How to choose a shelter cat who will match your lifestyle
I am thinking of adopting a cat from a shelter—but there are so many to choose from! Do you have any advice as to how we could best choose a cat to match our lifestyle?
What a great question! One option is to check to see if the shelter is using the ASPCA's Meet Your Match Feline-ality™ program. This program involves assessing each cat and surveying the adopter, then suggesting matches based on adopter expectations, cat behavior and lifestyle. If your local shelter is not using Meet Your Match®, we suggest you develop a list of expectations—for example, “I would like my cat to enjoy being held” or “I would love a cat who plays with toys.” A good way to start is to think about how you would complete this sentence: It is most important to me that my cat_______.
When you go to the shelter, talk to the adoption staff about your expectations. Be sure to spend some one-on-one time in a visiting room with the cat or cats they recommend to see if the cat behaves in the ways that are important to you. If the shelter is loud, it may be tough to elicit behaviors like play and cuddling, but you should be able to observe some behavior that will help with your decision. Good luck!