How do you safely adopt a cat? Here are some tips for adopting a cat from a re-homing parent. We encourage you to remember to listen to your intuition! If you feel uncomfortable with the seller, it may be best not to continue with the adoption.
Request to meet the cat. This meeting should be in a public place for your safety and it should give you an idea of how caring the seller is. Use this opportunity to get an idea of the cat’s health and personality. Also, be sure to verify the age of the cat. Cats for adoption are usually older but, occasionally, there is a cute kitten listed. Only adopt a cat if it is older than 8 weeks, this is generally the age at which states allow kittens to be separated from their mothers.
If a meeting is not possible, request pictures or video of the cat. You should still be able to get an idea of how healthy the cat is, as well as if the living conditions for the cat are acceptable. Video can also serve as validation of the seller’s possession of the cat. Be aware that scammers will use photos of cats/kittens that they do not have in their possession; request to have a card or specific item included in the picture so you can verify the seller has the cat.
It is also important to ensure the health of the cat or kitten up for adoption. Ask the owner to provide you with the most recent health records or other documents given to them by a vet. Call the vet to verify the record is legitimate. Some local laws require the cat to have a veterinarian issued health certificate. Be sure to research your local and state laws for this information and any other updates. We strongly suggest taking the cat to your vet after the adoption, this is for your continued safety as well as the cat’s.
If you are adopting online, be sure to protect your purchase. Only use verified and protected methods of payment if transacting online. Friends’ and family members’ payment methods are NOT safe and should not be used. If a seller asks to be paid in gift cards or the like, STAY AWAY from the adoption!
Signs of a healthy cat/kitten
Lack of discharge from the eyes and nose
Good muscle tone
No sneezing or coughing
Clean and pink ears
No bald patches or flaky skin
Questions you can ask the cat owner:
What is the personality of the cat like?
What lifestyle is this cat accustomed to?
Does the cat have any health issues?
What cat food do you suggest?
What kind of grooming does the cat require and how often?
Has the cat been spayed or neutered?
Is the cat litter box trained?
Is the cat kid or pet friendly?
Be aware that there may be a period of adjustment for the cat/kitten you adopt. This time will require patience, love and trust. Try to bring home something familiar to the cat, like a favorite toy in order to help easy the cat /kitten’s anxiety. Try to give the cat space when feeding and do not force close proximity. You want the cat to come to you. If you have an active outdoor cat, you may consider allowing your cat outside after about a month. Do not hesitate to ask your vet and the previous owner for suggestions when it comes to familiarizing the cat with its new home.