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Adoption Policies

To ensure successful adoptions for cats and people alike, we adopt according to specific policies.
These are explained in more detail below.

Age of Adopters
Adopters must be 18 years or older and present a valid ID.

In-Person Pick-Ups
Whether adopted in-person or through the online application process, all adopted cats and kittens must be picked up in-person by their adopter. We do not offer shipping of cats or kittens for adoption.

First-Come, First-Serve
All adoptions are considered on a first-come, first-serve basis. For cats housed in the shelter or at Purrington’s Cat Lounge, potential adopters must visit in-person to apply. Online applications for foster animals or those housed at other offsite locations are reviewed on a first-come, first-serve basis and potential adopters are contacted in order.

24-Hour Holds
Once you have met a cat at the shelter, you can place them on a 24-hour hold (except during some special events) for a small, nonrefundable hold fee. This is a good option if you would like to bring back the rest of your family for a meet-and-greet or need a little extra time to think about your decision. Holds are not available for cats and kittens at offsite adoption centers or in foster care.

Indoor Homes
Because cats live much longer, safer lives indoors, CAT adopts primarily to indoor-only homes. To us, “indoor only” means that your cat stays indoors and is never left unattended or free roaming outside. Cats who are allowed to roam free face accident, illness, injury, loss, or theft, and you face unnecessary veterinary expense, worry, and grief. But we do encourage you to consider catios and other safe outdoor enclosures, harness and leash walking, or use of secure pet stroller. These options will keep your cat and wildlife safe from harm, while providing your feline with the enrichment that outdoor stimulation can provide.

In rare cases—when we believe a particular cat can’t be successful and happy in an indoor home—cats may be approved to go to an indoor/outdoor home. Those adopting cats designated for possible indoor/outdoor homes go through CAT’s normal adoption process and sign a contract specific to indoor/outdoor situations.

CAT asks adopters not to declaw adopted cats. Your adoption counselor can provide information about the detriments of declawing, humane alternatives, how to properly trim nails, and how to train a cat to use a scratching post. For adopters looking for declawed cats, we sometimes have previously declawed cats at CAT awaiting adoption.

Kitten Adoptions
All cats and kittens must be spayed/neutered before they can go home with their adopter. Typically, kittens will be about six to eight weeks old before they are ready for spay/neuter surgery.

Kittens age 5 weeks and older may be available for pre-adoption. To pre-adopt a kitten, you will apply online and then complete an adoption counseling session. Pre-adopted kittens remain in foster care until they’re old enough and healthy enough for spay/neuter surgery. Once they have been spayed/neutered, the kitten can go home with the person who pre-adopted them.

FIV-positive Cats
CAT has a small number of FIV-positive cats available for adoption. The Feline Immunodeficiency Virus compromises a cat’s immune system, but FIV-positive cats can live relatively long and healthy lives. FIV is not contagious to other species and is not easily spread between cats. In most cases, FIV-positive cats can live with FIV-negative cats. Read our FIV Handout for more information.

FeLV-positive Cats
CAT occasionally has FeLV-positive cats available for adoption. We believe that cats who are positive for the Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) can make excellent companions and deserve opportunities for adoption. However, FeLV weakens a cat’s immune system, and most have a shortened life span (research suggests that over 80% of FeLV-positive cats do not live beyond 4 years after diagnosis). Because FeLV can be transmitted to other cats in the home, CAT only adopts FeLV-positive cats to single-cat homes or homes with other FeLV-positive cats. Read our FeLV Handout for more information.

Renting with Cats
Since we want to make lifelong placements for our cats, we ask that adopters make sure their landlord allows cats and to pay any pet deposits in advance of adopting.

Cats as Gifts
CAT has gift certificates available for those wishing to give a gift adoption. Please note that adopters (including at least one adult with whom the cat will live) must meet with an adoption counselor prior to adoption; choosing a cat is a very personal decision and plays an important role in making a lifelong commitment to a new family member.

Returning a Cat
Our goal is to make loving, lifetime matches for you and the cat you adopted. But we recognize that sometimes things don’t go as planned. If you are experiencing difficulties with a newly adopted cat, please contact your adoption counselor or reach out to our CAT Helpline right away for assistance. If you’ve adopted your cat within the past 60 days, you can contact us to schedule a return appointment—we cannot accept walk-ins.

If you schedule an appointment and return a recently adopted cat within 60 days or adoption, you may be eligible to exchange for another cat with an equivalent or lower adoption fee (or you may choose to adopt a cat with a higher adoption fee by paying the difference). After adoption, we always remain a resource for you, but we can’t guarantee that we’ll be able to take in a cat you adopted from us longer than 60 days ago. If you need to find a new home for cat you adopted more than 60 days ago, please see our information about Rehoming a Cat.

CAT reserves the right to decline an adoption.