view from above a tortoiseshell kitty looking down

Image Credits | All images: Sam Lion – 

Adopting a rescue cat is, without a doubt, one of the most heartwarming ways you can bring a furry family member to your home as you’re quite literally saving a cat’s life.

While there are undoubtedly challenges that come with adopting a cat from a rescue or shelter, there are also a surprising number of benefits that come with it that you may not realize. Below, we’ll go over five of the biggest reasons to adopt a shelter cat into your home.

1. Price – No Need To Pay Too Much! 

Sometimes a cat in need of a home might wander into your life as a stray. Usually, you need to be very careful that the cat who appears looking for food at your door is, in fact, a stray and does want to be rescued. Even if you can be sure of that, taking in a stray or feral cat in a moment of wishful thinking comes with its own set of challenges, namely paying for vaccinations to make sure the cat is healthy and safe to be around and taking them to the vet for a general check-up. This alone can cost a few hundred dollars depending on who you go to and what you end up getting for them. In that situation, you are best taking your stray to a shelter, making it clear that you want to adopt but get their help in making that transition.

Cats from places like breeders or specialty cat stores can potentially become quite cost-prohibitive. Not only that, but you’ll likely end up paying for at least a few of the aforementioned medical procedures, even if it’s only some of the different vaccines.

Shelters, on the other hand, handle most of these issues right off the bat. From immunizations to chipping your cat to having them spayed or neutered, shelters have already done much of the heavy lifting. Keep in mind that that’s just for immediate medical concerns. If you’re dealing with a cat with special needs, some shelters may have different medications offered at either free or at a steep discount based on the area. They may also include things like unused beds, cat toys, blankets, and any other thing that can greatly reduce the initial cost of the cat’s upbringing, something that you’d be hard-pressed to replicate through any other pet adoption method.

2. More Unique Options

In addition to being more cost-effective, rescue shelters truly offer some of the widest variety of cats to choose from. Unlike breeders, shelters will have all types of cats available, ranging in appearance, gender, personality, or age. Rescue shelters have taken in a wider variety of cats who all need homes, and the shelter staff can also help you to choose a cat who fits your lifestyle and needs.

You may be a bit hesitant to opt for going through a shelter to pick up a cat due to potential concerns such as physical issues or behavioral problems. There are many cat lovers who choose to adopt exactly these cats with such issues, but it may not be for everyone. If you choose to adopt a special needs cat, make sure you know what you’re getting into, and most special needs cats are just as loving and lovable as fully able-bodied. Of course, only a few cats at the shelter at any one time are going to have these needs.

3. Cats Are Purr-fect For Your Mental Health

Often cats in shelters have gone through their fair share of trauma and are ready for an owner who will love them as unconditionally as possible. These cats may be more likely to sleep on your lap, cuddle next to you, and get extra pets from you.

This attention and free head pats don’t just benefit the life of the cat, but you as well. Cats have been shown to help you cope with feelings such as stress or anxiety. They also can come to your aid if you’re feeling physically under the weather. While getting any cat will provide you with many of these perks, you may be more likely to experience them from a rescue cat that knows that you need her just as much as she needs you.

As long as you’re asking the right questions at the shelter they will make sure you find a cat that will give you the affection you seek, which is great for the long-term bond and mental health of both you and your cat.

As for those cats that do have trust issues, every shelter has a group of foster owners and cat lovers that they know can handle those cats. My neighbor is one who currently has eight shelter cats, none of which show her any affection, but she loves and cares for them all the same. It works for her, and it works for them!

4. Helps Prevent Overbreeding

While getting a cat from a rescue shelter isn’t going to automatically reduce the number of breeders, it can help chip away at a large number of unwanted cats. Adopting a pet means you aren’t purchasing from a pet store or breeder and encouraging them to continue breeding cats who may not find a home.

Going through a rescue shelter isn’t going to necessarily change the mind of cat breeders outright, but it does ensure that you aren’t contributing to the problem of overbreeding. There are several reasons to purchase a specific breed of cat, and for some cat owners that is a necessity. But for so many cats who need a second chance, adoptions are their only hope.

5. You’re Saving A Life

Last but not least, when you get a cat from a rescue shelter, you’re also quite literally saving its life.

Cats at rescue shelters don’t have a backup plan. If a cat isn’t picked up from a rescue shelter, chances are the shelter will have to eventually put the cat down to make room for the influx of newer cats brought in.

While this is sadly true, it’s even more of an issue for black and orange cats, who are picked the least and are most prone to being euthanized due to age-old superstitions where black cats were seen as ill omens. Unfortunately, this means these two cat colors are the most likely to be put down, making them the ideal option for someone interested in a cat while also saving a life.

And, of course, as soon as you take a cat home from the shelter, you’ve freed up a space for another cat to come in. So you’ve saved not just the cat you took home but another as well.

Adopting a Rescue Cat: The Verdict

Cats from rescue shelters want to be loved. They want to be picked, and they want to be given the opportunity to be part of a family. Ultimately, while I can never say alternative ways of getting a cat are bad, what I can say is that the love and affection a rescue shelter cat will offer can change both your life and theirs.


Guest Author: Dexter Jones is the head of content at We Love Cats and Kittens. He has been a solid member of the ‘Mad Cat Dad’ club since time began! Dexter has been a keen cat writer for many years and lives in Croatia with his two tabby cats, Milly & Marly, who also flew in from the UK to start their new Adriatic island life together.

It’s Pet Dental Health Month again! We all know that we are supposed to brush and floss our teeth regularly to maintain oral health, but did you know that your pets also need regular dental care? Approximately 70% of cats  and 80% of dogs in the United States are affected by dental disease. Caring for your pet’s oral hygiene may not be fun, but it can help prevent health problems later.

Tools for Home Dental Care

  • Toothbrushes: Be sure to use a pet appropriate toothbrush. You can use soft bristled brushes that look much like human toothbrushes but are smaller or finger brushes with rubber bristles. Some people even use gauze wrapped around their finger, but be careful it doesn’t snag on your pet’s teeth if you do that.
  • Toothpaste: Always use pet safe toothpastes; never use human toothpaste. Human toothpaste includes foaming agents and other chemicals that can upset your pet’s stomach. Pet toothpastes come in a variety of types and flavors. You can get gels or pastes in chicken, beef, liver, mint, or peanut butter flavors to encourage your pet’s enjoyment of the process. There are even some oral sprays that are designed to help break down tartar build-up, but make sure you introduce that slowly to your pet as well because the action of the spray bottle could be startling or stressful.
  • Chews and toys: There are many types of dental chews and regular toys that can aid in caring for your pet’s teeth and gums. Products like Greenie chews or Nylabone toys are frequently recommended by experts. Playing tug with a rope toy can even help “floss” your pet’s teeth.

Check out this helpful video from the AVMA about the tools and tricks for caring for your pet’s dental health at home.


Tips for Home Dental Care

Regularly brushing your pet’s teeth is the most effective thing you can do between dental cleanings to keep your pet’s teeth and gums healthy, and may even prolong the period between required dental cleanings. It’s not easy to brush your pet’s teeth every day (I know from experience), but even brushing 2-3 times per week can make a huge difference.

  • Start a routine when your pet is young. We don’t always have our dogs and cats as puppies and kittens, but starting a dental care routine as soon as you become their owner is important. You can always start later as well, but will likely face more resistance from your pet.
  • Start your routine slowly. Buying a toothbrush and pet toothpaste at the local pet supply store and immediately attempting to start brushing your pet’s teeth can be frustrating for you and scary for your pet. For both dogs and cats try to start small and work your way up to a full brushing over weeks or months. Here are some helpful steps from Petco to get you started:
    • Let your pet get accustomed to the toothpaste by allowing them to lick it off of your finger
    • Let your pet check out the toothbrush/finger brush and give them plenty of treats to encourage a good association
    • Massage your pet’s teeth and gums with your finger to get them used to the feeling, both with and without the toothpaste
    • Put toothpaste on the toothbrush/finger brush and brush just one tooth or a couple of teeth
    • Slowly work your way up to more teeth and longer brushing
  • Feed your pet a healthy, well-balanced diet. We know that your pet’s overall health begins with a good diet, but did you know that many dental health issues are caused by malnutrition? Work with your veterinarian to address your pet’s nutrition and develop a healthy eating plan. Consider feeding a VOCH (Veterinary Oral Health Council) approved pet food. Some pet food brands offer specifically formulated dental care foods designed to help reduce plaque and tartar build-up.
  • Offer your pet dental treats and chews. There are many brands of dental treats and chews out there. Try to find brands that are VOHC-Approved, as those have been scientifically proven to help reduce tartar build-up. There are many types of chews for both dogs and cats that are designed to help care for teeth while indulging your pet in some quality entertainment. Be careful with chews (like bones or antlers) that are hard to bend or break easily, as those can potentially result in fractured or broken teeth. While treats and chews cannot replace regular brushing, they can be a great addition to an oral health routine, and lots of fun for your pets!

Why Dental Health Matters

Dental disease doesn’t just affect your pet’s teeth and gums; it can also affect the function of other organs and body systems. According to the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) periodontal disease is the most common dental condition in dogs and cats and can lead to kidney, liver, and heart changes in your pet’s older years. Neglecting your pet’s teeth can cause chronic pain and may even lead to weight loss and behavioral changes.

Always be sure to schedule regular veterinary exams for your pets. Annual exams include a dental check-up, which can help you catch signs of dental disease early. Be sure to mention anything out of the ordinary, like foul smelling breath, loss of appetite, or excessive drooling, to your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will also provide regular teeth cleanings, extractions, or repairs if necessary to help maintain your pet’s oral health.

Providing regular home dental care for your pets can help prevent problems like bad breath or tooth loss as well as keep any dental disease from worsening, thus reducing the risk of chronic pain or organ damage.

Not sure how much you already know about your pet’s dental health? Take this quiz from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) to find out!