recommend a future cat owner to do is to decide which breed they would like and whether to adopt a cat or a kitten. Other than that, just trust your instinct and ask a few questions when you get to the shelter.

Call Shelter: The first thing I would do the day before adopting a cat or kitten (besides having food bowls and a litter box set up) is to call the shelter. I would ask what time of day is best to visit the shelter. This way I won’t be arriving during staff meetings or at a time that’s inconvenient due to volunteer shortages, cleaning or exercising the dogs. I want to come when someone has time to assist me should I need help. I always take a carrier with me when adopting a cat. No matter how calm a cat may appear in a cage, this is not the time to give it freedom. The last thing you want is to have a cat go berserk in your car or escape as soon as you arrive home and open the car door. If possible, strap the carrier into the front seat of your cat with the cat facing you, but not so close the claws could scratch you while driving. This discourages you from trying to keep a visual on your new baby by looking in the back seat.

Shelter Rules: Most of the shelters I’ve dealt with for adoption had no problem with me going into the adoption room alone. Make sure you know the rules and don’t break them. Many shelters now have a playroom where the cat can be taken from the cage. Some may forbid any contact other than petting the cat through the cage. Personally, I’ve been scolded on many occasions for opening the cage and cradling the cat just to see the reaction I get. I’ve often found I’m the only one the cat has ever allowed this close.

Cat Behavior: The first thing I look for when I get into the adoption room is friendliness. I either want the cat to come up to the front of the cage to be petted, or at least be alert if laying in the back of the cage. Don’t disregard a cat just because it’s laying near the back of the cage. Invite the cat to come forward for a neck rub. Some cats are just shy. I find it very easy to choose an adult cat. The cat should be calm or at least only a minimum of bad behavior such as hissing or growling. It depends a lot on whether the new cat will be around young children as to how much distress I’m willing to manage.

My rescue Gizzy was the queen of bad behavior. She could spit, slap, hiss and growl at the same time. After spending several months teaching her love and trust, she’s one of the best cats I’ve ever adopted. Kittens are a bit more difficult to choose. Do I get the calm quiet one sleeping in the back of the cage or the one having a fit to be let out of the cage? That’s a difficult decision. A calm kitten may just be sleepy or it may be ill. An active kitten may be super hyper or have a lot of feral in it. I would recommend you hold a kitten to get a better idea of its temperament.

Cat Health: Most kittens put up for adoption are in fairly good health. They are tested for FIV/FeLV before being put up for adoption in most trustworthy shelters and this will be printed on their cage information card. If a cat isn’t tested before being put on the adoption floor and tests positive for either condition you have a decision to make.

rescue catIf you have no other cats at home it is all right to adopt a positive animal. Just keep in mind the life of that cat may be shortened by the disease and you may be spending a lot on vet bills. Most pet insurance will not cover a cat with a positive diagnosis for any future illnesses the disease may cause.

Test: My biggest test in choosing which cat I want to adopt is to actually hold the cat. I cradle it in my arms (natural position please-NOT the time to give a belly rub!). My perfect cat will lay there and purr and allow me to stroke it from the back of its neck down its back, stopping a few inches from the tail. I pay close attention to the eyes. They should be bright and clear with no discharge. The nose should also be clean. I’m usually brave enough to check the gums to be sure they are a bright pink. If they are gray or almost white, that’s a sign of anemia.

Again, this can be dealt with at home, but you should be aware of the health issues before you adopt. Eye or nose discharge may be a simple URI or it may be panleuk (feline distemper) and your new kitty could be dead by morning. Anemic kittens may also die suddenly. Also check for missing patches of hair. This could signal anything from flea dermatitis to ringworm. Ringworm is VERY common in shelters these days.

Vaccinations/spaying and neutering: Once you’ve chosen your new cat, be sure to find out what vaccinations were given and when a booster is needed. If your new cat has just been spayed/neutered, you’ll received a sheet with post op instructions. Males recover much faster than females. Females must be kept in a place when they cannot climb for several days or they could damage the incision area.

I would like to give a little personal advice on cats who have been spayed just before adoption. Most of the time a long acting pain injection is given before you take kitty home. There is a lot of controversy on whether a cat should be sent home with additional pain medication. Many vets will explain the lack of pain meds will deter the female from being too active because she will be in pain. I’ve never had pain medication sent home and that’s with over 60 cats now.

My advice is this. This shelter tip refers mainly to female cats. If a cat has staples instead of the glue, which seems the preferred method to close the incision, ASK FOR PAIN MEDS! This is a much more traumatic operation. So is a glued or sutured incision more than 1 1/2 inches. Most of the time it results from the mother cat being pregnant or in heat at the time of the surgery. These cats are in VERY serious pain. If the shelter refuses, contact your personal vet and explain the situation.

Should the incision begin to separate, drain or bleed-contact a vet or the shelter immediately. Our cat Lola had a very small incision, which started to open three weeks after surgery. We called the clinic that performed the operation and took her in for a simple re-gluing.

You may also be given a round of antibiotics if your cat has a fever after the spay/neuter. Make sure to give the entire round as antibiotics, especially Clavamox, go bad within  a week or so. A cat needs to finish all medication just as a human would. Male cats recover almost immediately and rarely have complications. Your cat may be sent home with a cone head. Um…good luck with that one. Cats hate them and you’re going to feel sorryfor the cat. Use good judgment in removing it. It’s been put there for a reason. To prevent injury to the incision.

At Home: So now you’ve gotten home with your new cat. If recovering from surgery, I suggest you set up a box in a bathroom. Have food, water and litter box close by. I usually keep a cat penned in at least three days to give it time to heal and recover from the shelter experience in general. If you have other cats at home, please keep the new cat quarantined at least 10-14 days just in case it has some illness that hasn’t shown up. Panleuk can kill a cat overnight and if you expose other cats to it, there’s a chance even with vaccination they can catch it and become very ill or even die. I do have a different method than many in handling a new arrival who doesn’t have medical restrictions and doesn’t need to be quarantined since this is your only cat.

I like to use a bedroom. Set the litter box and food and water up in a corner near the head of the bed. This is because should you awaken during the night and see the cat, it may be frightened of you. Some of our new cats have called under the bed “home” for several weeks as they became accustomed to things. Even if your new cat purred in your arms at the shelter, it may decide to live under the bed for several days. Do NOT force this issue. Running from one side of the bed to the other isn’t going to speed up the process. I truly believe many cats are returned to the shelter prematurely due to the impatience of the new owner. Sometimes we wake up in amazement to find the new kitty in the bed the day we bring it home! My best shelter tip-everything must be done on the cats timetable.

A new cat should be given a minimum of several months to adjust to a new home. Some cats are very slow to trust. Think of what your cat may have gone through before you brought it home. This article on my personal shelter tips covers from the shelter to the first days at home. Does anyone have anything to add? I know we’ve all had different experiences and it would be good to educate those who want to adopt a shelter cat, but have little or no experience with cats. I realize I didn’t go into safety issues and general hazards. That would have taken up quite a bit of time. Enough to write a book, actually.

NOTE:The photograph above showing Lola’s incision illustrates how something that may seem minor requires a vet visit. I emailed this photo to the clinic and they got back to me right away to bring her in. Keep the idea of digital photography in mind in case you need to contact your vet with something similar.

Difference between Shelter cats and animal cats

The difference in choosing a shelter cat and a rescue cat is the environment and the time taken with the animal. Rescues are more likely to treat a cat as a family member, giving it plenty of freedom and love as they evaluate it for a future home. A shelter will stick a cat in a cage. There may be some attention paid to the cat, but there are so many animals it’s not guaranteed. If a shelter cat becomes ill it will be put it a room with other sick cats or euthanized. A rescue cat will be quarantined, but it will be given a lot of attention and nursed back to health. While you will likely pay more
for a rescue cat, you will have a much better idea of the cats preferences on everything from food to whether it will get along with children.

Cat Rescue Adoptions

Cat rescue adoptions handled through a legitimate cat rescue are very different than going to your local shelter. The cost to adopt a cat is usually significantly higher, but the old saying “you get what you pay for” definitely applies here. A rescue doesn’t necessarily have to have a 501c3 to operate a good and successful rescue. The main benefit of a 501c3 is that donations made to these rescues are tax deductible. They also lend more credibility to the rescue. Still, there are many excellent private rescues who don’t have this.

Advantages: One advantage to cat rescue adoptions is the extra information you can obtain about a cat. Many times the cat has been with the rescue for several weeks, if not months. This gives a rescue time to better access the personality of the cat. You’re not as likely to be surprised as you may be with a shelter cat whom no one has had time to observe for behavior problems. Rescue cats are also usually fed only a certain brand of food. Shelter cats may be fed whatever happens to have been donated that week. Their diets may be changed often and problems with diarrhea or vomiting may not be logged anywhere. These problems are rare with a rescue adoption. Any food allergy problems are usually handled and correctly long before the cat goes to a forever home. You may even be told what foods/treats/toys are your future cats favorite things in life.

Disease: Cat rescue adoptions also take a lot of the guesswork about having to quarantine
for infectious diseases such as panleuk. Their cats are quarantined when the cat first enters the rescue. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the same precautions once you get the cat home. Just that chances are much more likely you’re getting a very healthy cat. Most of the rescues I know of have a cage free environment. Either the cats are allowed to roam free in several rooms of the home or a separate building is on property for the cats to have their own dwelling. This is attended several hours a day by someone on staff so the cat gets used to being around loving humans.

Check: Be sure to check out a cat rescue organization very carefully before you adopt. Understand the adoption contract and make sure you get a copy of it. The rescue should be agreeable to take the cat back should the adoption not work out. Find out if ownership is transferable to a family member should you move out of the area and not be able to take your cat to your new home? Be sure you understand what’s allowed and what isn’t. You should also be prepared to provide vet references as well as a letter from your landlord stating a cat is allowed (without the necessity of declawing) where you live. This is standard and is done for the protection of the cat.

Rabies: You should also get a copy of the rabies certificate and any vet records the cat has up until the time you adopt. Even if the cat has been ill, this information is invaluable because you will know the nature of the illness and what drugs were used to treat it. Check out a rescue in person. The environment should be clean. It may be cluttered, but the food, water bowls, litter boxes, floor and counters should be clean. A good rescue knows the importance of daily disinfection. If you go into a dirty rescue, turn around and leave.

Medicals: A good rescue makes sure no cat is adopted out without being spay/neutered, tested fro FIV/Felv, up to date on vaccinations and microchipped. All of these benefits are why the cost to adopt from a rescue versus a shelter may be as much as 25% higher. The difference you pay more than pays for itself in what it will save you in future vet bills. I recommend cat rescue adoptions
for the reason this opens up a spot in the rescue to pull another death row cat. This cat will be saved from euthanasia and carefully nursed back to health and evaluated to ensure the forever home it eventually goes to will get a cat every bit as wonderful as the cat you just adopted from them.

My Mia was recently adopted out through Abby’s Rescue Angels in upstate S.C. The adopter had to pass the above qualifications concerning whether a vet believed the adopter would be a good cat parent. She went to a loving forever home and was winning over her new mama the first day by staying in her lap. Abby’s Rescue Angels was able to tell the adopter that Mia was great with other cats (the adopter has one other cat), as well as around dogs. Mia would also probably do well around children. This information just isn’t available for shelter cats up for adoption. Shelters are so busy and understaffed they don’t have the time necessary to get to know each cat personally.

Whether you adopt from a shelter or a rescue, remember you will have your cat for MANY years to come. Knowing as much about your cat as possible before the adoption will benefit everyone. Especially the cat! Rescues, is there anything I’m leaving out here? Please comment with tips or additional info I may have left out.


Animal Rescue USA — Elisa runs her own cat rescue operation and has years of experience dealing with rescue cats.

Animal rescue USA to home page.

2 thoughts on “Animal Rescue USA”

  1. Many of these listed for the USA are so-shelters that kill the cats and dogs after a short period of time. They are not rescues.

    • Thanks Carol. This map was generated automatically from a huge number of addresses associated with cat rescue. I say “associated” because I don’t know how good or bad etc. they are. It would be impossible to create a 4,000+ marker map doing it by hand and checking each one.

      Thanks again though for your input which I really appreciate.


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