I am sure that a very high percentage of shelter cats ready for adoption are clear of all health issues. However is it fair to say that a small percentage do have a health issue of some sort which has been missed by the shelter staff? Although, it must be said that shelter cats are routinely spayed, neutered, immunized, dewormed and microchipped.
A page of questions to ask the shelter when adopting. It may not be complete. Please add to it in a comment.
Does anyone visiting a cat shelter to adopt consider carrying out immediate medical checks? You sign a contract with the shelter when you adopt one of their cats. It’ll probably state, in an English translation, the old Latin legal term: caveat emptor — buyer beware because there will be no guarantees that the cat is healthy.
Or do you have a different experience? Do all shelter contracts contain a clause which states that the adopter understands and accepts that the cat might be unhealthy and which also contains a disclaimer to protect the shelter?
This article is not criticising shelters or saying that people should not adopt from them. Of course it is far better to go to cat shelter if you want a cat. There are so many advantages one of which is that you are saving a life. Adopting a shelter cat is the last stage in the cat rescue process.
However, there are no guarantees the cat will be in perfect health. It would make sense to have the cat checked over by a vet some time soon after adoption and perhaps to place him in quarantine if there are other cats in the house before the vet gives the all clear.
Do shelter contracts allow you to take your cat back if she/he is found to have a health problem? I’d doubt it because as mentioned the onus is on the buyer to take precautions. I am sure many others have fist hand experience of this.
The reason why I ask these questions is because there is a story about a couple who adopted a cat from Lincoln County Animal Services. The cat had ringworm which is very contagious and as consequence two children in the family got it from the new cat. It is very hard to get rid of ringworm. The couple complained but had failed to read the contract which prevented them complaining or taking any other action.