How to Adopt and Care for a Shelter Cat

Adopt, don’t shop, they say. When you adopt, you are giving an animal a new home. At the same time, you gain a new companion and friend without helping perpetuate the practice of breeding.

Each animal is unique and distinct. Adopting and taking care of a shelter cat requires a lot of responsibility. Depending on their previous experiences, there is no way of knowing how long or well they will bond with you or adapt to their new environment.

The process of adopting and taking care of a shelter cat is a long one. It starts before you even set foot into the pound or animal shelter. Take heed of these tips from a UAE pet supplies company before taking the big leap.

Preparation stage

Much like visiting a pet shop, you need to know what you want before you get there. It would be wise to do your research as well on taking care of felines. Otherwise, you might prematurely end up with responsibilities you were not expecting.

The selection of cats varies depending on what they have available. However, there are still several factors you need to think about carefully. Some of these factors include:

  • Preferred age (e.g., kitten, adult, senior)
  • Budget
  • Household setup (e.g., pregnant, living alone, with seniors, kids, other animals, etc.)
  • Any allergies

Think of the experience as similar to raising a child, except in this case, the child never grows up. Consider if you have the extra resources and time to feed and train your pet, send it to the vet, and so on.

Similar to child-rearing, you will also need to consider if you have the budget for food, litter, carrier, accessories, and toys, among others. It is also vital that you know where to get these essential items or services.

If you live in the UAE, for instance, do you know where you can buy cat litter in Dubai or nearby cities? Living far from any supply store can affect the resources you need to raise your pet.

When living with other people or even pets, you will also need to learn how to prepare the rest of the family for the new arrival.

Adoption stage

Getting a cat from your local shelter requires research and close communication with the staff. When you visit or call the shelter, you should try to observe the condition of the spaces and how the team takes care of the animals.

During your conversations with the staff, ask about the behaviour of the animals to see which ones suit your situation best. It is important to note, however, that animals can still see it as a stressful environment. Expect your cat’s behaviour to change once you get home.

It is also essential that you find out what the cat’s previous living situation was like, as this will give you an idea of how to ease the transition. For instance, if you have other pets or kids inside the house, it would be better to find a cat who is accustomed to such situations.

Old vs. young

Deciding between adopting kittens, adult and senior cats requires a lot of careful consideration. Kittens may be cute but need a lot of attention and exercise to stay healthy. Like babies or young children, they also need training to reinforce good behaviour.

On the other hand, adults are generally calmer, even towards strangers, as compared to kittens. When living with seniors or kids, an adult or senior cat would make a better choice. Adopting an adult cat first is also recommended if you plan on taking kittens later on as the older cat can teach and socialize the young ones.

Bringing the cat home

Once you have your cat home, it is important to give it space. Ideally, you should carry your new pet inside a carrier and place both inside a room that doesn’t receive a lot of visitors. Later on, you can let the cat out to explore his new environment.

Introduce the other members of the family one by one, so he gets used to them gradually. By doing this inside the designated safe space, your cat can choose to hide if he does not feel comfortable. The same goes when it comes to introducing other unfamiliar faces, such as a local pet sitter, if you plan to hire one in the future.

Cats thrive better on routine. Usually, the shelter will provide you with cat food to last for up to a week and typical feeding times. If you plan to change the food or feeding schedules, do it gradually to allow the cat to adjust to the new routine.

Schedule for a visit to the vet within a week of bringing the cat home. In most cases, the animal rescue center will provide you with the feline’s medical records. The vet can check how well your cat is doing and provide you with more tips to make the transition process smoother.

Felines may appear tough and independent, but they do yearn for affection as well. Follow these tips when adopting a rescue cat to make your new pet feels at ease much faster.


Farah Al-Khojai is the Managing Partner of Pet’s Delight. A passionate entrepreneur, Farah holds a Bsc in Government from the London School of Economics. She is always on the lookout for new opportunities to develop and grow the pet and equestrian retail and wholesale market in the UAE and beyond, and is proud to be at the helm of the first and the largest pet care provider in the market representing world-class brands including Orijen, Applaws, Hunter, Savic, Flamingo, Ruffwear and Rogz.