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If want to become a cat keeper, adopting a cat from a cat rescue is a way of helping a cat that may otherwise end up being euthanized. Before adopting a cat from a cat rescue, it is important that you explain to those running the cat rescue what type of cat you are looking for and how much previous experience with cats you have. By doing so, they will be able to match you with a cat that is suitable for you and reduce the risk of you having to return the cat to the rescue centre due to incompatibility. An older cat that has lived a hard life on the street for many years with no human interaction is for instance usually a bad match for a first-time cat keeper who may be better off with a properly socialized cat that was left at the cat rescue by its allergic owner.
The advantages of adopting a cat from a cat centre are many.
- You will give a homeless cat a loving home.
- Many rescue centres provide their cats with a health check-up and valuable vaccinations before handing them over to their new keepers.
- Many cat rescues spay or neuter all their cats, so you don’t have pay a veterinarian to do it for you.
- Many cat rescues guarantee to take the cat back if you can’t keep it anymore, e.g. due to illness. This means you don’t have to euthanize your feline friend.
- Rescue centres offer both kittens and adult cats. A kitten might be cute, but in many situations an adult cat is actually be a much better option. An adult cat is for instance usually the preferred choice for families with small children, since young kittens have not learned to retract their claws and may accidently scratch a child if handled improperly.
You should be aware that many cats in rescue centres have lived a tough life on their own or in a feral colony, and some have even been abused by previous owners. This means that behavioural problems may arise and it can take quite a long time before your cat begins to trust you and show affection. There is however also a lot of cats in cat resuce centres that turn into extremely warm, trusting and well adjusted pets in no time, so adopting from a rescue centre doesn’t automatically mean having to deal with a shy cat. The key here is to tell the cat rescue about you expectations and experiences so they can match you with a suitable cat. Some cats need more time, patients and perseverance than others.
In addition to finding new homes for abandoned cats, some cat rescues also provide care for feral cat colonies. Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), also known as Trap-Test-Vaccinate-Alter-Release (TTVAR), is an alternative to euthanasia for managing and reducing feral cat populations. TNR relies on spaying or neutering the cats to prevent new kittens from being born into the colony. When a feral cat colony is removed through euthanasia, fertile cats from the surrounding region tend to move into the empty area fairly quickly and take advantage of the resources that kept the old colony alive, such as food and shelter. In a TNR program, new comers are treated just like the old members of the colony, i.e. they are captured, sterilized and released back.
If you wish to help abandoned cats but are unable to adopt one, working as a volunteer in a TNR program is a great alternative. Contact your local cat rescue centre for more information.