Should rescue centres charge more for pedigree cats and dogs?

Some quick research indicates that some rescue centres charge more for purebred, pedigree cats and dogs. In other words, the adoption fee is higher for pedigree animals but is this policy fair and proper?

Should shelters have higher adoption fees for pedigree cats than for non-pedigree cats?
Should shelters have higher adoption fees for pedigree cats than for non-pedigree cats? Image: MikeB (Canva license).

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Before I try and answer the question, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home do not hike up their adoption fee for purebred cats and dogs. They do charge more for kittens over a adult cats. The fee for the latter is £130 and for the former it is £95. The cut off age is six months. If you adopt a pair of kittens or adult cats you get a small discount. I trust Battersea. Their policy, to me, is correct.

There’s been an increase in purebred cats at RSPCA shelters after Covid. I wrote about that recently (click this link to read the article). Since 2018 there has been a 300% increase in Maine Coons at RSPCA shelters. The other purebreds more commonly seen at the shelters are Bengals, Ragdolls and Persians. All have concerning inherited health problems.

The RSPCA do not hike up their adoption fees for purebred cats and dogs. The fee for dogs is £150 and for cats it is £80.

Another big rehoming charity in the UK, Cats Protection, do not quote adoption fees because they vary between the locations.

But it appears that the big organisations have a fixed adoption fee whether the animal is a moggy or a purebred.

But some rescue centres do charge more and my gut feel is that this is wrong because there’s no reason why they should charge more except for the fact that they might do this to stop people adopting a purebred cat from a shelter and then selling the cat on for a profit.

But I don’t think that that is the reason why they have an increased charge. I just think they want to try and make more money which is understandable because they’ve got to run an animal shelter and I’m sure that money is always an issue at shelters. They are reliant upon donations, local authority support and adoption fees. Budgeting is probably tight.

Another possibility is that a rescue center might argue that it costs more to look after a purebred cat. This might have some truth because it is more likely that a purebred cat would need veterinary care compared to a random bred cat because of the increased predisposition to inherited illnesses in the purebred cat population. But that’s quite a fine point because it’s probably quite likely that a purebred cat will be at a shelter for a very short time and therefore there will be no need for the shelter to seek a veterinary appointment to treat the animal.

If I’m correct, and I’ll bow to superior knowledge, it would seem that if a shelter charges a higher adoption fee for a purebred cat it is because they want to take advantage of the possibility to make more money.

It should be added that in the dog world, 25-30% of dogs at shelters are purebred because there are far more purebred dogs in the general dog population compared to cats in the cat population. This information would substantially nullify any reasons to increase adoption fees for purebred dogs.

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P.S. Purebred cats are nearly always pedigree cats (those with a recorded lineage). I have used the words ‘purebred’ and ‘pedigree’ to mean the same thing in this article.

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