Most people looking to get a cat for their home have kittens burnt into the brain! Yeah, they’re pretty cute. However, you should consider whether adoption is a good route for you. Even if you’re set on a kitten, you can adopt a cat just as easily as purchasing one. If you’re open to an older cat, there are many of them also in need of a new home. Most shelters also have kittens in need too. Adopting a cat can be a really rewarding experience. As well as getting a brand new pet, you’re helping an animal which hasn’t had the best start in life to get another chance.
Why are there so many cats in shelters?
It is a sad reality that shelters everywhere are almost always full. Many people don’t quite know what they’re getting into when they adopt a cat, or carelessly abandon their animals. Between overbreeding and careless owners, there is a startling amount of cats out there in need of a good home. A shocking number of perfectly healthy pets are put down in shelters since they can’t find an owner. While some shelters have a no-kill policy, most can’t really afford that luxury with the sheer number of animals out there.
Is adopting right for me?
Of course, adopting a cat isn’t for everyone. There are plenty of circumstances in which even if you feel it would be the right thing to do, you maybe shouldn’t actually adopt a cat. Sometimes buying is the only feasible way for you to look after a cat. This is where buying ethically comes in. If you do have to buy rather than adopt, you should try to do this in an ethical way. This means going to the right breeders so buying a cat isn’t going to lead to more cats needing adoption.
So, is adopting a cat right for you?
Should You Adopt a Cat to Fit Your Lifestyle?
Buying a kitten from a breeder is a gamble. You never quite know how they’re going to turn out. While looking at the cat’s parents gives you a clue, you can’t be sure. However, if you adopt a cat you have a clear picture of what your new pet’s personality is like!
This is an area where adopting a cat can save you a lot of trouble. Shelters know their cats. When you visit one to see which cats are available for adoption, they will be able to tell you how the cat behaves and what sort of lifestyle he or she suits.
An older cat that is pretty independent will definitely suit those with a busier lifestyle. If you’re not after an indoor cat, then adopting an older cat from a shelter will allow you to find one that won’t mind you being out of the house for a while. This is a much safer way of finding an independent cat to suit your lifestyle than choosing a kitten and hoping for the best. Many older cats in shelters are perfect for those wanting an independent pet who is still affectionate. Older cats don’t always have the best chances of finding a new home once they go into shelters, so you would be helping out an animal in need.
If you’re looking for a cuddly cat more interested in spending time with its owner than getting into mischief outside, then a shelter can point you in that direction too. There are many cats in shelters who want the companionship of a close relationship or the fun of playing with their owner. When you adopt a cat, you can meet them in advance and ensure they are right for your lifestyle. A cat that enjoys human company probably won’t be enjoying life in a shelter all that much, so a loving home will be appreciated. Indoor cats make great companions for those willing to put the work into keeping an indoor cat entertained, you can find one just right for you in a shelter.
Can You Adopt a Pure Breed Cat?
A big question when looking to adopt or buy a cat is whether to go for a mixed breed or pure breed. Both have their merits, but some are easier to adopt. Most shelters will have a lot more mixed breed cats than pure breeds. More mixed breed cats are carelessly bred than pure breeds, so many more of them are in need of a new home.
Temperaments and breeds
When you’re looking for a rescue cat you get more control over the temperament of the cat you’re bringing home, but less choice about their breed. If you’re looking for a specific breed since they have a certain temperament, then you can still adopt. A cat at a shelter will have had their temperament assessed for you ahead of time!
If you’re set on a particular breed…
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t find the pure breed cat of your dreams in a shelter. However, if you’ve got your heart set on a very specific breed of cat then it is going to be a lot more difficult. The breed you’re specifically after is unlikely to turn up in a shelter on request. If you’re are after a particular breed of cat, then buying is the better choice.
Buying a Cat
If you can’t adopt a cat for one reason or another, you can still do something to help cats in shelters. If you need to buy a cat, buy one responsibly. Buying from a reputable breeder cuts down on the number of unwanted cats. Neutering your cat can also help, cutting out any accidental breeding between outdoor cats!
What to Look for in a Breeder
Actually finding a reputable breeder is easier said than done! The first test is their communication prior to even visiting. A reputable breeder will genuinely care about what homes their kittens end up in. This means they’re likely to be responsive to questions you have about their cats. There are some other major things to watch out for:
- The Kittens Behaviour –When visiting the kittens try to look at their behaviour around the home and that of their owners. Kittens from a good breeder will have a parent around a house and not show any fear of their owner or environment. Those born in an unhealthy environment will often be visibly frightened.
- Health –A good breeder’s kittens will be up to date on all of its medical checks. When you adopt a cat you can be sure that they’ve been vaccinated by the shelter. However, with kittens, you will need to ensure this has been done. If the owner is unwilling to talk about these matters or hasn’t given them proper medical care, then it is unlikely that they care very much about the kittens.
- Parents –If a breeder claims that their kittens are from a family pet, you should be able to see the family pet on request. If they claim this but have a house full of various types of kittens, it isn’t a good place to buy from.
What to Do with a Bad Breeder
If you find a kitten breeder who clearly isn’t treating their cats well then you should avoid buying their kittens. There are authorities you can report really bad breeders to. This should stop animals from being treated this way. If you’re particularly shocked by a bad breeder, then it might even convince you to take another look at adopting a cat instead of buying. Finding a good breeder might take a bit more time, but you have the peace of mind of knowing you’re not contributing to the problems of cats in shelters.
Can You Adopt a Cat While Renting?
While new pets are an exciting presence in the home, there are some practicalities that need considering. A particularly boring but important one is if you’re renting or own your own home. In most cases tenancy agreements will specify that no pets are allowed, this is just done as a standard clause. Many landlords might be okay with you bringing a pet home, but there is a stigma about adoption. In any case, if your agreement specifies no pets then it is still worthwhile discussing a new pet with your landlord or letting agent. It might just be a default position that is easily changed.
Shelters and rules for adoption
Most shelters have strict rules in place over who can adopt a cat. This is to prevent them from ending up back in a shelter. If you rent your home, shelters usually require proof that you have permission to have a pet there. If your living situation makes it unfeasible to actually adopt a pet due to a letting agent’s prejudices against shelter animals, then you can’t adopt a cat.
It is primarily unfounded, but many people have the idea that a rescued animal is more likely to cause damage than a bought one. This is silly, but you probably won’t be able to convince someone otherwise. In these situations, it is better to buy a cat from a reputable breeder.
Should You Adopt a Cat?
If you adopt a cat, you can find an animal that is just right for you. This gives a cat a much needed second chance and eases the strain on the shelters in your area. However, you might be in a position where you can’t adopt a cat. You should still try to bring a new pet home without adding to the problems faced by shelters. Buying a cat ethically is a great option. Although, if you can adopt then you should definitely consider it. Rescued cats can be a wonderful and loving addition to your family.