The adoption process starts with research and self-evaluation to ensure that you and your family are ready to welcome a cat into your lives. An example of evaluation questions is set out in our Adoption Questionnaire and the more robust set of basic expectations in our sample Adoption Contract.
Some of the questions you should ask yourself are:
- Are you really ready to welcome a pet into your life?
You should first think through why you are considering adoption – is it because you think the cat / kitten is cute, or you’re thinking of it as a gift, or are you truly ready to commit to the cat for its lifetime?
A cat can live for up to 20 years with proper quality nutrition and regular vet care. You should project forward for the next 20 years. Think about factors such as financial stability and major life changes, such as moving overseas for study/work, marriage, children, moving out of your home, etc. Only adopt if you are sufficiently certain that you can continue to provide for your adopted cat for the entire duration of its life.
- Are you ready to take all measures to ensure your cat is kept strictly and safely indoors?
Cats must be kept strictly indoors at all times. You will need to ensure that any grilles are no more than 1.5 inches wide for kittens or 2 inches wide for adult cats. This can be done in a variety of ways such as installation of grilles, attachment of plastic meshing to existing grilles or other forms of meshing. You should discuss the options with the rehomer of the cat / kitten you are keen on and ensure that you meet their requirements.
- Are you aware of the financial costs associated with a single cat?
There are numerous costs associated with a cat for the duration of its life including the following:
- Vaccination costs – there are usually 2 to 3 vaccination shots within the first year of the cat’s life, followed by a booster shot every 1 to 3 years. These costs can range from $30-$80 per shot.
- Sterilisation costs – this is a one time cost of sterilisation (mandatory requirement under CWS guidelines) that will be incurred when the cat is approximately 6 to 8 months old. The cost for male cat sterilisations can vary from $50 to $250 depending on the vet and whether there are complications such as undescended testicles. The cost for female cat sterilisations usually range from $100-$350 depending on the vet and whether there are complications such as pyometra or hydrometra.
- Blood tests – blood tests are recommended to be run annually for cats especially senior cats (from the age of 8 or so). Running such tests will help pick up any anomalies in the cats and help begin treatment more quickly for them. These tests are varied in nature and you should look up the costs associated with the tests.
- Specialised diets – some cats may have developed allergies to certain types of food, or just develop more sensitive guts with age. They may then require specialised diets that are may only be available by prescription and come at a higher cost than regular foods. Investing in a high quality diet is one way to reduce the chances of such complications from occurring, but you must also be aware that there is a possibility that these issues may still arise.
- Organ issues – as cats age, they may develop complications like kidney failure or persistent urinary tract infection or pancreatitis which are conditions that require frequent and regular veterinary attention. These costs can build up into several thousands within a short amount of time. You must be financially prepared for such emergencies.
The next step in the adoption process is to identify a cat/kitten that you wish to meet. You can do so at our Instagram, adoption board or at our adoption drives. Each cat is cared for by a different rehomer who is independent from CWS. They rescue these cats and kittens at their personal time and expense and are hoping for a good permanent home for them.
You will need to speak directly with them to understand their expectation (e.g. meshing, diet, etc) and then move forward if you are aligned. Once you are aligned, you can arrange to meet the cat while concurrently taking steps to ensure your house is cat proofed, you are stocking up on the right foods and so on.
Assuming there is chemistry when you meet the cat, the rehomer will arrange to visit your home to verify that catproofing is completed in accordance with their requirements.
If all is well, a handover is conducted (there may be a trial period discussed with the rehomer or a one-time handover) and your adoption process concludes with an adoption contract signed between the two of you in your personal capacities. CWS provides a template here. If there is a breach of contract by you, the rehomer will be able to sue you for loss and damage.
Generally an adoption fee is also applicable. This fee is usually a combination of two types of costs associated with rescue work:
- Medical fees – for instance the cost of a vaccination, deworming, revolution, etc.
- Defraying of daily costs – for instance cost of food, litter and transport.
Adoption fees are meant to help rescuers with reducing their financial burden of rescue which you will be able to see in medical bills and the daily care so it is always encouraged that an adoption fee is paid to help the rescuer to help more cats.