7 Reasons Why We Love Shelter Cats & 3 Ways You Can Help Them
1. Everyone loves an underdog! (Or should it be undercat?)
Rogue the foster kitten
What stories could shelter cats tell us? Many would tell tales of neglect, abuse, escape, or homelessness. We can only guess how hard their lives were before. Their mysterious pasts make us want to give them even better lives in the future to make up for it.
2. Cats love to recycle.
Cats are cheap! They turn paper balls into toys and dirty clothes into beds. Don’t throw out that paper bag; it’s your kitty’s new hidey-hole! Cats don’t care how much you spent on that fancy scratching tree. They’d prefer to climb the drapes and explore under the couch.
3. No one can resist the paw!
kitten paw in shelter Image courtesy of http://hamptonroads.com/2009/07/high-numbers-cats-shelters-euthanized
Cats are masters of manipulation. They’re experts at melting your heart with a well-placed paw through the cage bars. When you walk into an animal shelter, odds are you’ll notice the active pets first. Most adopters say the reason they chose that pet was because the pet interacted with them. Reaching a paw, jumping in your lap, meowing when you walk in the room – it’s like they’re asking to come home with you.
4. A little purring in your life keeps you healthier.
By now everyone knows that owning pets reduces stress, and being less stressed improves your immune system and overall health. Pet owners are 40% less likely to die of a heart attack. How many extra years will you live if you adopt that kitty in the window? With an adoption fee of $50-200 plus an annual cost of $500-1,000, a shelter cat more than pays for himself over his lifetime by lowering your healthcare bills and improving your quality of life.
5. Cats have professional training to defend your home from insects and rodents.
Many strays have learned to catch their meals, and they’ll bring that unique skill to your home. Your shelter cat might help keep your home free of bugs and pests. With 4 cats sharing my house, we don’t have live moths or beetles wandering around, or at least not for long. We also had a mouse incident that unfortunately didn’t end well for the mouse, who chose death by cat instead of the safety of a humane trap.
6. A cat’s the perfect cure for a boring party.
Kirsten and Chili the foster kitten
Thanksgiving is coming, and that means spending time with sometimes boring relatives. Good thing Grandma has a cat to liven things up. ‘Sure, Aunt Mildred, I’ll keep you company while you watch the home shopping network, as long as I can play with the kitty at the same time.’ ‘Oh sorry Uncle Jim, I can’t help wash the dishes; I have a cat in my lap.’ Bring a laser pointer for hours of free family entertainment!
7. Mutts tend to be healthier than purebreds.
Mixed breed cats, also known as Domestic Shorthairs and Domestic Longhairs, are protected from genetic diseases better than purebreds. Purebred cats pass on certain traits for a specific personality or appearance, but they also pass on genetic problems. For example, flat-nosed cats like Persians are known for having dental and respiratory problems, and large breeds like Maine Coons tend to have joint issues. Mixed breed cats don’t have such a limited gene pool, so they’re not as prone to genetic diseases.
Easy Ways You Can Help a Shelter Cat
“You could help me!”
1. Donate items you don’t need. Pick a shelter near you and ask them for a list of items they need. Check your house for anything you don’t need that you can donate. Every time you prepare to make a trip to Goodwill, make a pile of stuff you can donate to the shelter too.
2. Go pet kitties at the shelter. You can do a good deed by spending an hour a month socializing cats and kittens in your local shelter. Petting, brushing, and playing with shelter cats is a great way to keep them from being bored. They get exercise from play and become more adoptable by improving their social skills. Plus who doesn’t love getting swarmed by cute, cuddly kittens?
3. Sponsor a cat. Can’t add another pet to your home but still want to help? Sponsoring a cat means you cover a cat’s adoption fees or cost to keep him at the shelter. Potential adopters still have to go through the shelter’s adoption process, so you know your sponsored cat will go to a good home.