When I was about a sophomore or junior in high school, I joined an organization called 9 Lives Rescue based out of Colorado Springs. The premise of the company was to work on making unadoptable cats adoptable. Every other Saturday or so, I would don my 9 Lives shirt and venture in to Petsmart to begin the day. I worked with hundreds of potential adopters, only to find out how little they cared for their animals, or how ignorant they were. It was altogether disheartening. So, here are some tips on adopting cats from shelters (not pet stores – that's another battle for another day).
1. Read The Bios!
This may sound like a no-brainer, but a lot of people came in to adopt a cat without realizing that they simply couldn't. Often, they had another pet that wasn't compatible with our animals, and we had to deny their application. So, before you go in and get your heart set on a particular animal, make sure you read that animal's bio. It's a quick, easy way to eliminate what seems like an endless supply.
2. Do Your Research!
There are some common practices these days that are actually harmful to cats, declawing being the most famous one. If you come in and declaw one of our cats, we will no longer service you. If you need a declawed cat that bad, seek one out at a shelter. Don't put more cats in pain. It's cruel and unnecessary.
3. Check Your Lifestyle!
More than enough people came in looking for a cat that wasn't compatible with their lifestyle; they wanted a kitten, but would have to be gone all day, or something like that. Make sure that you're ready for the responsibility of owning a pet. They rely on you completely and totally. If you have a young child, it's probably not in your best interests to adopt a younger cat quite yet.
4. Adopt Older!
I know it seems like you'll have less time wit your furry friend, but often times older cats end up dying alone and unwanted in shelters because people just had to have that kitten. Older cats are often more tame, docile, and loving! Plus they usually require less work and are just content to sit in your lap sometimes.
5. Remember An Open Mind!
My cat came into her forever home despite my initial impression of her. She was ornery and would attack potential adopters. However, once she was fostered in a loving home, she cooled and became a mean, lean, purring machine. We adopted her immediately, and haven't regretted it. Remember that even the most vicious of creatures should be given at least a chance.
6. Answer Everything Truthfully!
We're really not trying to rip you off, or take away your dreams of cuddling with your cat. Our number one job is to protect the cats. So, on your adoption papers, be completely and totally honest. It's in both of your best interests! Besides, we might be able to pair you with the perfect fit for your home if you just tell us.
7. Ask Questions!
Chances are, local volunteers know more than what is on the bio. If you've got your heart set on one particular animal, make sure you talk to a volunteer. They're generally willing to help you out; they want to see that pet adopted just like you do.
8. Ask About Fostering/Volunteering!
If you're not ready to make a full decision yet, but know that you want an animal in your life, ask about fostering or volunteering! Fostering is a quick, easy way to help ease the financial strain on shelters as well as give the cat a chance to see the outside of four metal walls! In fact, that might be how you find your forever friend! Volunteering at the shelter is also rewarding because you get to show animals some love while they wait to be adopted.
9. Donate Donate Donate!
If you absolutely can't do anything to adopt or foster an animal, then by all means feel free to donate! Ask for a donation list and round up your friends. Easiest ways to fundraise are at parties. Ask people to bring a can of (shelter certified) wet food the next time they come over for a get together. For Christmas, ask for money to go to the shelter. A little bit can always go a long way. Besides, we're more inclined to like you if you've already put some time and effort into our animals.