There are certain life situations that may come up that mean you can no longer keep your cat as a family pet. For example, you might need to move to a more economical place that doesn't allow pets, or you may have a child with a severe allergy to cat dander. If you don't have a trusted friend or family member who can adopt your cat, a shelter may be the next best option. Finding a responsible shelter that will find your cat a safe, loving home is going to take some effort on your part.
Find a no-kill shelter. If you want to prevent any chance of your cat being euthanized, a no-kill shelter is the only option. However, these can often be overcrowded and have poor living conditions, so you need to be careful about the one you choose.
Check out the shelter yourself. Make sure the cats are not kept in tiny, cramped cages. If you choose a no-kill shelter, your cat could be there for years before a safe home is found. Therefore, you need to make sure the living arrangements are suitable. Many shelters offer “cat rooms,” which are basically large playrooms where many cats cohabitate. These are far superior to small cages.
Ask about the shelter's adoption process. Some shelters have none. They will not be able to find your cat a safe home. The adoption process should be extensive, and carried out by trained professionals who know how to interview potential adopters and look for warning signs of unsafe or unsuitable homes. Test out the shelter by going through the interview process as if you were a potential adopter. Pay attention to the types of questions asked, and the proof that's required to verify that you have a safe home.
Prepare yourself to foster your cat. No-kill shelters have limited space, so you'll likely need to hold onto your cat for a period of time, usually several months, until space opens up in the shelter. Meanwhile, the shelter you choose should still post your cat on their website in an effort to find a safe home.
Look for a shelter that allows an adopter an indefinite time to return the cat if she changes her mind, or if her situation changes, as yours has. This is a sign of a reputable shelter that cares about the safety and well being of the adopted animals.
Continue to look for a safe home for your cat as the shelter does. The best home will be with someone that you already know and trust, and who'll let you check in on your cat from time to time.
- cat image by nutech21 from Fotolia.com