Summer is a great time to explore adding to your family with an adopted cat since kids are out of school and everyone is around the home more enjoying the summer weather. When visiting a shelter or attending an adoption event however, there are certain etiquette rules to know and follow to ensure the cats don’t feel stressed or intimidated by visitors.
The staff and volunteers in shelters are here to help with making visits a success and make the cats’ health and safety a priority. This includes making sure the cats do not become overly stressed from visitors. This is particularly important at an adoption event where the noise, chaos, and setting will be different from that which the cat is normally accustomed. Respect the cats’ space and listen to any instructions given to you by staff and volunteers. Be understanding if you cannot pet or hold the cats, particularly if you’re just there to visit and are not a potential adopter. Cats need space and time for themselves too!
When visiting shelters or adoption events keep these things in mind:
- Ask a volunteer if you can pet or hold a particular animal. They will know the temperament of each animal and will make sure a “grumpy cat” does not give you a warning swipe.
- Do not bring dogs or other animals to visit the cats. You may know that your dog is a big softie when it comes to cats, but the cats in their cages do not! A large unknown animal that approaches the cage can be extremely stressful because the cat feels trapped and has nowhere to hide.
- Prevent the spread of disease – use hand sanitizer between each cat that you handle. With so many cats living in close quarters disease can spread quickly. Help keep the cats happy and healthy.
- Keep young children with you and monitor their behaviour around the cats. Visiting cats can be a very fun event for kids, but sometimes the overexcitement can lead to children who move too quickly or startle an unsuspecting cat. The cat may react defensively in these situations so take care to explain to children how to approach a cat.
A few final things to keep in mind:
• Ask the staff and volunteers questions; they often know the cats well and can give you insights into their personalities.
• Consider cats that have different colors than you came in looking for. Did you know that black cats are usually adopted last? Many of them have amazing personalities (and look great in your Halloween pictures).
• Consider a senior cat or cat with a disability or health concern. If you have a little more time or love to give, an older or special needs kitty can be a great addition to your family and they will be forever grateful. Ask the staff what ongoing care will be required (and the related cost) to see if that fits with the care you can give.
• Have fun! Adopting your forever friend is amazing!
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