It’s no question that here in the Philippines, we have an ongoing homeless animal issue, especially cats. Unwanted kittens from pet cats and from those living rough on the streets, as well as adult cats abandoned by their owners, contribute to their number. They are all at risk of dehydration and starvation, not to mention getting run over by cars or being mistreated by people who regard them as pests.
Animal shelters and volunteer groups help mitigate this situation by rescuing homeless cats or by practicing TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return). It is a process of trapping the cats, sending them to a veterinarian to be neutered or spayed, and then returning them to their original location (in a safer area, of course). According to CARA Welfare Philippines, a non-profit animal rescue clinic, TNR is a cost-effective method of preventing overpopulation and the most humane way of rescue aside from adoption.
For cats deemed to be at risk of illness or life-threatening situations, they are rescued and treated by organizations like CARA before shelters put them up to be adopted, giving them a chance for a better life in a forever home.
If you are thinking of adopting a cat, it may come across as daunting to have your future fur buddy come from a shelter instead of a shop or breeder. But why not give shelters a chance? Here are some purrfect reasons why you should consider adopting a shelter cat.
- You’re saving lives.
Cats in shelters have gone through a rough journey. Whether they’ve been abandoned or had spent most of their lives on the streets, they deserve all the love and food that a good home can provide. When you adopt a shelter cat, you’re saving two lives: the cat you’ve just rescued, and another taking your buddy’s place in the shelter.
- There is a variety of cats to choose from.
Cats come in all shapes, colors, and purrsonalities. Do you want a chill lap cat, a feisty little roadrunner or a chatty ball of fur? Chances are you can find them all (and more!) when you visit a shelter first before trying a shop to find your perfect match. Best of all, shelter cats are already spayed/neutered, dewormed, and immunized prior to adoption so they’re good to go!
- Cats are good for you.
Did you know that owning a cat has corresponding health benefits? According to studies made by the University of Minnesota and Frontiers in Psychology, cat owners with medical heart conditions had lower mortality rates than non-owners. This is due to lower stress levels gained from animal companionship, as it suggests that pets have a calming and therapeutic effect to their owners.
- They’re good for kids, too!
If you have a little tyke at home, it might be good for him/her to be introduced to pets (in this instance, a cat) at an early age as it will help build his/her immune system over time, lowering the risk of allergies as he/she grows older. Exposure to pets within the first year of life, according to the American National Institutes of Health, is 66% to 77% less likely to have allergic antibodies than those without early pet contact.
- You’re supporting animal welfare.
By adopting a shelter cat, you’re contributing to the efforts made by advocates to keep animals off the streets and into loving homes. Getting a pedigreed cat from a shop or a breeder may appear to some as a badge of achievement but this hurts the chances of homeless cats to get adopted. But if you are still set to get your little fur buddy from sources other than a shelter, do make sure that their breeding and selling methods are humane and do not involve abuse, such as overbreeding.
Still not convinced? Well, here’s a deal-breaker: You’ll have a friend for life. A cat that is well taken care of is a happy cat, and a happy cat is a loving cat. I can vouch for this. I already have four cats…and counting.