Did you know you can adopt a cat directly from the owner?  Loving pet owners may have the unfortunate predicament of needing to find a new loving parent for their cat and want very much to know their buddy is cared for.  The thought of taking their baby to a shelter seems heartless and scary.  Letting a shelter find their cat a good home is in itself a gamble and the possibility of euthanasia adds a never-ending uncertainty for the owner.  Some cats listed for adoption on GoKitty will be free though we encourage all re-homing owners to charge a small fee.  It may feel uncomfortable requiring payment but it helps filter out any predators wishing to do harm to cats.  Usually, the owner will donate the money to a charity or have purchased food or toys that will go with the cat.

How do you safely adopt a cat?  Here are some tips for adopting a cat from a re-homing parent.  A few easy steps will make the adoption process to be simple, safe, and exciting.  You should trust your instincts when working with sellers.  If you don’t feel comfortable with a seller, stop working with them, and contact us.  We work hard to eliminate unscrupulous sellers but they also work hard to appear legitimate and trustworthy.

  • Verify the age of the cat: Most cats for adoption will be older but on occasion, you will see a cute kitten that’s available.  Only adopt a cat that’s older than 8 weeks.  It’s illegal in most states to separate a kitten from the mother any earlier. 
  • Request many new pictures of the cat.  You will get an idea of how healthy the cat is, where the cat lives, and that the seller truly has the cat.  Sometimes fraudsters will steal a photo of a cat and post a fake listing for a price that is too good to be true.  When adopting a kitten that you can’t meet in person you should request photos of the cat next to a card or paper with your name on it.
  • Get a recent Veterinarian Health Certificate: Ask the owner to show you the cat’s most recent documentation of their veterinarian visit or a health certificate.  Call the vet to verify the record is legitimate.  Some local laws require the cat has a recently issued veterinarian health certificate.  Do your research, because it’s possible you will break the law if you buy a cat without the proper certificate.  Take your new cat to the vet for a checkup the day you adopt her.  Though unlikely, your new cat may have ringworm and will need treatment before bringing her home.
  • Expensive cats need more scrutiny.  Some cats are purebred and may be expensive.  So verifying extra information is important.  If you are adopting a purebred cat then you will definitely need the cat’s registration papers and pedigree to review. Research how to transfer the cat’s registration papers in your name if they come with papers.  The seller should be able to supply you with this information.  Fraudsters love to post cats over $100 and a lot cheaper than the normal breeder would charge. So, if you are looking at a cat in this range be extra cautious and follow these tips closely.
  • Meet the cast: It’s best to meet the cat in person before adopting it.  If for some reason you can’t meet the cat then you should use a payment method with buyer protection to protect yourself against scams.  When scheduling your meeting, agree on a public location and bring a friend or family member that can help you with questions, transportation, and a health check.  A parking lot of a pet store, grocery store, mall, or department store should work well.  Go during the day so you can easily inspect the cat and ensure your safety.   Ask if the cat comes with a cat carrier.  If for some reason they want to keep the carrier then you will need one ready if you adopt your cat at the meeting.  Ask what belongings will go with the cat:  You may inherit a cat tree among other items so it will be nice to have help and room in your vehicle. Ask the cat owner to bring something familiar from home that the cat would appreciate.  Something familiar should reduce the stress of being somewhere new. 

What to look for in a healthy cat:

  • Good muscle tone
  • Clean coat and well-groomed
  • No discharge from the eyes
  • No sneezing or runny nose
  • The ears are clean and pink inside
  • No bald patches or flaky skin
  • Warms up to you and plays with you at the first meeting

Questions you can ask the cat owner:

  • What are the personality traits of the cat?
  • What kind of lifestyle and habitat does the cat prefer?
  • Does the cat have any health issues?
  • What cat food do you suggest?
  • What kind of grooming does the cat require and how often?
  • Has the cat been spayed or neutered?
  • Is the cat litter box trained?
  • Is the cat kid or pet friendly?

Once you have your new furry friend in your home you’ll need a little patience, something familiar from the cat’s previous home and catnip to make your buddy feel safe.  Try to confine her to a room for a few days and consider leaving her alone when feeding.  Slowly show you are safe by being around but try not to get close or force her.  Let her decide to come to you.  If you have an active outdoor cat then in about a month you may consider allowing your cat outside but use your best judgment.  Consider asking the previous owner and your vet how to introduce the cat to your home – especially if kids or other pets live with you.  These suggestions will help but every situation is unique so research as much as possible before adopting.  You are now well on your way to adopting a kitty with confidence and will soon find a forever furry feline family member.  We have more tips on how to buy a cat with confidence on our buyer tips page.