It’s not too late to celebrate June’s special pet theme: Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat Month. For pet parents looking for a special furry friend to spend their days with, there is always an influx of adorable felines waiting to find forever homes.
If you’ve been thinking about bringing a kitty home, June is a great month to do so, as many rescue groups and shelters may have special events this month. Or, if you're not able to welcome a new member into your family right now, there are other ways to celebrate this month and support shelter cats.
Read on to find out all the ways you can help.
Attend Pop-Up Events Hosted by Rescue Groups
Many adoption events for shelter cats take place at local pet stores, parks, and other types of locations. These events are usually held by rescue groups that want to make sure their animals go to a good home.
At pop-up events, there is an emphasis on getting to know the individual animals with volunteers available to ask questions, and adoption can be more immediate than they’d usually be at the regular shelters.
Be sure to check in with local rescue groups on social media or by phone because many do not have a permanent physical location, says veterinarian and Spruce Pets Veterinary Review Board member Amy Fox.
Visit the Local Animal Care and Control Shelter
Rescue groups are often actively coordinating adoptions with their groups of animals, but shelters, on the other hand, can also be overwhelmed with volumes of pets that need homes.
Outside of events, you may find animals that could use a pet owner’s love here. Unlike at pet stores, animals at shelters are most in need of homes and may be more at risk for euthanasia if they are not adopted, Fox said. Finding a cat that has been in the shelter for a while may be the best way to make that pet’s day—and life—this month.
Volunteer With or Support Your Local Shelter
If you’re not looking to adopt, there are other ways you can help animals find their forever homes. Volunteering at a shelter can be a great way to help care for cats waiting for homes.
“Many times this can be as fun and easy as playing with them to help socialize them and give them exercise,” Fox said.
If you don’t volunteer with your time, you can also financially support shelters; most shelters and rescue groups are in need of donations. This can be a direct monetary donation or a donation of supplies such as food, litter, kitten milk replacer, towels, toys, beds, and more.
Many rescue groups have wish lists of what supplies they need so be sure to ask about that as well. Rescue groups and shelters alike often have cats throughout their extensive foster networks looking for homes too, so the foster system may also be a great avenue.
Do Your Research Before You Adopt
It can be easy to idealize a pet, but in reality, the responsibility can be heavy if a new owner is unprepared, Fox said.
“Be sure to think about all that a new cat will need before adopting, as it can be easy to make an impulsive decision to adopt when you see an adorable fuzzy kitten or meet your four-legged soul mate at an adoption event,” Fox said.
Fox advised purchasing basic supplies for your prospective new cat prior to adoption, so you are prepared and well-informed about caring for your new cat. Local shelters often offer educational opportunities to help you have all the information you need pre-adoption.
It's also a good idea to do lots of research about what cats need and if your home/lifestyle is compatible with one before you bring one in is also a good idea.
Consider Fostering Cats
If you’re not adopting, maybe fostering might be a better fit for you. A step beyond volunteer work at the shelter is to be part of the networks that rescue groups and shelters rely on for their foster parents needs.
Many cat parents started off by helping shelters temporarily take care of their pets before deciding to adopt the cat or before deciding to adopt a different one.
As a foster parent, your job is to take care of a cat in the interim before they are adopted out and play a major role in helping them be ready. With so many cats and so few hands to go around in helping care for them, this is a great way to be a bridge between their life in the crowded shelter and their comfortable permanent new home.
Consider Adopting a Senior Cat
While tiny kittens are adorable and obviously appealing because of their infectious energy and playfulness, Fox also recommends giving the older felines a chance as well.
“I always recommend looking at the adult and senior cats too since they tend to be overlooked yet often make the best matches,” she said. Kitten care can be overwhelming since they tend to get into lots of mischief and can’t be left alone for long periods of time. Adult and senior cats are often lower maintenance and you know more about their personalities.”
When selecting a cat in a shelter, often senior cats are already socialized and used to humans, so they may be a great fit for first time cat owners. At the same time, they also can fit in well if your home is already full of other furry friends.
“If you know you really want a good mouser, lap cat, or a cat that will be compatible with your other pets, a shelter or rescue group will be able to direct you to an adult cat that fits your wish list,” Fox said.
Senior cats are often especially difficult to home, but keep in mind cats live a very long time (sometimes into their 20’s!). A senior cat can have lots of life left and lots of love to give.
Above all, you can feel especially good about rescuing a kitty who needs love the most; he/she may not be as “obvious” a choice as a younger kitten, but also needs just as much attention and care.