cat | 1 Min Read

Starting your rescue cat journey

So, you think you want to make the excellent choice to adopt a stray, mistreated or abandoned cat in desperate need of a loving family. There are thousands of rescue cats in animal shelters waiting for the love and support of a pet owner like you.

Now, the last thing we want to do is try to talk you out of adding a lovely new pet to your life – especially an animal that's already had a rough go. But adopting a cat involves a lot more than simply popping into the nearest shelter, pointing at one and taking it home. Before we jump into figuring out which cat is suitable for you, it's important to make sure that owning a cat is right for you in the first place. 

The big questions to ask yourself before adopting a cat

Many people, especially those who haven't been cat parents before, have the impression cats are lower maintenance pets than, say, their canine counterparts. But that can be a rather foolish assumption. All pets need a lot of care and attention, so you need to be ready to be in it for the long haul. The last thing any of us want is for cats to end up back in shelters. 

Here’s are some things to consider:

  • Some cats can live up to 20 years or more. Are you financially prepared to commit to feeding, medication and veterinary costs over this extended period? (Tip: pet health insurance can be a great way to reduce unexpected medical expenses.)
  • Do you have other pets or children in the household? How would they take to you bringing home a rescue cat? For example, it can sometimes be tricky to introduce a new cat to a dog household and vice versa. On the other hand, if you already have a cat, it’s important to assess their personality and behaviour to see if it’s suitable to bring another cat into your home.
  • Do you have demanding work requirements or go on holidays often? Long periods of isolation can lead to behavioural problems for your cat. 
  • If you live in a rental property, are cats allowed on the premises?
  • What's the adoption process? Are there requirements or fees involved? Some shelters may require a home visit or references, and most will have an adoption fee.

As we mention below, sometimes the best way to talk through any potential issues is by having a chat to somebody at the animal shelter. They want these rescue cats to live their best lives, and the only way that happens is if you're in the best possible position – with the best possible information – to give these cats the love and care they deserve.

OK, so you've had a think about those questions and are ready to adopt? That's great! Here's a few things to consider to help you match up with the right rescue cat.

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Kittens are less independent than adult cats, while senior cats may have more health issues to manage. Discuss these factors with the shelter, and make sure you're fully aware of any extra commitments that might come with getting a certain cat. Although adopting a cat with health problems can be challenging, it is also very rewarding to give these cats a second chance at a wonderful life. And you might just be the perfect person to give it to them!


Are you looking for a playful, active cat or a calm, laid-back companion? Spend time getting to know the cats at the shelter or rescue organisation. Sometimes these traits can be influenced by their particular breed, so do your research. Observe their behaviour and temperament to see if they would be a good fit for your lifestyle and household.


Ask about the cat's health history and if there are any special needs or medical conditions that may require additional care. Don't be afraid to ask the tough questions – the experts at the shelter won't judge you. They know this is a big commitment, and they want to make sure these animals are matched with the right owners. 

Adoption process

When it comes to adopting a pet, the best advice is to never make an impulsive decision. Taking your time and choosing your cat carefully is the best way to find the most suitable companion for you. Lean on the knowledge and experience of your vet, animal behaviourist or shelter staff. By talking through your personal situation with them, they'll be able to guide you in the right direction.