Cats are certainly at the very top of the pet popularity charts and it seems that this trend isn’t going to change in the near future. However, the problem is that pet shelters are overflowing with abandoned cats due to that enormous popularity – and many people still prefer cat breeders over pet shelters when it comes to getting a new cat. But is there really anything you should be afraid of? Or are pet shelters a truly viable alternative to regular purchases?
First of all, let’s look at the negatives that necessarily have to come with adopted cats. The truth is that the large majority of the cats in pet shelters is a bit older, which obviously brings a few issues to the table. Not only are there some health problems that tend to come with age, but many of the cats will also be affected by their previous experiences in terms of behaviour and temperament.
Many of them have never been in a loving home before and will therefore have a tough time trying to adapt to your style of life. In fact, some of them might be virtually impossible to train, even if they have received special attention in the shelter and should therefore be manageable, but you can simply never know everything before you actually start living with them.
Thirdly, specialized cat breeders are usually much more flexible and will always help you with any problems that you might have. Good pet shelters won’t leave you struggling either, but at the same time, you aren’t going to get the same kind of support, although there are notable exceptions to that rule.
And finally, there is the thing that is going to bother quite a few people – there simply isn’t much choice when it comes to adoptions, which means that it is extremely unlikely that you are going to get exactly what you are looking for.
That’s quite a lot of negatives, isn’t it? Surely there must be something positive as well! Well, the truth is that the situation is indeed not as gloomy as it might look like at first glance.
Firstly, you are going to give one cat a new chance at having a really good life. Many of the cats in pet shelters have gone through a lot before they have actually managed to get there and there is no doubt that they would benefit from having an actual family that would take care of them.
Secondly, you are also going to support the given pet shelter – and in turn, the entire pet community in the area. There are plenty of animals in need out there and your adoption will allow one of them to get the treatment and welfare it truly deserves.
And finally, it is quite possible that you are also going to save some money. Some charities charge a fee when you are getting a pedigree cat, but many do not and might therefore be a good alternative to those who are a bit short on finances.
So Should You?
The bottom line is that there is no need to be afraid when thinking about adopting a cat from a shelter if you already have plenty of experience with taking care of cats. There will probably be some issues here and there, but that should be counter-balanced by the fact that you will do something for the greater good by taking on the burden of caring for a previously abandoned cat. It is not a good choice for everyone – for example, families with young children should be quite cautious about this choice – but it is undoubtedly an alternative that is often unfairly overlooked.
Scot Parris writes for rspca.org.uk, UK’s largest animal welfare charity. You can check the site to learn about some animal testing facts or even volunteer to help our 4 leg friends who need us.