As the old saying goes, you can’t buy love. You most certainly can adopt it, though! June is National Adopt a Cat Month, and if you have been thinking about bringing home a feline family member, there is no better time to do it. Adopting a cat is a decision that you shouldn’t take lightly, but doing so could also impact your life in several wonderful ways.
If you have been thinking about adopting a cat but are unsure whether it’s the right choice for your family, we understand. As veterinarians, we are often asked about the benefits and challenges of cat ownership, whether adopting from a shelter is a good idea and more. In this article, we’ll be taking a close look at a few of the many reasons why adopting a cat can be an excellent decision if your lifestyle lends itself well to cat ownership.
1. Adoption Saves Lives
According to the ASPCA, roughly 3.2 million cats make their way into U.S. animal shelters each year. Sadly, about 860,000 are euthanized. Choosing adoption means saving the life of a feline in need. It also opens up space so the shelter can care for another cat in need until they find their forever home.
2. Adopting a Cat Is Great for Your Mental Health
It’s no secret that a pet can put a smile on your face, but did you know that they can improve your mental health? Research indicates that sharing your home with a furry family member can positively impact your ability to cope with depression, anxiety, stress, and loneliness.
3. …And Your Physical Health
By lowering stress levels, cats make their owners less susceptible to cardiovascular disease. The sound of a cat purring can even help heal bones and tendons and enhances joint mobility after injuries. Plus, kids raised around cats (and other furry family members) are less likely to develop sensitivities to many common allergens, including grass, ragweed, and dust mites.
4. Shelter Cats Have Often Established Their Personalities
Just as with people, every cat has their own personality. If you buy a kitten, you never really know what their nature will be like when they get older. When adopting an adult cat, though, shelter employees and volunteers have spent time with the felines in their care and can clue you into their personality. Whether you are looking for a peppy playmate or a calm companion, adopting from a shelter makes it much easier to find a cat whose personality is right for your family. During the time the cat spends at the shelter, the employees may also determine if the cat is good with other cats, dogs, and humans.
5. Adopting a Cat Makes Good Financial Sense
No matter how you cut it, having pets is a big financial responsibility. In addition to covering the cost of food, toys, litter, and other necessities, you need to be prepared to pay for veterinary care. The fee for cat adoption often includes spaying or neutering and vaccinations. It may even involve microchipping, a bag of food, or other bonuses. The fee is usually much lower than covering the cost of services separately, and it ensures that your new pet is off to a healthy start.
6. Cats Can Make Other Pets Happier
Cats aren’t just great for their humans’ mental health. They can make other animals happier, too. If you have a dog or another cat who is lonely while you are at work, a new feline friend may be the purr-fect solution. When adopting from a shelter, you can even “cat test” your current pets to make sure they will get along with their new family member. It may take some time for all of your pets to adjust to each other, but in time, a new cat can bring a lot of happiness to your home.
7. Rescued Cats May Have Fewer Health Problems
Just as in dogs, cats that are mixed breeds tend to experience fewer health issues.
Various kinds of purebred cats are prone to serious health issues, such as:
- Patellar luxation
- Hip dysplasia
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- And more...
While responsible breeders do their best to produce healthy animals, the risk is always present. Mixed breeds typically inherit fewer genetic problems. Any cat can get sick, but a shelter cat with a mixed background may be less susceptible to serious medical issues.
8. There Are Plenty of Shelter Cats to Choose From
Visit just about any shelter in the U.S., and you will find loads of cats from which to choose. From tiny, playful kittens to chill, frosty-faced seniors, shelters are home to cats of all ages, sizes, and colors. With kitten season peaking in June, now is a perfect time to find a new bundle of joy to add to your family.
9. Cats Are Well-Suited to Apartment Life
Finding the right pet can be tricky when you live in a small space. For apartment dwellers, cats are often a much better choice than dogs. They don’t require a lot of space, nor do they need to be taken outside for walks. Cats are low-maintenance roommates that can make even the tiniest of apartments feel more like “home.”
10. Cats Are Amazing Companions
Shelters are filled with happy, loving cats who want nothing more than a home of their own. Adopting a feline family member brings joy to your life and is incredibly rewarding. Ask anyone who has ever owned a cat, and they will tell you that they make great companions.
Cat Got Your Tongue?
If you’ve read all this but are still unsure about adopting a cat, reach out to your local primary care veterinarian. They'll be glad to know that you’re taking this decision seriously, and they are always happy to answer any questions you have.
If you are looking for a great way to celebrate Adopt a Cat Month, consider bringing a furry friend home from your local shelter. In doing so, you’ll help save lives and gain a new best friend!