Adopting vs Purchasing a Cat

By Craig / April 26, 2017
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If you’re currently considering adopting a cat versus purchasing a cat then I would urge you to research adoption in much more detail and head down that road.  There are a wide variety of resources that will detail all of the benefits of adopting instead of purchasing, but below is a short summary that can highlight some of the most important reasons to adopt instead of purchase.

Cat Selection & Post Adoption Support:

  • Pre adoption support & guidance: Cat shelters and rescues end up taking care of cats for at minimum a few days before the cat is considered for adoption. The people that interacted with the cat gain valuable information about the personality and demeanor of the cat which can be be extremely useful for potential adopters. If you’re looking for a lazy, low energy lap cat versus a high energy play all the time type of cat then the folks at the adoption center or foster home can definitely help you select the right cat.
  • Post adoption support & guidance: Shelters and rescues are in place for the welfare of the animals, the last thing a rescue wants you to do is adopt the cat and then return it a few weeks later because it isn’t behaving as expected. To ensure you have a positive experience the bulk of people working in shelters and rescues go out of their way to provide you with all of the knowledge you need to take care of your cat properly and have fun doing it. This includes adoption guides, introduction guides, phone check ins, email check ins and the list goes on.
  • You can adopt an adult cat: While a lot can be said about how darn cute kittens are, if you’ve ever raised one yourself you’d probably think differently about wanting to adopt one. When kittens are just over 8 weeks they can be adopted out to a family safely, but that doesn’t mean they are fully independent by any stretch of the word. Kittens require constant attention and without appropriate training and socialization from you and your family they can develop troublesome habits like biting and scratching.  Adult cats, typically somewhere between 12-18 months or older, already have a much more established personality and have already passed through these phases.
  • Emergency support: If you ever encounter a situation where you are no longer able to take care of your cat anymore, the bulk of rescues ask that you do your best to return the cat to that specific rescue.  This means that if you end up sick or end up moving out of the country short notice and can no longer care for your feline you can return it to the rescue you adopted from and know that it will end up in good hands.

Animal Welfare

  • Animal care: The Humane Society of the United States estimates that some 90%* of pets available in pet stores are sourced from puppy and kitten mills. Mills are basically factory farms responsible for the mass production of young animals. These mills typically provide horrendous conditions for both the adult and young animals in them. The animals are almost never cared for properly and are often kept in spaces so small they hardly have room to stand up and walk around. This results in poor health all around and can be the key reason an animal you adopt from a pet store or a disreputable breeder can have health problems in every way shape and form.
  • Saving the life of a cat: When you adopt from a cat rescue organization you save the life of a cat. While the cat you adopt is already in the organization and thus safe to some extent, you’ve provided it a great new home that will make it much happier!  On top of this you’ve also opened up a space for that organization to take on another cat from the local pound where it might otherwise be euthanized due to a variety of factors.



  • Personal pride: You can be proud of the fact that you are helping an animal in need that might otherwise have ended up living on the street.  You can also know that instead of contributing to supporting puppy or kitten mills or a disreputable breeder that might raise animals in horrible & unhealthy conditions, you instead took the high road and helped make the world a better place.
  • The cost of adoption lower: Adopting a pet from a rescue or shelter is generally significantly cheaper than acquiring one through a breeder. Adoptions from most organizations will range from somewhere between $25 and $150. These costs are also often driven by age, so if you are willing to adopt an older animal from the organization you’ll often see the price on the lower end of the spectrum.  Note most organizations are even taking a loss on each cat they adopt out, sometimes in the hundreds or thousands of dollars.  If you can spare a few extra dollars as a donation please do donate to your local group.


Peace of Mind

  • A MicroChip ID: While anyone can install a MicroChip on a pet (and I strongly recommend you do), some shelters and rescues include a free microchip & registration for lifelong notification of a lost cat.  A common MicroChip included in shelter pets is from Avid. Avid provides a registration database for you to enter your pet’s MicroChip ID & your contact information so that if your cat ever escapesare ever lost you will be contacted by any agency that locates your cat. If your shelter does not include it I’d highly recommend you visit Avid or a similar company to get your pet Microchipped ASAP.
  • Medical care & pet documentation: Cats adopted from shelters and rescues will always include the full historic information of the pet and shelters will not let someone adopt a cat without fully disclosing any medical or behavioral concerns. This documentation will include the veterinarian’s intake report that documents the health of the animal upon entry into the system all the way through to every medical procedure performed and every drug administered. This ensures you know what your cat went through before it ends up in your home and also ensures you have a clear picture of any potential medical conditions you may be taking on as a new cat owner. On top of this, because cats in these organizations are often housed together the organization will ensure the cat is up to date on all relevant vaccines that will keep it safe and help it live a long life.


If you have any additional reasons you think should be added to this page please email me at and I’ll get your recommendation added!

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