During Adopt-A-Cat Month, American Humane hopes to not only encourage adoptions but to call attention to cats' unique needs. Although more people live with cats than dogs, the animal welfare organization says, cats get less veterinary care than dogs do, have less research dedicated to their unique health/behavioral issues and are more likely to die in shelters than dogs are. They're also less understood by the people they live with than dogs, and that can cause some difficult behavior issues.
If You're Going To Adopt, Adopt Now
In shelters, adult cats are always the most urgent. But if you really want a kitten, please adopt two! Litter mates are best. If you're considering an adult, also think about adopting two.
Bonded adults become friends for life. Having another cat to play with provides some much-needed exercise and relief from boredom. And two cats will provide companionship and comfort for each other when you're not at home.
There is a caveat though. Some cats prefer to be only cats, and some like dogs better than cats. Be sure to ask the shelter staff about your cat's likes and dislikes before you adopt a buddy for her.
What's A Cat Lover To Do?
-- Foster. Again, you'll be saving a life and making space for another cat in need. And yes, you can adopt out that foster cat when the "purrfect" family comes along!
-- Volunteer. Most shelters and rescues appreciate volunteers to help with cat care and socializing cats.
-- Donate. Shelters and rescues never seem to have enough money. And most appreciate donations of food (find out what brand they feed), bedding and toys.
-- Sponsor A Cat. Maybe you can't adopt right now, but how about sponsoring a cat? Contribute to her care while she's in the shelter and fill up a box with goodies like treats, toys and a comfy blanket for her to take to her new home when she goes. Network for her, too, on your social media pages. You never know who might see her and adopt.
-- Neuter/Spay and Microchip your own cats. If we all do our part, we can stop the flood of spring kittens that overwhelm shelters in June. And the microchip? That will be your cat's ticket home if he gets lost and winds up in a shelter.
-- Resist the urge to "rescue" and leave feral cats outside. That's especially important at this time of year, when the shelters are so full. At any time of year, feral cats rarely come out of shelters alive. Those cats will be happier and healthier if you trap them, get them spayed/neutered, vaccinated, ear tipped and microchipped and return them to their outdoor home. With shelter from the cold and rain and daily meals, chances are, they'll live long, happy lives.
-- Ask your local shelter to join the Million Cat Challenge, an initiative that aims to save the lives of 1 million shelter cats in five years.
So are you ready to adopt? Here's more information on adopting a cat.
Adding a new cat to your family
How to adopt the perfect cat for your family
Things to consider before adopting a cat
What to do when you find a stray cat