While it's almost impossible to determine how many stray cats there are in the U.S., preliminary estimates range up to 70 million. That's a lot of homeless cats that would make great pets. In fact, many of the pets that are in shelters are there because their owners have abandoned them for all different reasons including financial issues or even a death in the family. So we urge you to go and adopt a cat.
With that being said, most of the cats in shelters are litter-trained and they are used to living in homes and are just waiting until their next owner comes along. There are many places to adopt a cat. Checking your local Humane Society or pet shelter are great places to start. Humane Societies and pet shelters will most likely know exactly where a cat came from, which can be helpful for new owners.
Knowing a cat's temperament can be especially beneficial because some cats prefer to be alone while others prefer attention. Before adoption consider what kind of temperament you would like your cat to have. For instance, if you have children, you will want a cat that likes to play and be more interactive. If you are single and at work most days, you may consider a cat that is self-sufficient and low maintenance when it comes to human interaction.
Another thing to consider is whether you want a kitten, adult or mature cat. Many people think that adult or mature cats are "set in their ways" and that's why they steer away from adopting older cats. However, there are benefits to adopting older cats. With adult and mature cats, you normally don't have to deal with litter training since they already know how to use a litter box. Also, some adult and mature cats are used to other animals being around, so if you already have a pet, it may be easy for him or her to get along with other "siblings".
Once you have made your decision about adopting a cat, you will need supplies to take care of him or her. View our cat supplies checklist for easy reference. It's important to know that most shelters will require you to take your new pet home in a kennel or pet carrier. This new kennel or pet carrier can also serve as a "safe place" for your cat while he or she is getting accustomed to new surroundings. When you get home with your new pet, make sure to have proper water and food bowls for feeding times, as well as appropriate cat food. Be sure to ask the Humane Society or pet shelter if there is a specific food your new cat likes, and how much they are feeding him or her daily.
In addition, it may be helpful as a training aid to give your new cat or kitten treats since treats are a great way to reward good behavior. Don't forget to buy interactive toys to play with your new cat once you return home. This can really help create a bond between you both as well as make your new cat or kitten feel more comfortable.