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Why Should You Adopt?

The following is a guest post by former PETA Files blogger Shawna Flavell in honor of “Adopt a Shelter Cat” Month, which takes place during June of each year.

Why should you adopt your cat or any other animal companion from an animal shelter? Because regardless of the type of animal companion you are ready and willing to take care of for the rest of his or her life, you’ll be able to find him or her at an animal shelter in your area.

I decided that I was ready to adopt an animal companion while I was living in a Chicago studio apartment. I had just graduated from college, and at the time, I knew that I had the space and resources to open my home to two cats.

Once I decided that I could provide a pair of cats with their forever home, I diligently researched each animal shelter in my area until I found one that I wanted to adopt from, and just in case I needed to make an appointment, I called ahead.

Turns out that most animal shelters are so eager to find happy homes for their animals that appointments aren’t necessary. I arrived at the animal shelter on a busy Saturday and was shocked by the number of kittens who needed homes. It was early summer, and many of the cats were only a few weeks old. They had been abandoned at the animal shelter by people who hadn’t bothered to spay or neuter their own feline companions, and after the cats became pregnant, their human guardians were unable to take care of the babies or find homes for them.

After telling an employee of the animal shelter that I was looking to adopt two cats, she walked me over to a cage where two black kittens were nestled against each other. One of the cats was male, and the other was female. The male had been the biggest cat in his litter, and long after the rest of his brothers and sisters were adopted, he’d been left behind.

The female was a recent arrival to the animal shelter; she had been found in an alley behind someone’s home. Initially I thought that I was going to be bringing home two adult cats who were already set in their ways—I wanted to know right off the bat what I was getting myself into! But after spending a bit of time with the young pair at the animal shelter, I knew that I was taking them both home with me.

Over the past six years, the female, Twila, has grown into a mischievous cat who gets into everything. She jumps onto shelf tops and walks around glass figurines as if she’s a tightrope walker. She climbs into open draws just to see what’s inside them. The male, Bulldozer, prefers to curl up in bed next to me as I read. But he can be feisty too. If he thinks that it’s time for you to pet him and you ignore his coy advances, he isn’t shy about using his teeth to nip lightly and let you know that he’s craving attention.

June is almost over, but I hope that you’ll remember that it doesn’t matter if you are longing for a loving pair of animals, a gentle friend who has been waiting in a cage for far too long, or a pair of kittens you are ready to grow old with, the best place to find a loving, caring companion year-round is your local animal shelter.

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  • TBone McGee says:

    I wonder how many PETA advocates use vegan pet food, it would be kind of silly to be a vegan/vegetarian yourself and be buying meat to feed your animals. has the best vegan dog and cat food around highly recommended!

  • Anna says:

    Hi! I’m from the Philippines.. Would you know where to adopt a dog? Thanks!

  • denis martine says:

    je recherche une petite chatonne bombay agee de 3 mois maximum

  • Kim says:

    One of my best friends adopted an adult cat from Newark Animal Control. People told her a cat who lived on the streets of Newark would be ill-tempered. Boy, were they wrong. She is so sweet and friendly, and loves to nuzzle noses.

    My own two kittens didn’t even make it into a shelter – I adopted them from a friend who rescued them out of a trash can in Brooklyn. No one could ask for two more loving members of the family.

    It should be illegal for pet stores to sell pets!

  • Kathi says:

    Adoption from an animal shelter is the only way to go. Five years ago, I adopted a beautiful male Bombay kitten from the Berea Animal Shelter and this past January I adopted two beautiful little sisters from PAWS of Ohio. These three kittens/cat are the best pets. I don’t know what I would do without them. They are extremely lovable.

  • Gizem says:

    Please don’t forget the diabled animals. I recently adopted a two year old cat, one of her back leg is missing. She is so cute and loving. I am very glad that I’ve adopted her.

  • Shawna says:

    I love reading all of your stories and it’s great that all of you are adopting your animals 🙂

    Kelli, sorry to hear that your landlord won’t allow animals. I think that you are doing the right thing by not sneaking any in though. Don’t want anyone to end up homeless.

    And Christine, I’ll let Bulldozer know that he has an admirer.

  • gina says:

    I’m headed there again today. ! desperately need a friend or two? for my dog.. she just lost her best buddie.. as did I after 15 yrs!.

  • Kathy Kennedy says:

    I will always adopt from a shelter instead of a breeder because these animals did not ask to be born. The irresponsible owners who do not spay or neuter their animals should be held responsible. There are too many beautiful animals being euthanized each year and it has to stop!!! Everyone should support their local shelters and put an end to the senseless killing of innocent animals.

  • Linda Reitman says:

    Yes, adoption is the way. There are so many wonderful kittens, cats, puppies & dogs who want somebody to take them home. And, in many cases, you will be saving a life at the same time.

  • Candace says:

    agreed – never buy!

  • MacCoder says:

    I adopted a 4 year old cat from Toronto Animal Services this past winter, and in addition to being the coolest cat that I’ve ever hung out with, she also had a bunch of things done at the shelter basically for free.
    At least in Toronto, the pound spays/neuters, gives all shots, checks for diseases, microchips, and included in your adoption fee is also a 1 year license for your animal with the city.
    So for $100 not only are you saving a cat (Toronto Animal Services, like most pounds, do euthanize for ridiculous reasons and will surrender animals for research, unfortunately) but you also see amazing value for the money. They’re certainly not for-profit.
    One last, cat-related, note. The cat that I adopted from TAS has been the nicest, most friendly (if slightly needy) cat anyone could ever ask to have as a companion. So if you have the mental image of the pound being full of angry cats fresh from the mean streets, that is absolutely not the reality.
    Adopt, don’t buy!
    With love from Toronto,

  • Tucker says:

    ADOPT IT IS THE ONLY WAY TO GO DUH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Christine says:

    yay Shawna! so cute! i <3 bulldozer.

  • Rick says:

    We’ve adopted several animals: 2 dogs a cat and a hamster, I was surprised to find there are even shelters for rodents. There are so many animals that need homes. I know a lot of people that want puppies and you can get puppies from a shelter as well. It is usually much less expensive to get a shelter animal and you can use the pet as a tax write off.

  • Marie says:

    Those desiring a pet should adobt animals in shelters because they are in dire need, compared to those in pet shops and/or kennels or catteries. Also, shelter animals are neutered as a matter of course, which helps population control of unwanted animals.

  • Kelli says:

    My landlord says no pets yet he does NOTHING about tenants sneaking in pets. I wish I could adopt a dog or cat.