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Where Should I Look for my First Cat?

Before You Get Your First Cat: Lesson 3


cats in rescue organization facility

Rescue Organizations sometimes have their own adoption facilities

Franny Syufy

New to Cats > Before You Get Your First Cat > Where should I look for my first cat?

In our first two lessons, we discussed things to consider before deciding if you should adopt a cat, and what kind of cat you might want. We're ready to move on to the subject of where to go to get your new kitty. The following are several alternatives, depending on your motivation and budget, and two alternatives you should NEVER consider.

Humane Shelters

You can do yourself and a grateful cat a huge favor by looking first at your own local shelter. In "kill shelters," cats are almost always destined for euthanasia (our polite term for killing) if not adopted within whatever time limit has been set for that particular shelter.

Shelters charge an adoption fee and generally require you to provide for <a href="http://cats.about.com/cs/vaccination/a/vaccination.htm">vaccinations</a> and neutering of the cat you bring home, or those costs might be built into the fee. Some shelters have arrangements with local veterinarians who will provide spay and neuter and shots at a discount; others use a certificate methods; occasionally a shelter might offer a small refund upon proof of neutering.

Shelters are sometimes dismal, sad places, but often the volunteers try to provide a bright environment for visitors, as well as for the resident cats. The third photo in the photo slide-show above is of cats in a Northern California shelter.

Before visiting a shelter for the first time, be sure to read "How to Choose a Cat at the Shelter." It offers valuable advice on learning how to select the right cat for your family.

Rescue Organizations

These volunteer-driven groups are springing up in abundance all over the U.S., Canada, and in other countries too. Some groups are fortunate enough to have their own "shelter"; most depend on volunteer foster homes to care for the cats until a permanent home can be found. The foster homes groups sometimes have regular "adoption days" where people can match up to a pet. A number of pet supply stores now open their doors to cat rescue organizations for weekly adoption day events. The first photo at the top shows the wonderful "store" of Happy Tails, a remarkable cat rescue organization in Sacramento, CA.

Breed Rescue Groups

Breed rescue groups perform a valuable humane service in rescuing and returning lost purebreds to their owners, and finding good homes for others that have been given up by their previous owners for one reason or another. This would be a good place to start if you're looking for a particular breed of cat. Expect to be carefully screened as reputable breeders will not place a cat in a household unless they're positive it will be cared for properly. No one wants a revolving door scenario for these cats. The second photo is the photo slideshow at the top of the page is a Siamese cat rescued by a breed rescue organization and displayed for adoption at a TICA cat show.Here's a list of breed rescue organizations for starters.

Next > Reputable Breeders

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