How do I adopt a cat from an animal shelter?

Adopting from an animal shelter can be the best way to get a cat, but it can also be the worst. The bonuses are obvious - you are helping save a cat that would otherwise be put under, and you aren't supporting the breeding of cats as pets when there is already enough overpopulation that there aren't enough owners to fill the need.

   

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You also get more options. You can usually get anything from a kitten to an adult cat. If you're dead set on saving an animal, then go for an adult - they are the most likely to be put down. Most of the feral cats are put down without trying to find owners, so the adult cats they have for you will usually be fairly friendly and domesticated. You really don't want a feral cat anyway unless it is very young or you live on a farm and just want a mouser. When a cat gets to a certain age without contact with people, it's never going to make a good pet. But there are plenty of adults that were just lost or abandoned by their owners, and many of them are genuinely friendly animals.

So how do you make sure you get a good cat? Ask the shelter workers about the personalities of the cats. They'll have had enough contact with them that they should have a good idea. You might also ask specific questions such as whether they are litter box trained, have bitten anyone, are healthy, etc. You may have to pay a fee to support the shelter and pay for shots, and you will probably have to answer questions about your home and agree to some conditions such as neutering the cat. These conditions are designed to make sure the cat goes to a good home and lives a happy life. If you aren't sure where a shelter is in your area, it's easy to find. Just check the Yellow Pages under animal shelters, or look up the local humane society and they should be able to tell you.

Sources and Other Links:

http://www.petfinder.com/

http://www.adoptapet.com/

http://www.pets911.com/index.php

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