‘Adopt, don’t shop’: 8 reasons to adopt a pet from a shelter

Are you on the market for a dog or cat? Consider rescuing one from the shelter! You’d be offering a pet a second chance while freeing up space for other (stray) pets. Plus, the shelter often has more details on the animal to inform your decision. Here are 8 reasons for adopting a dog or cat.

1. More room for other stray pets

Shelters are often crowded with dogs and cats. Your decision to buy a pet from a shelter means another stray pet will have a place to stay. Plus, it helps prevent the shelter from getting overcrowded, ensuring that the staff (mostly volunteers) can handle the workload and isn’t confronted with more stress and even higher workloads. In short, your decision to adopt will make animals happy as well as animal caretakers!

2. Giving an animal a second chance

The animal may have had a good life until its owner died or it got lost or injured and ended up at the shelter. On the other hand, a rescue dog or cat may have had a very traumatic past, including physical abuse or being born and raised as a stray with all kinds of hazards and diseases lurking. Adopting a pet from a shelter and giving it a warm home means you are giving it a second chance.

3. Shelter animals are vaccinated

Rescue pets have been vaccinated at the shelter, ensuring that your dog or cat is protected against all kinds of diseases. Plus, it saves you a trip to the vet. When a pet arrives at a shelter unvaccinated, it is usually the first thing they do. Shelter animals live in large groups, which increases the risk of diseases being spread compared to a regular home. This means that vaccination is important for the entire shelter. When considering adoption, make sure to ask for a passport. Most shelters keep one on record with details about the animal’s vaccinations and information on its medical history.

4. Neutered and chipped

In addition to vaccination, both dogs and cats are usually neutered and chipped at the shelter. Rescue pets aren’t usually given away for free, but they are cheaper than the total costs of having your cat or dog castrated and chipped, saving you both cash and a trip to the vet. Do make sure to double-check the details with the shelter before adopting a pet.

5. Prior knowledge about the animal’s character

Another benefit of adopting an adult dog or cat from a shelter is that you know what to expect. The animal’s character is fully formed and the caretakers at the shelter can tell you exactly what the animal is like and how it responds to certain influences and situations, such as dealing with children, being left alone, if it is adventurous or introverted and whether or not it likes to cuddle. With a pup or kitten, these things are often difficult to tell because the character hasn’t been formed yet. Plus, adopting a rescue pet also helps avoid surprises in terms of looks, size and coat.

6. Preventing illegal trade

Unfortunately, a search for a pup or kitten may expose you to illegal traders or breeders who aren’t too concerned about the health and wellbeing of their animals. It is difficult to distinguish these practices from legitimate breeders, especially online. It is always recommended to visit a breeder for that reason, but even then, you don’t necessarily get to see the whole picture. Adopting from abroad is another risky situation. An additional downside is that there are no guarantees that the pet isn’t carrying any dangerous diseases. Adopting a rescue pet from a shelter means a guarantee that you aren’t supporting illegal trade and that the animal is free of dangerous/infectious diseases.

7. Fewer stray cats

Some countries have large numbers of stray dogs and cats. In addition to the fact that stray cats don’t tend to have high quality lives, their natural hunting behaviour can harm the environment. Cats catch a lot of birds every year which poses a threat to endangered species. Adopting a (neutered) cat from the shelter helps reduce the number of stray cats, making it a very environmentally conscious choice.

8. Demonstrate your conscious choice

In addition to doing the pet, the shelter and yourself a favour with your newly rescued buddy, it also demonstrates that you made a conscious choice. Explain to your (grand)kids why you decided to adopt a rescue pet. Who knows, you may inspire your environment to visit the local shelter one day!

Read more:

Where to buy a cat
Tips for buying a dog
Vaccinating kittens: what, why and when
Vaccinating dogs: why and when
What type of
dog or cat is best for me


Read more

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