Tips for choosing a shelter cat?? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-25-2014, 10:13 PM Thread Starter
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Tips for choosing a shelter cat??

Hello all. I'm adopting a cat soon (yay!) and I plan to go the shelter and adopt a rescue cat. The problem is, I've never done this and I want to make sure to do it right! I'm going to the local kill shelter first and I'd really like to adopt there because I know I'd be saving a life. (There's three sweet cats at the local no kill rescue which I will apply for if I don't find one at the shelter) I'd appreciate any and all advice but I do have a few specific questions.
  1. Should I go once and pick a cat then and there or go several times so I can be sure of my decision? either days or a week apart? - it is a kill shelter :c
  2. How can I recognize a cat with the temperament I'd like? I wish I could be that person to adopt a "hopeless" aggressive cat, but this is my first cat and I don't have the skills to do it. Bless all you who do. Anyway, I'd like an affectionate cat, it doesn't have to be a lap cat though. They can be playful and independent too!
  3. How can I resist the urge to adopt a kitten? I don't have time to take care of a kitten right now, so I need to adopt a cat at least 9 months old or so, preferably an adult cat. But kittens are so cute I know it will be hard to pass up!
Anyway, I'm really excited about this! I just want to make sure I pick the cat meant for me
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-25-2014, 10:26 PM
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#1. I would suggest going a couple times, but to be honest, sometimes the cat picks you and you'll just know. Does this shelter have a policy where they will notify you if you're interested in a cat and their time is almost up?

#2. It's kind of a crap shoot with any cat you adopt. There's no guarantee the cat will act the same once you get them home, they're alone, scared, etc.

For #3, tell the person assisting you RIGHT AWAY that under no circumstances are they allowed to let you adopt a cat less than 9 months old. No matter how much you beg. Even if you cry.

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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-25-2014, 10:39 PM
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Congrats! And thank you for rescuing someone off death row. Here are some tips...

1. No question is off limits or unfair to shelter staff. Including asking about amounts of time cats spend there prior to euthanasia. Also questions about current health status and medications are fair. As well as questions about litter box issues, aggression to other animals or people, and history if it's available.
2. Shelter staff know the cats and while it's true that some cats may alter personality once they get in a forever home and away from all the other shelter animals, most cats will show their true personalities.
3. Certainly visit often and frequently. If you find a cat or two you think you like, ask the staff "Now I'm coming back to visit on Thursday, this cat will still be here unless she's adopted, right?" (refer to #1)
4. Check the shelter website. Sometimes they will give a description and a photo. I always encourage people to go meet all the cats, but sometimes an adopter has a specific appearance/age they are looking for and could narrow down in advance. But websites aren't always complete or up to date, it's better to go look in person - the website just gives a good preview.
5. Ask if the shelter has any adoptable cats currently in foster care and if they do, what the process is for meeting them.
6. Most important rule, pick a cat who picks you. And by picking you, it may not be the obvious cat who bounds out to greet you and hops to your lap. It may be the quiet sullen cat in the corner avoiding eye contact, but you catch giving you interested sneaking glances. Give everyone a chance.

I wish you well. I believe the getting to know everybody, narrowing down, and selection process is one of the most fun activities there is. Very excited for you.


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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-26-2014, 10:47 AM
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Ok when I saw gizmo...on petfinder...it was instant LOVE . Her description said she was a pure love, playful and sweet. So I went to new jersey (I'm in ny) and met her and that was it..she was so cute let me pet her, pick her up...sold. Had no issues. She was in fostercare and her foster (whomever she was ) did a beautiful job. I had wanted to meet her but she couldn't come the day I was there. Gizmo did hiss at other cats but at the time I thought I could only have one..so it was ok

When I realized gizmo was loney (I work crappy hours and would pop in at lunch..it wasn't enough. Got approval for another cat. Went to petco and needed a male, close in age and very sweet (gizmo didn't want to share me). Marshall was cute, small, close in age and when he turned around..it was a done deal..the bug bit me again . They took hi$m out and in a small area watched him play and interact with other cats...he didn't didn't bother with other cats...this is looking good they said he was sweet, a bit shy, but very eaasy going. His cage didn't say it...but he had litterbox issues...they told me then...well shoot..I'm already in love and think he will be good for gizmo as he is so laid vack and likes cats. I didn't care...I would help him. He wouldn't go in litter..I got him going in litter he just doesn't cover...sometimes gizmo covers for him

At first she hated him, but now....she ADORES Marshall, has to always be near him and they groom each other frequently.

Honestly if marshall was my first....I would have been a very happy owner..he is SUCH a GOOD boy. He doesn't like to be held or kissed...but LOVES to be pet and rubbed and brushed..loves a good brushing. Good luck!!! I agree your cat will probably pick YOU instead of you picking him or her. I visited marshall at least 7 times before I HAD to have him. I got lucky no one else got him before me
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-26-2014, 10:51 AM
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Sorry..I meant to say when marshall turned around...those eyes...those beautiful green and yellow eyes...augh that's when I had to have him
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-26-2014, 11:53 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the helpful tips! I need as much as I can get haha. And I love the story about your cats - they sound extremely sweet! I'm definitely hoping that a cat chooses me and that I can recognize it. My biggest problem is logistics - I get off at 5 every day and the shelter closes at 6 (and stops adoptions at 5:30). So I'm hoping to go two or three times in a week after work and then adopt on Saturday if I find the right one...I'm really excited to get a cat but I don't want to make a rush decision in impatience! (I'm already having to wait until after an out of town trip in early February so I'm not sure if I should even go before then)
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-26-2014, 12:55 PM
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I think you will know. They will play on your heartstrings through the night after you meet them (but get as much info as you can first). This life changing decision might even be worth taking a couple day off work for!

My only suggestions - as one that is new to shelter work - is to find the most knowledgeable person there - one that really knows these cats and has worked and played and interacted with them.

#2 is ditto what Marie73 said. DO not fall for the kittens - yes they are cute - yes they are cuddly because they are scared in the shelter setting but once home they turn into demons that destroy your house, your nerves and your manners. ok, maybe a bit dramatic here, but with adults and seniors - WYSIWYG, what you see is what you get. If the cat has been there a while and is settled into shelter life and well socialized, it will be closer to their true personality. A kitten - well, you just don't know how that little personality will turn out and it's a long painful road to get there. That is why we see so many 1 and 2 year olds at the shelters: the kitten was cute - the adult not so much.

Thank you for adopting from a city or municipal shelter - you truly do save lives by doing this.

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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-26-2014, 01:37 PM
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Nothing much to add to the advice you have been given - I admire you for doing it this way.

Let your instincts work but back it up with really watching the cats, observing them closely and ask for as many details as possible. If the shelter posts info on the cages, read as much as possible.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-26-2014, 03:11 PM
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My wife and I picked out Inky to check out. The shelter worker put us at one end of a long room. Then took Inky out of his room and put him on the floor at the other end. He was in my lap and purring within 5 seconds. He must have RAN to me. He loved to be held and petted. He was so sweet we had to take him. When we first got him he wanted to be held all the time. Then after a couple of weeks he didn't want to be held anymore but he still loves to be petted. We've had him for two years now. He's a very sweet cat. I love him.

So, to make a short story long, pick the cat that picks you.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-26-2014, 04:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calypsocoin View Post
(I'm already having to wait until after an out of town trip in early February so I'm not sure if I should even go before then)
Wait until you come back. It's only a couple more weeks.

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