How to Adopt an Adult Cat

Cats are loving additions to almost any family, and while many people want a kitten, there are many reasons to adopt an adult cat. They are not only more developed in personality and behaviour, so you know what you're getting into, but they also have less energy than a kitten which will playfully slice and dice your toes while you sleep. On top of that, because of the low demand for adult cats, by adopting one you are probably saving its life.


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    Choose a shelter. Your local ASPCA/Humane Society shelter might not be the best choice. It could be a low- or no-kill shelter (in which case they might be sending the animals to be euthanized at a veterinary hospital, which is technically "no-kill", or you're letting another animal in a moderate- to high-kill shelter lose its life), a shelter that doesn't take care of their animals or gives them highly insufficient habitats (in this case, you should report the shelter to animal control for inspection), or otherwise bad care of the building.
    • Your best bets on shelters are animal-control approved and/or moderate- to high-kill shelters. You'll save the life of an adult cat while still adopting a healthy and safe pet.
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    Know whether you want a moggie (cat term for mutt) or a pedigree. You'll almost never find anything but moggies in a shelter, although this can have a lot of perks. You might want a pedigree, thinking you can enter it in beauty contests or show it off to your friends, or even breed it (which can cause overpopulation, so, beware!), but this isn't always the best choice.
    • Moggies are actually less prone to health issues than pedigrees. The cross-breeding in the beginning lineage of the breed actually caused a lot of defects while creating them, which still trails into the breed we know today. Moggies are bred out of these defects over time.
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    Set up a date. Find an empty time slot on your calendar or PDA to visit the shelter, or look at the shelter's online website to arrange a date with a cat that peaks your interest. Make sure you have a certain time available so you don't have to change it. Make sure the date and time is when you'd like to adopt the cat, because the shelter usually won't hold it for you, even if you pay! If you want your adult cat very soon, schedule as early as you can to go to the shelter.
    • Don't call in! Almost all shelters let you met and hold the cat face-to-face if you're truly interested. Just don't "try out" too many cats - they might stop thinking you're serious and just get annoyed by your presence. People have gotten kicked out for wanting to see too many animals in a day.
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    Visit the shelter. Ask to see the cats and visit every one. If there's a summary on their personalities, read it. Make you see any signs that warn you about aggressive behaviours, such as biting, scratching, or hissing at visitors. Once you've looked at or played with a cat you like enough, ask to see them or play with them outside of the cage to test out their personality - you might just find a forever friend!
    • Bring a pet crate if you have one! When you adopt, you can either put your new cat in your own pet crate or pay a small fee to take them home in a small, cardboard one.
      • If you think the cat you choose might need a crate to go places, definitely invest in one. Otherwise, you can get away with a cardboard crate.
    • Even if there's a cat you think you really love, experiment with more. You never know if there's going to be a cat that goes even further beyond your expectations!
    • Make sure to ask about the limits of human-to-cat contact before "trying them out". Some shelters don't let you stick your fingers or play with them through the cages.
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    Adopt. Pick out your favourite cat and speak with a shelter worker about adopting them. Find out about fees, their vaccinations, if they're spayed/neutered, etc. You might also find this a time to ask about their background - where they grew up, when they came to the shelter, how their personality/behaviours have changed, why they came to the shelter, etc. This can give you a good idea of how to treat the animal, and what to do if you'd like to help them more.

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Categories: Getting a Cat