So you are ready to adopt a new cat or kitten, and have decided to adopt from your local shelter? There are a few steps you can take to ensure a great match.
Before you visit the shelter: You should have a general idea of the type of cat you are looking for. Do you have the time and energy needed to care for a young kitten? Is a more sedate, older cat best for your lifestyle? If you like longhaired cats, are you willing to provide regular grooming?
Select a good time to visit: Plan to visit the shelter when you have lots of time and are not rushed. It is generally best to try to visit the shelter during non-peak hours so you will have easy access to view the available cats.
Observe the available cats: When you arrive, take a tour and spend some time checking out the cats and kittens available for adoption. Watch how the cats interact with each other, and make sure the prospective cat seems bright and alert, with no obvious signs of illness. Have an open mind; sometimes the right cat will choose you!
Talk to the shelter staff! This is probably the most important, but often overlooked, step. The shelter workers and volunteers are an invaluable resource and usually have knowledge about the temperament and any behavioral or medical problems of each cat. Many people simply choose the cutest kitten they see; maybe the most affectionate cat in the shelter is the older tabby cat you overlooked.
Spend time with the prospective adoptee: Ask if you can spend some one-on-one time with the cat. See if the cat is comfortable being held and seems relaxed. However, remember that many cats can be anxious in a shelter environment, or when handled by strangers.
If you can’t decide on the right cat for you, consider adopting two! Many cats do well with another cat to play and interact with. Whatever you decide, congratulations on choosing to rescue a cat from the shelter.