If you’re considering bringing a feline companion into your home, and wondering where to look, an animal shelter is a great option. There are so many reasons to adopt from a shelter, but here are 10 of my favorites.
1. You’ll save more than one life by adopting a cat
According to the ASPCA, 3.2 million cats can be found in shelters every year and of these, about 860,000 are euthanized annually. Adopting a cat not only helps one of these many animals, looking for a home, but also opens a space for shelters and rescue groups to take in another cat.
2. It makes good financial sense to adopt a cat
For a relatively low fee, you’ll take home a cat that is already spayed or neutered, up-to-date on vaccines and microchipped. Many shelters and rescues will also include extras in the adoption fee such as a cat collar, a bag of food or pet insurance.
3. The personality of an adopted cat is known
Cats in many shelters interact with their caretakers and volunteers every day, and these people really get to know their personalities. Particularly with adult cats, you can find a companion with the type of temperament you’re looking for. You could find a playful, active cat or a calmer feline who prefers cuddling and a quieter environment.
4. It’s good for your mental health to adopt a cat
According to Research Gate, owning a cat, or any pet you adopt from a shelter, has been shown to have positive effects on humans’ ability to cope with stress, anxiety, depression and loneliness1. Taking a cat home from a shelter can improve your sense of happiness and general well-being.
5. Adopting a cat is great for your heart!
A recent study found that owning a cat may lead to a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease and stroke2. This is an important finding considering the AHA/ASA says, “Stroke is the number 3 cause of death in women and number 4 cause of death in men.
6. Cats improve children’s resistance to asthma
According to Clinical & Experimental Allergy, research has found that early exposure to a cat in the home can actually reduce infants’ sensitization to the allergens cats produce3. As a result, kids have a reduced chance of developing allergic diseases.
7. There’s a wide variety of cats to adopt
You can find any type of cat you want at a shelter, from kittens to seniors, short-haired to long-haired, all sizes and colours. In fact, if you’re looking for a specific breed, such as a Siamese, you can contact cat-specific rescue groups to find your new friend.
8. A cat can make your other pets happy
If you have another cat or a cat-friendly dog, bringing another cat home from a shelter can help reduce feelings of loneliness during the day when you’re out. Of course, you will want to ask the shelter to help you “cat test” your dog, and if you have a cat, expect a period of adjustment before the new and current cats feel comfortable together.
9. Cats are perfect for apartment dwellers
If you live in an apartment, condo or other small space, a cat can be an excellent companion because cats don’t require lots of room or daily walks like a dog. Cats are generally low maintenance and if you provide them with toys (like cat trees and window rests for enrichment), they make wonderful roommates.
10. Cats are excellent senior companions
Cats, particularly older, calmer cats, can provide loving companionship to older adults. They’re easy to care for, and you can find one at a shelter that matches your lifestyle with some helpful advice from the shelter staff and volunteers.
No two cats are the same, but insight into the biology and behaviour of cats can help you to understand your pet better.
- Cats have highly developed senses. Cats can detect higher frequencies of sound than dogs or humans. They have an excellent sense of smell, superior to humans and they can see better than us in dark and dim light!
- Cats are expert hunters. Cats hunt alone – in the wild they’ll spend 6-8 hours a day hunting. They can hear the high pitched frequencies used by small rodents and their whiskers or ‘vibrissae’, are highly sensitive to vibrations, helping them to detect prey.
- Cats are agile. Cats have powerful, tightly controlled muscles and fast reflexes that allow them to move quickly and gracefully. They are skilled at running, jumping, climbing, and stealthily stalking prey.
- Cats use a range of methods to communicate. Communication sounds include purrs, ‘meows’, trills, chirrups, growls, yowls, and hisses. They also communicate visually using different body postures as well as visual markers such as scratch marks or the deposition of faeces.
- Cats are independent. Survival is a solitary affair for cats; they are self-reliant for food, shelter, grooming and territory defence. They can be social but prefer to choose their own companions.
- Cats are territorial. A cat’s territory is an area that is defended, aggressively if required, against other cats. They use a range of methods to mark their territory, including scratching, spraying urine and depositing faeces. Help keep your cat safe outside.
- Cats are meat-eaters. Meat is an important part of a cat’s diet. Eating meat is important for cats; they cannot survive without the nutrients found in animal-derived materials.
- Cats love cat naps! Domestic cats sleep for 12-18 hours a day! Sleep allows energy resources to be replenished so is vital for a predator that needs to be ready to hunt whenever it detects prey.
- Cats are playful. Cats are intelligent and need both mental and physical stimulation. Play is important as it improves motor skills, provides brain training and encourages social behaviour. Keep your cats entertained with our range of fun toys.
- Cats are clean animals. Tiny abrasive hooks, found on the centre of cats’ tongues, helps them to groom themselves efficiently. Grooming keeps a cat’s coat in good condition and also helps to remove fleas and other parasites. Read more about keeping cats in tip top condition.