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Ask Morris: Why are Shelter Cats the Best Cats?

Morris the 9Lives® Cat explains why if you’re looking for a new cat, you can’t do better than a shelter cat.


Dear Morris word bubble next to Morris and a cat being pet

This former shelter cat is glad you asked. That’s right, I bet you didn’t know that yours truly spent time at a shelter before my human brought me home to rule the roost. A lot of people would be surprised that such an intelligent and handsome specimen of the feline kind – if I do say so myself – came from such humble beginnings. 

I try to forgive the insulting reaction, but really, humans — you need a better understanding of shelter cats. Let me purr some education in your direction. Here’s why cats like me who come from shelters make such perfect pets. 

Shelter Help Match Cats with Cat Parents

The assumption that cats end up at shelters because they’re “bad cats” couldn’t be further from the truth. Cats arrive at shelters for all kinds of reasons that have nothing to do with their behavior. Take me, for example. My first human brought me to a shelter because he learned he was allergic — allergic to my awesomeness, apparently.  There’s only so much greatness some people can take. Luckily, the workers at my shelter recognized what a charmer I was, and they were able to assure my future humans that we’d be a superb match. As we indeed are. 

Many Shelter Cats are Already Socialized

By the time you meet a shelter cat, he’ll have already been exposed to all kinds of new people, animals and situations. Even shy cats are more likely to be used to people and well-adjusted by the time they’re ready for adoption. 

Older Shelter Cats Already have Established Personalities 

Yes, yes, kittens are adorable. I get it. But they’re just going to grow into adults with personalities, and who knows what that will be like? Shelters are full of safer bets in the form of adult cats with already-developed personalities. This makes it easier for shelter workers to match them to the right sort of person or household, so you don’t have a shy kitty going home with a family of wild kids, or an outgoing, active cat like yours truly ending up with a quiet couch potato. 

Shelter Cats have Received Medical Care

What do you think shelter workers do all day? Bat toys around and nap? That’s my job. Instead, the humans at shelters stay busy ensuring their cats have had checkups, shots and treatment for any illnesses or parasites. That means cats are healthy at the time of their adoption. And handsome too, if I’m any indication. 

Shelter Cats are Already Spayed or Neutered 

It’s time for some brutal honesty: The reason a lot of us cats end up at shelters is because there are just so many of us. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing after all. Shelters do their part to prevent overpopulation by spaying or neutering us kitties before placing us up for adoption. This also helps reduce the chances of behavior issues and health problems later on, like developing certain types of cancer. Statistically speaking, I’m likely to live up to forty percent longer than male cats who haven’t been neutered. And forty percent more of me is a gift to all humanity, let’s be honest. 

Shelter Cats Include Every Kind of Cat 

Got your heart set on a certain breed of cat? From Abyssinian to Tonkinese and even exotics like Bengals or Savannah cats, there’s a shelter or rescue for every breed of us cats. Although it’s worth pointing out that Domestic Shorthairs like myself make up for our lack of formal pedigree by being hardier and less prone to genetic problems than our purebred counterparts. And who needs a fancy breed when you have a fancy personality? I certainly never have. 

Personally, I don’t know why anyone would want to get a cat from anywhere other than a shelter, because we’re clearly the best there is. But if you need another reason to adopt a shelter cat, I’ll give you the best one: adopting a shelter cat saves lives. When you adopt one of us, you not only ensure a loving home for your own kitty, but you also free up space in that shelter for another cat in need of rescue.