Tuesday, 7 February 2023

Visiting A Shelter To Get A New Cat: How You Can Select The Right Feline Friend For Your Family

Choosing a new pet to bring into your family can be a big decision. Adopting a shelter cat can be a good choice, as it allows you to give a new home and a second chance to a cat in need. There are many shelters out there you could find your next pet, so it can help to do some research and find a reputable, quality shelter local to you. A local shelter can also make it easier for you to visit their cats in person.

When adopting any pet, it can be helpful to consider how your new addition will impact the rest of the family. It is best to find a cat that will suit your lifestyle, and that is a good personality fit. It could also help to consider the specific needs of the cats available so that you can be sure that you are capable of providing the right home and care for them.

Keep An Open Mind

Many people go to a shelter with something particular in mind for their new pet. It could be a certain colour, sex or breed of cat, or certain personality traits. It may be a good idea to know what you want in a cat, but it could also be beneficial to keep an open mind. You might find that you visit the shelter and find a cat that actually ticks none of your boxes and yet is still the perfect addition to your home and family. It might be best to keep an open mind and interact with all the cats available for adoption until you find the one that clicks. In some cases, you might even find that the right cat chooses you rather than the other way around.

Consider Cats Of Different Ages 

Kittens are often preferred by adoptive families over adult cats. Part of this could be due to the cuteness factor or because families might think that a younger cat will slot into their lives more easily. You might need to remember that kittens require a significant level of care in their first few weeks and may also be very high-energy. You may find that caring for a kitten could be too challenging if you work full-time, so it is best to consider cats of all ages. Adult cats may often have plenty of cute kitten energy without the need for toilet training, which could be ideal for busy families.

Interact With The Cats

Cats might be more wary and anxious in a shelter setting compared to how they will behave at home, but it can still be beneficial to interact with the different cats while you visit the shelter. This could give you a better idea of each cat’s personality and willingness to be handled and petted. Shelters may have separate rooms for protective adoptive families to spend time with the cats they like so they can get better acquainted.

See If The Cat Likes To Be Handled

Many potential cat owners want to find a pet that will be happy to be held, cuddled and stroked. While you may not get the best idea of how a cat feels about being handled in a shelter setting, it could give you an idea of how comfortable the cat will be in the future. It is best to ask a member of the shelter staff before picking up a cat and approach them slowly and carefully. Even the friendliest cat might react negatively to an unfamiliar person picking them up out of nowhere. You may need to go slow and let them get used to your presence and smell before you attempt to stroke them or pick them up.

Understand Cat-Specific Needs

Some cats may require more care and attention than others. Kittens might be more high maintenance than adult cats, while cats with existing health conditions could require more of your time and attention than those with a clean bill of health. There’s nothing wrong with adopting a cat with more specific needs, but it could help to be prepared for what to expect. For instance, you could do some research to learn the best ways to care for kittens or cats with specialist diets or health conditions.

Learn About Their Medical History

Cats from shelters are no more likely to develop health conditions than cats from private breeders, but it is still beneficial to understand a cat’s health before adopting. A reputable shelter should inform you of any health concerns that a cat may experience, so it could help to research any issues a cat faces to decide if you are able to provide the care they need. Even healthy cats might experience health problems throughout their lives, so it may help to take out pet insurance to give yourself peace of mind. You can find out more about specialist cat insurance from the pet experts over at Purely Pet.

Do Your Research On The Shelter

The shelter you choose to adopt your cat from could make a big difference to your adoption experience. It could help to do some research so that you can feel assured that the shelter you choose is a reputable one. You could look into how long the shelter has been operating, how experienced the staff are, and the process involved with adopting a cat. Visiting the shelters themselves may also tell you a lot about the place and the cats available for adoption. Things you could look out for include cleanliness, staffing levels and how knowledgeable and friendly the staff you interact with are.

Visit The Cat More Than Once

If you’ve visited a shelter and instantly fallen head over heels for a particular cat, it could be a good idea to take some time and see them more than once. You might be tempted to start the adoption process rather than risk the cat of your choice being adopted by someone else, but it is still important to be measured in your decision to adopt. You could consider coming back as early as the next day to spend some more time with the cat. Cats can be like humans in that they have bad days and good days, so seeing the cat a few times in different moods or situations could give you a better idea of their personality.

Consider How The Cat Will Integrate With Current Pets

If you have other pets already, it may help to think about how you will integrate a new cat into the household. How you manage to do this might depend on the pets you have already, their temperaments and the personality of your new cat. You might consider a more laid-back cat if your current pets are more highly strung. It may also help to find out if the cat has lived in homes with other pets, particularly pets of the same species or breeds you have at home. It could also help to make a plan of how you will introduce the cat to your other pets so that things are more likely to go smoothly.

Be Aware Of How Child-Friendly They Might Be

Some cats may be excellent child-friendly additions to the home, while others may be less comfortable around kids. Every cat is different, so you may need to talk to the shelter staff to find out if a cat will be suited to a home with children. Often, animal shelters will specify which cats are

child-friendly and which may not be. It is a good idea to take into account what the shelter says about how friendly a cat will be with children, as this opinion will usually be formed by taking a history of the cat and observing its interactions while at the shelter. When looking for a cat for a household with children, you could look for one that is confident, can handle loud noises and is happy to be handled and stroked.

Ask Shelter Staff Plenty Of Questions

Shelter staff are often used to fielding plenty of questions from prospective families, so don’t be afraid to ask anything on your mind. Finding out as much as you can about the cat you’re considering adopting could be invaluable to help you make the right choice for you and the cat. This might be particularly beneficial if the cat you’re considering has special care needs, as it might be best to fully understand the implications and requirements before adopting. You could also ask questions about the cat’s habits, likes and dislikes, and past homes.


Adopting a shelter cat can be a great way to give a home to a cat in need. While there’s nothing wrong with buying a pedigree cat or kitten, adopting a shelter cat can be a rewarding experience. You will find cats of all ages, needs and personalities in a shelter, so you’re sure to find your perfect fit. If you don’t find a cat that stands out to you on your first visit, try not to be discouraged. Finding the right pet to bring into your family may take time, so being careful and thoughtful in your choice can make a big difference.

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