Key Points

  • Many cats from pet shops and breeders come from poor living conditions and overbreeding.

  • Adopting a cat from a shelter is much more cost-effective than buying one from a pet store or breeder.

  • Adopting from a shelter can save a cat’s life from euthanasia.

Adopting a cat carries increased responsibility and cost but has several rewards. It benefits you as an owner, your new cat, the animal shelter, and the other cats housed there.

Discover the many benefits of cat adoption in this article and learn how far-reaching your single adoption can be.

Combating Unethical Pet Stores and Breeders

From overbreeding to unacceptable living conditions, unethical breeders and pet shops continue to operate despite public outcry. By adopting a cat from a shelter or rescue agency, you take a stand against these inhumane practices.

Each adoption means one less sale for unethical breeders and pet shops. Decreased demand pressures these “breeding mills” to rethink their practices or cease operations. More responsible adoption practices encourage positive changes in the pet industry, prompting stricter standards and better animal care.

Cost-Effective Option

Breeder prices can skyrocket, with costs for certain breeds running into the hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Adopting from a shelter is much more affordable, even with adoption fees factored in.

Purchased cats may have hidden costs, such as undisclosed health issues from poor breeding practices. Health issues often require special diets or costly medical expenses. Shelter cats are usually vet-checked, vaccinated, microchipped, and spayed/neutered before adoption.

Considering these factors, the long-term financial impact of adopting a cat is much less than purchasing one. However, just as in life, “money isn’t everything.”

Encouraging Responsible Pet Ownership

Shelters typically enforce a thorough review process for potential adopters, encouraging more awareness and responsibility for new owners. The adoption process provides invaluable lessons about pet ownership, establishing a solid foundation for a successful pet-human relationship. What these new owners learn potentially keeps cats from returning to shelters due to neglect or abuse.

The extensive pre-adoption preparation creates a smoother transition for the cat and you. When you’re better prepared as an owner to bring home a new cat, it decreases the potential for anxiety or other behavioral issues. This leads to a longer, happier life together.

Reducing Overpopulation in Shelters

Millions of cats remain in shelters waiting for an owner like you to take them to their forever home. Every adoption reduces overpopulation to allow shelters to rescue more needy cats. By reducing these numbers, shelters distribute resources more effectively and provide better care for the remaining animals. Fewer cats to care for means workers can show more attention to each one, improving the animal’s quality of life.

Woman sits on stairs and pets her newly adopted cat

Saving a Life

To talk about “saving a life” may sound overly dramatic, but when you think of the reality, it’s bang on. Shelters take care of as many cats as they can. At some point, they simply run out of room.

The Catonsville (Maryland) Cat Clinic team highlights a few benefits of adopting a cat, saying, “When you adopt a cat, you’re saving their life in the sense that you’re providing them a safe, stable, and loving home. In some cases, you may truly be saving the cat’s life by adopting them, as some shelters are forced to euthanize cats that do not get adopted.”

You may not like to think about such a grim topic, but it’s a sad reality. By adopting, you make a remarkable difference in a cat’s life by providing them with the love and care they need and deserve. There are countless heartwarming stories of cats rescued from the brink via adoption who receive a second chance at life.

Supporting Animal Welfare Organizations

The adoption fees you pay for a cat directly support the operations of animal welfare organizations to aid their important work. These fees fund vaccinations, medical treatment, feeding, and housing for the animals in their care. The positive visibility and awareness generated by your adoption may inspire others to follow suit, fostering a community supportive of animal welfare.

If you can’t adopt a cat, support your local shelter in other ways. Donate money, food, and other supplies for their cats. Some shelters partner with local pet and livestock supply stores. Customers donate money through the store, and the shelter workers pick up what they need.

If you can’t adopt or haven’t found the right cat, volunteer at your local shelter. You still have cats in your life, and you make a difference in their lives.

Variety of Cats To Choose From

Shelter cats come in various breeds, ages, and personalities — great news for anyone wanting to adopt. They find the perfect cat to fit their lifestyle and preferences. While most cats in a shelter are “Heinz 57” mixed breeds, shelters may also house purebred felines. Purebreds don’t stay unadopted for as long as mixed breeds or feral cats, so check shelters’ websites and postings often to see if they have a member of your favorite breed available for adoption.

Age Variety: From Kittens to Seniors

Whether you want a playful kitten, a stable adult, or a wise and serene senior, you’re likely to find your perfect match in a shelter. Many people prefer a kitten over a senior cat, but elderly felines need love and attention, too. Since they’re less likely to find homes than cute kittens, consider your lifestyle and determine whether a senior cat might fit.

If you adopt a kitten, remember they don’t stay that way long. They’re technically “adults” in just a few months — especially if they aren’t spayed or neutered.

Special Needs Cats: Opportunities for Unique Adoptions

Shelters often house special needs cats who, while requiring a bit more attention, offer just as much love and gratitude to their new owners as any other cat. A YouTube video posted on July 24, 2023, tells the story of a senior cat with a contagious disease. The story of Mr. Whiskers shows that you can make a difference in the life of a shelter cat who otherwise doesn’t find a home.

Start the Domino Effect

When you adopt a cat, there’s a domino effect that you may overlook. You change the lives of you and your cat, but the effects keep going — the shelter benefits, which in turn helps the lives of the other cats in their care. You make room for cats who arrive in the future, and you do your part to put unethical breeders out of business.

As you consider expanding your family with a pet, keep these benefits of cat adoption in your mind and your heart.

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