It’s official: you’ve decided to welcome a ball of fur into your home! But have you considered adopting your new companion from a shelter? By doing so, you have the chance to perform a truly virtuous deed: each year, thousands of cats are abandoned and left waiting for a loving family to give them a new home. Adopting a cat from a shelter can also prove beneficial on a number of levels.
Cats of all ages
While all shelter cats have been abandoned, they not are necessarily old. A lot of cats that are rescued are only a few months old; you can even find kittens up for adoption. In general, these young cats are more likely to find an adoption home, but don’t be put off by the idea of adopting an “old” cat.
Cats have a lifespan of roughly 15 years (and many live much longer), so you’re sure to have plenty of happy years ahead with your new companion, even if they have a few years on the clock. If you choose to adopt a really old cat, you will need to pay bit more attention to their comfort and health, but the advantage is that they will be calmer and you will have given them a new lease of life.
Cats in shelters receive regular check-ups from the vet so you won't have any unpleasant surprises. The felines you will meet are healthy, but if the cat has a particular problem (heart murmur, feline immunodeficiency virus [FIV], etc.), you will be warned and told what special care your future pet will require.
Moreover, the cat you adopt will always be vaccinated, identified (with an electronic chip) and sterilised. That's why you will be asked to pay an adoption fee. In general, it costs about €150 to adopt a cat, which is actually much cheaper than if you had to pay a vet for these procedures yourself.
Cats with a clearly identified temperament
Shelters remain committed to achieving sustainable adoptions, so they will help you to adopt a cat that can adapt to your constraints and your lifestyle: small apartment, large family, other animals, etc.
The staff at the shelter are generally very familiar with the temperament of each animal: don't hesitate to ask them questions. If possible, take the time to make several visits, with all the members of your household, in order to get to know the cat you want to adopt. And be warned: often it will be the cat that chooses you and not the other way round ;)