Myth vs. Fact: Debunking Common Misconceptions About Adopting a Cat

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Are you thinking about welcoming a feline friend into your life? Cats are fantastic companions, offering everything from playful antics to comforting purrs. And since June is National Adopt a Cat Month, now is the perfect time to welcome a furry family member into your life.

However, some misconceptions lingering around cat adoption deter potential pet parents. As veterinarians, we’re here to dispel those myths! Keep reading to discover the truth behind some common beliefs that simply aren’t true, and learn why you should open your heart and home to an adopted cat.

Myth 1: Shelter Cats Are Unhealthy or Damaged

This is a big misconception that simply isn’t true! Shelters are dedicated to the well-being of animals. Before adoption, cats undergo thorough medical examinations, receive vaccinations and parasite prevention, and are treated for existing conditions. Many shelters even partner with local veterinarians for ongoing care.

Shelters do adopt out special needs cats with various health issues and disabilities, as well. However, they disclose that information to prospective adopters in these situations to ensure cats find their forever homes with people who can meet their needs. No reputable shelter or rescue will knowingly send you home with a cat with undisclosed health issues.

Beyond physical health, shelter staff work tirelessly to assess each cat’s personality. You’ll find a remarkable variety of ages, breeds (mixed and purebred!), and temperaments — Playful kittens, laid-back seniors, and everything in between.

Friendly Cat bonding with new human adoption.

Myth 2: Adopting a Kitten Is Better Than Adopting an Adult Cat

Look here to find 10 reasons to adopt a senior cat! Sure, kittens are undeniably adorable, but don’t rule out adopting an adult cat. Many adults are already litter trained, saving you valuable training time. Their energy levels tend to be lower, too, making them ideal for apartment dwellers and people with busy schedules.

Don’t underestimate the power of an adult cat’s love, either. They can be just as cuddly and affectionate as their younger counterparts!

Myth 3: Cats Are Aloof and Don’t Form Strong Bonds

This myth couldn’t be further from the truth! While cats communicate affection differently than dogs, their love is just as real. Pay attention to their subtle cues: the gentle head nudge, the rhythmic purr against your leg, and the slow blink that signifies trust and contentment. Cats are incredibly loyal companions, offering comfort and companionship in their own unique way. The bond you’ll forge with an adopted cat will be a rewarding and heartwarming experience.

Myth 4: Cats Are High-Maintenance Pets

Cats’ basic needs are simple: fresh food and water, a clean litter box, a scratching post to satisfy their instincts, toys and playtime to keep them stimulated, and veterinary care. Feeding requirements are straightforward. Your vet can help you choose a food appropriate for your cat’s age and activity level. Cats are generally clean animals, and they don’t require constant attention. With a little effort on your part, you can create a comfortable, enriching environment for your feline friend.

Myth 5: Cats Require a Lot of Space and Can’t Live in Apartments

While some cat breeds thrive in larger spaces, most felines adapt well to apartment living. The key is to provide vertical space for climbing and exploration. Invest in cat trees, wall shelves, and window perches to create a stimulating environment. Rotate toys often to keep your feline friend engaged, and schedule dedicated playtime sessions.

Torti Cat exploring new home after adoption.

Myth 6: Purebred Cats Are Superior to Mixed-Breed Cats

Purebred cats, while undeniably beautiful, can be susceptible to breed-specific health conditions. Mixed-breed cats, however, are often healthier due to their genetic makeup. Shelter cats come in all sizes, shapes, and fur patterns, so you should have no problem finding one that’s just as adorable as a purebred. Their unique personalities and mixed ancestry can lead to a truly one-of-a-kind companion. Plus, adopting a shelter cat saves a life in need.

Don’t rule out adoption, even if you have your heart set on a certain breed. With patience and research, it’s possible to find purebred cats who need homes. There are countless breed-specific rescues, and you never know what type of cat might pop up at your local shelter.

Myth 7: Cats Are Expensive Pets

The cost of adopting a cat is significantly lower than purchasing one from a breeder. Adoption fees typically cover vaccinations, spaying/neutering, and microchipping. Food, litter, and routine veterinary care are essential expenses, but budgeting for these needs is manageable. Many shelters offer ongoing support and resources for new cat parents, helping you keep costs under control. Plus, some send newly adopted cats home with essential supplies like a litter box, litter, and food.

Myth 8: I Can’t Adopt a Cat Because I Travel a Lot

Love to explore the world, but worried a feline friend won’t fit your lifestyle? Fear not! With a little planning, you can ensure your cat receives proper care while you’re away.

Here are some solutions:

  • Trusted Pet Sitters: Enlist a reliable friend, family member, or professional pet sitter to visit your cat daily to provide fresh food and water, clean the litter box, and engage in playtime.
  • Automatic Feeders and Water Dispensers: These convenient tools provide a steady supply of food and water for your cat during your absence. Choose ones with programmable features to customize feeding schedules and portion sizes.
  • Enrichment Toys: Keep your cat entertained while you’re away with interactive toys that dispense treats or self-play options like puzzle feeders.
  • Cat Boarding Facilities: For extended trips, reputable boarding facilities offer safe and comfortable accommodations for your cat. Look for facilities with experienced staff, clean and spacious enclosures, and opportunities for socialization (if your cat enjoys it).

Embrace the Joy of Cat Adoption!

Adopting a cat from a shelter is a rewarding experience, and the bond you’ll forge with your new feline friend will bring immeasurable joy, laughter, and purrs into your life. As veterinarians, we’re here to help you give your pet the healthy life they deserve.

Ready to begin your adoption journey? Contact a local animal shelter or cat rescue. Many shelters have online profiles of their adoptable cats, allowing you to browse personalities and find the perfect feline match. Your purr-fect companion awaits, and we can’t wait to meet your new best friend when you bring them in for their first appointment.

If you have questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at 630-528-2713, or you can email us at [email protected]. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook, Instagram.