As a child, my family pet was a cat named Scooter. My parents found her and took her in as a kitten before I was born, so she was always a part of my life and I loved her very much. Thus, I have a special place in my heart for cats. Even though many of my blogs tend to focus on dogs, I did not become a dog person until I was an adult and adopted Skeeter, my lab mix. They are just so much more demanding of your time, energy and attention, aren’t they?
I am going to get back to my roots today and focus on cats in light of June being Adopt a Shelter Cat Month. Cats really are remarkable animals, are full of personality, and they are also great cuddlers. Here are some reasons to adopt a cat and some ways you can help your local shelters.
#1- You Are Saving a Life
- Adopting a pet means SAVING A LIFE! Every 8 seconds, an animal is euthanized in the United States. This adds up to about 2.7 million each year. Shelters are at their limits all over the United States due to pet overpopulation, and lack of spaying/neutering of pets.
- Adoption means that you are not supporting kitty or puppy mills! Puppy mills operate simply for profit, and not for the welfare of their animals. The animals are often housed in terrible conditions and forced to breed repeatedly for years. The animals are not properly cared for and their offspring are often sick, timid and usually not socialized, or they have compromised immune systems and other problems that will present later in their lives. The breeding animals will be killed when they are no longer useful. Their offspring will be sold in pet stores, newspapers, or online. By choosing to adopt from a shelter or rescue group, you are sure that you will not be supporting puppy mills.
#2- Less Expensive
- Shelter cats are less expensive than cats purchased in a pet store and are usually ready to come home right away, with all care they have received included in the minimal adoption fee (usually under $100 in my experience, and often quite lower).
- Most shelters run special events and adoptions throughout the year providing animals at no cost or with very reduced fees.
- Animals from shelters have already been spayed or neutered (part of the adoption fee), and they are microchipped, vaccinated, and usually litter box trained. This means less that you have to do!
#3- Low Maintenance
- Cats are a low maintenance pet! Feeding twice a day, and scooping a litter box regularly are really the only regular care involved. My cats don’t really bother anything in my house because I have learned their habits. Adopted adult cats will quickly settle into a routine and be very predictable to you. At my house, all houseplants are out of reach, I leave a certain cabinet door cracked open at all times so Fender can get inside (otherwise there will be scratch marks on it), and I keep a spray bottle filled with water always within arms’ reach (a great deterrent for furniture scratching).
- Cats are independent, and once out of their kitten stage, they can be left alone for long periods of time as long as they have enough food and water, and access to a litter box. There are no problems with your cat if you have to work late some nights. He will just be waiting for you next to his food bowl in the kitchen meowing when you get home. A dog may panic, think you are never coming home, chew up your sofa cushion, and pee by the backdoor if you are late one night.
- There are lots of fun toy options on the market for your cat-Hollywood Feed has a great selection (catnip is a MUST)-but more often than not, you’ll find that your cat enjoys a balled up piece of paper, laser pointer, or simply a cardboard box just as well. My cat, Ecco, loves to chew on the green tops of vegetables, like carrots. Cats can easily entertain themselves for long periods of time.
#4- A Cat for Any Lifestyle
- There are all kinds of cats at shelters! There are kittens with lots of energy, there are older, calmer cats who want to cuddle, and there are all ages and personalities in between. You can definitely find the cat to suit your lifestyle, and the staff at the shelter can help you pick out the perfect fit.
- Cats from shelters are usually well-socialized due to being around other cats and many humans, and being handled regularly. If a cat is not ready to come with you, shelter staff will not let you take him home! The shelter staff can let you know if your potential new cat will get along with any other cats you have at home.
- Cats are great for seniors or others who would have trouble caring for a rambunctious, dirty dog. Cats are lower maintenance than a dog. They clean themselves, and will be pretty predictable about using their litter box, which will need to be scooped regularly. They need fresh water to be changed out daily, and should be fed twice a day. Cats will also never jump on you and knock you to the ground like a dog and much less training is required-you just have to show a cat where her litter box is.
#5- Increased Happiness and Quality of Life
- Cats are the most popular pets in the world-because they are so awesome.
- Adopting a cat adds value to your life. Petting a cat is great for stress relief, and it will lower your blood pressure and help with depression.
- You will be happy to find your cat waiting for you eagerly each day when you return home from work. You will love to feel a cat resting in your lap and purring contentedly. Plus, you will never feel lonely with a cat around to talk to! Cats really are wonderful, loving creatures and adopting one will increase your overall happiness in life.
How Can I Help Shelter Cats?
- Adopt your next cat (or dog) from your local shelter or rescue group!
- ADOPT RESPONSIBLY! When you adopt a cat, make sure that you are ready for the responsibility. Many cats are in shelters because their previous human did not want to care for them. Don’t contribute to the problem!
- ALWAYS spay and neuter your pets.
- There are animal shelters out there that need your support! Donate time, money or supplies to your local shelters and rescue groups.
Animal Shelters and Rescue Groups Near Me
- Alabama– Greater Huntsville Humane Society: http://www.ghhs.org/
- Arkansas– Humane Society of Pulaski County: http://warmhearts.org/; Northeast Arkansas Humane Society: http://neahs.org/
- Mississippi– DeSoto Animal Rescue Society: http://www.desotoanimalrescue.org/
- Tennessee– Human Society of Memphis and Shelby County: https://www.memphishumane.org/adopt/pets-ready-for-adoption; Memphis Animal Services: https://www.memphistn.gov/animal-services/adopt-a-cat/cats-at-mas/
- Texas– Humane Society of Dallas County: http://www.dognkittycity.org/; Humane Society of North Texas: http://www.hsnt.org/