Every year in June, American Humane celebrates Adopt-A-Cat Month. You may not be able to buy love, but you can certainly adopt it during this month-long event! If you have been thinking about adding a new cat to your family, right now is a purr-fect time. Whether they will be your first cat or the latest in a long line of feline family members, adopting from a shelter or rescue organization (instead of buying from a breeder) offers numerous benefits.
Getting a new pet is a decision you should never take lightly. If you're unsure whether it's the best choice for you, we are here to help. As veterinarians, we frequently field questions about cat ownership and whether it's better to adopt or buy. For this reason, we decided to share some of the many reasons to consider adopting a feline friend.
1. Save a Cat's Life
As someone who loves cats, knowing that adoption saves lives should be enough reason to visit a local shelter when you're ready for a new pet.
Consider these statistics if you're on the fence about adopting a cat:
- Each year, about 6.3 million animals enter shelters in the United States, according to the ASPCA. Of them, roughly 3.2 million are cats and kittens.
- Shelters euthanize roughly 530,000 cats annually due to a lack of space to house them.
- On average, only about 2.1 million shelter cats find homes each year.
Adopting a cat gives them a loving home and saves them from potential euthanasia. It also frees up space so that shelters and rescues can continue taking in and finding new homes for cats in need.
2. Stop Supporting Kitten Mills
You may hear more about puppy mills, but kitten mills are a huge problem, too. Many breeders are ethical, but distinguishing between them and mill operators is hard. Because most people wouldn't willingly buy a pet from someone who doesn't properly care for their animals, mill owners work hard to make themselves look as ethical and legitimate as possible.
Kittens born in mills receive poor treatment, as do their mothers. Mill operators care little about animal welfare and are only interested in their profit margins, even if that causes suffering for the animals in their care. Kittens born in mills are also more prone to health and behavioral issues later in life. Avoid supporting these horrible businesses, and adopt from a shelter to ensure your money goes to a worthy cause — not an unethical breeder.
3. Spend Less By Adopting
Shelter fees are much lower than prices set by breeders. Plus, when you adopt, your new feline friend will most likely be spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and microchipped before you take them home. This saves you a lot of money compared to paying for these essential services yourself. Additionally, cats from kitten mills and unethical breeders are more predisposed to health issues that are often extremely expensive to treat. Adopted cats are often healthier, and shelters strive to detect and diagnose any underlying problems before adopting them out. Combined, this lowers your new cat's risk of unexpected — and costly — health problems.
4. Avoid Litter Box Issues
Most cats are fast learners and start using their litter boxes right away. That's not always the case, though. However, rescue cats usually have good litter box habits, thanks to their living arrangements in shelters. And if a kitty has issues using their box, shelter workers will let you know before adopting them to save you from unpleasant surprises. Shelters and rescues work hard to find the perfect home for every cat, even those with special needs like litter box avoidance.
5. Find the Purr-fect Pet
Rescues and shelters are bursting at the seams with wonderful cats who need homes. From kittens to senior cats, they have cats of all ages. When you adopt, you'll have cats of every color, size, and coat length from which to choose. Plus, workers will help you find the one who best suits your lifestyle and preferences. Whether you're looking for a playful, energetic cat who will love romping with your kids or one with a calmer, more laid-back personality, shelter workers will pair you with the perfect pet. Even if you're yearning for a Persian, Sphinx, or another breed, you'll find plenty in breed-specific rescues. You may even stumble upon one at your local SPCA or humane society.
6. Adopting a Cat Can Boost Your Health
Pet ownership provides physical and mental health benefits. Cats show their owners unconditional love, and there is nothing better than hearing your cat's purr at the end of a long day. A cat's purr can even promote healing in humans. Spending time with your feline friend triggers your body to release stress-relieving hormones that ease anxiety and lower your blood pressure and heart rate.
Let Us Help You Care for Your New Cat
If you've decided to welcome a new cat into your home to celebrate Adopt-A-Cat Month, we're here to help you give them a healthy, happy life. Still not sure if cat ownership is right for you? We'll gladly answer your questions and help you make the best decision. Call us to learn more.