Skip to main content

Adopting your cat from a nonprofit sanctuary may be the best thing you ever do

If you’re looking to add a feline family member to your home, cat adoption is a great option. Before adopting a cat, you might make a list of local animal shelters and humane societies that you should go visit. But you could be leaving out one potential adoption source: nonprofit animal sanctuaries. While sanctuaries don’t traditionally do adoptions, they do provide long-term homes for special cats, dogs, and other animals. If you do have the opportunity to meet, bond with, and then adopt a cat from a sanctuary, you’ll be supporting an important cause and just might find your new best friend.

Black and white cat in a kennel

The difference between humane societies/rescues and animal sanctuaries

Animal sanctuaries and rescues, like humane societies, are often confused, and in today’s society, many publications and organizations use the terms interchangeably. It’s important to understand some key differences, though.

According to the Regional Animal Protection Society, humane societies and rescues or shelters function as temporary homes for animals. The animals in these facilities may have been surrendered, rescued while loose, or even removed from a neglectful or abusive situation. These operations work to minimize the amount of time that animals spend in the facilities. Some animals are fostered out quickly so they can live in a home-like environment until they’re rehabilitated or otherwise prepared for adoption. Other animals may be able to be adopted out almost immediately.

Shelters can have a no-kill policy. According to PAWS Chicago, a no-kill shelter typically avoids euthanizing more than 90% of the animals that it takes in. No-kill shelters euthanize pets who are unable to be rehabilitated and adopted out. In contrast, open-door or traditional shelters may euthanize animals who have treatable conditions or who are even healthy in an effort to manage the shelter population and be able to take in additional animals.

In contrast, animal sanctuaries offer animals a forever home, states the Regional Animal Protection Society. The animals who find refuge at shelters often aren’t likely to be adopted out elsewhere. These animals might have behavioral issues, but many also have serious health problems, such as leukemia or diabetes. With care, the cats can have long lives, but they might get passed over again and again in a shelter. Animal sanctuaries provide a safe place where these animals can live out their lives. They may be staffed by employees and/or volunteers who ensure the cats receive plenty of attention and love.

Six cats relaxing on sunny stone steps

The benefits of sanctuary cat adoption

The Regional Animal Protection Society explains that it’s uncommon for sanctuaries to adopt out cats, but it can happen. While any sanctuary cat will have a home for life at the sanctuary, if the perfect adoption opportunity arises for a cat, a sanctuary might allow that adoption. Often, that arises when a staff member or volunteer bonds strongly with a cat. Since that person already works closely with the cat, they’ll have an understanding of the unique and often intensive care that the cat requires.

If you do encounter a situation where you’re able to adopt from a sanctuary, you’ll be opening up a spot in that sanctuary for another cat who might not be adopted through a traditional shelter or humane society. Sanctuaries have limited budgets, so they can only care for so many cats at a time. If you adopt a cat, that sanctuary could take in another cat who might otherwise be euthanized in another setting. You’ll also be ensuring that your adopted cat and the cat who takes its place will have lifelong, caring homes, and you’ll be helping to save two lives.

The decision to adopt a cat from a sanctuary should not be taken lightly. It’s important to consider how you can meet the cat’s unique needs, both now and in the future as your family and living situation evolve. Keep in mind that cats with health issues cost more to care for than healthy cats, and if you’re adopting a young cat, you could be looking at significant costs across the cat’s lifetime. Whether you decide to adopt from a sanctuary or from a humane society, you’ll still be helping a cat in need. What’s most important is that you adopt a cat who’s the right fit for your family and whose needs you can meet for the rest of its life.

Editors' Recommendations

Paige Cerulli
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Paige's work has appeared in American Veterinarian, Business Insider, Healthline, and more. When she's not writing, Paige…
This video shows another side to the war in Ukraine: All the cats
These cats are working alongside their humans in service to their country
Kitten peeks out of a military helmet

Pets might not be our first thought when we think about armed conflict, but they're a surprising part of it. In the current war in Ukraine, many refugees fleeing the country are bringing beloved pets with them and, luckily, neighboring countries have been able to take some of them in. Despite nearly impossible circumstances, animals are being saved and even brought to the US and going to loving families. Some, however, are living directly on the front lines with soldiers, including the adorable cats featured in this video.

In it, you see cats of all shapes and sizes hanging out with their buddies dressed in fatigues and often ready for action. The kitties climb up their people or ride along in satchels or assist the war effort by becoming lookouts (or at least pretending to). While they may not be a lot of help in that arena, they can provide friendship and become true assets to their units (some trained military dogs deploy with troops around the world to help with things like finding land mines and search and rescue). Interestingly, animals have always been essential to war, not just as the cavalry but in a companionship role as well.

Read more
These are the 10 most popular cat breeds, as counted by The Cat Fanciers’ Association
Here are the top 10 most popular cat breeds in the world
A Devon Rex cat is held up against a blue sky

The Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) recognizes 46 different feline breeds, but not all of them can be the most popular. That's why the CFA took a look into its registries to determine the top 10 most popular cat breeds of 2022. It welcomes registrations from "nonstandard" and "non-pedigreed" cats as well, but those feline friends weren't included in this particular count.

Which types of cats do you think were the most popular in 2022? Whether you can list off every breed or can't even name one, we guarantee there's at least one surprise on this list.

Read more
Are cats color blind? It’s a bit more complicated than you might think
The truth about cat eyes is a little more perplexing than you may know
A gray cat with shiny eyes stares at the camera

You may have been told at some point that cats don't see color, and pictured your pet examining the world in black and white. But as far as we know, only one animal actually sees that way (a fish) so that's not what color blindness means in this situation.
Cats aren't fully color blind, so they do see some colors, but not others. Taking a deeper dive into your cat's pretty eyes will help you understand them and can guide you with other things like training and play. So are cats color blind? Here's what you need to know.

How do animals see color and light?
A quick lesson in biology first: Our eyes (and those of our cats) use rods and cones to see light and color respectively (of course color and light overlap, but you get the idea). Most humans have cones for green, blue, and red, and if any of those are missing, that's what creates color blindness. About 8% of males (the human kind) are color blind, usually a form called red-green, which is somewhat similar to how our cats see.

Read more