Shelter Cat Adoption

Adopt a Shelter Cat Month takes place every June to highlight the immense need for cat adoptions and why a shelter is the best place to find your next feline friend. Courtesy Photo/Best Friends Animal Society

Cats star in some of the most viral videos on the Internet and some even grow to celebrity status on Instagram with millions of followers (looking at you, Nala Cat). Yet some of the coolest cats remain undiscovered at shelters and rescues across the country. Since cats are also the most at-risk pets across America, accounting for 69 percent of animals killed in shelters, it’s crucial to find them loving homes.

Adopt a Shelter Cat Month takes place every June to highlight the immense need for cat adoptions and why a shelter is the best place to find your next feline friend.

“By adopting a cat, you’re not only saving that particular cat, but you also make space for the next cat coming into a shelter,” said Samantha Bell, cat expert at Best Friends Animal Society. “Adoption is also very cost-effective, as cats are usually fixed, vaccinated, microchipped and ready to go home with you for one low fee.”

According to Bell, cats make great pets for just about anyone.

“Whether you are hardly ever home or you are a total couch potato, there’s a ‘purrfect’ cat waiting for you at a shelter or rescue,” she added.

Bell offers the following tips on how to pick the right cat or kitten for your lifestyle:

Busy? There are cats for that: Shelters and rescues often have two adult cats who have grown up together and would be happy to go home together. It’s heartwarming to see a pair of cats who are already friends get to stay together. And while you’re away, they’ll have each other for company and security.

Extroverts need love, too: If you are home quite often, then you’ll have more time to play with an active kitty that needs lots of wand toy play time. Some cats can even be trained to walk on a leash or go for stroller rides.

Consider a solo artist: There are many cats that are great with people but terrified of other cats. They don’t always make a great first impression on potential adopters, especially if they’re in a shelter surrounded by other cats. But once they’re in a home with you, they’ll flourish.

Involve the whole family: It’s important to take everyone in the home, especially children, to meet all prospective cats so you can observe how they interact with the cat. Every child has their own unique energy and every pet reacts differently to every child.

Keep an open mind: Don’t get hung up on color, sex or age. Not all cats’ personalities fit into stereotypes. Every cat is an individual so don’t discount a cat because they aren’t male or female or orange or fluffy. By doing so, you’ll have the best odds of finding a great match.

Still not certain? Give the shelter team an opportunity to play matchmaker. “Talk to the staff and volunteers at the shelter about your lifestyle. Let them know if you live with others, including any pets, as well as who/what you come in contact with on a regular basis, and let them guide you to the cats that they think would mesh well with your life,” Bell said.

With kitten season in full swing, many people will be tempted to adopt one (and let’s be honest, it’s hard not to succumb to that level of cuteness). But as Bell noted, kittens require an extra level of care.

“Kittens are adorable but be aware that they are more work than an adult cat. Kittens need to be fed more often and use the litter box much more often,” she said. “Single kittens need lots of positive reinforcement training so that they don’t end up being bitey or scratchy adults.”

That is why Best Friends encourages adopters to open their home to a pair of kittens, if possible. Bell explained why. “All cats have to bite and scratch; it’s feline instinct,” she said. “A pair of kittens learns that biting and scratching is something they should do to each other during playtime, and not to their humans.”

To find your new best feline friend, visit www.bestfriends.org, where you’ll find more than 3,300 network partners of shelters and rescues across the country.