Cats available at Pet Stores vs Shelters

tabbykat

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Hi,

This is my first post but I've been led to this site frequently with my cat questions and always appreciated the help I've found here. :)

I'm looking into possibly adopting another cat or kitten in the near future and have been looking on PetFinder.com (there are so many...how does one choose?!!).  I have a question about cats who live in shelters and/or are fostered in people's homes vs those at a pet store; I'm not talking about the adoption events on the weekends (I got my two kitties at such an event 10 yrs ago:), but the cats who are in the pet store's cages.  Please tell me if I'm correct in my thinking or if I'm off base.  It would seem to me that the cats in the pet stores are in more dire need of adoption than those who are fostered in people's homes, where they can roam freely, or at a shelter, where they at least have a large room to roam around.  Is this correct?....Or, do the cats in the pet stores actually get adopted out quicker because they are out in front of the public?  When I inquired with someone at a Petsmart one time, they said their cats really don't stay there too long before they're adopted out.  But at a different pet store I kept seeing the same cat there for several weeks in a cage right by the check-out counter and another time at a different store (same chain/different location) I overheard an employee tell one of the customers that a cat was there for 2 months.  Even though the employees were wonderful and big animal lovers and they'd let him/her out of the cage at various times throughout the day, it still seemed kind of depressing to me.  

I've heard that the pet stores do work with a lot of the rescue groups so I'm wondering if they get rotated between foster homes and the pet store cages?

While I need to make sure I would get a new cat that will fit in good with my cats, I'd rather save one from living in a cage for too much longer.

Any insight anyone has on this would be appreciated.

Thank you! :)
 

fhicat

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I volunteer at my shelter, so I can give you some insights about what we do.

All our cats, whether fostered, in the shelter or at adoption drives (we don't do those though, but we work with several organizations who do) are in need of adoptions. Adoption drives naturally increase visibility for the public, and it's not surprising that they get adopted quickly. At our shelter, we get quite a few adoptions weekly; last week we adopted out 50 kittens, 27 adult cats, 30 dogs and a few puppies. 

We rotate the ones at the shelter regularly. For cats, we have two communal rooms where cats that get along together get a big room with access to an outdoor enclosure and can roam around. Then there are eight "condos" out front -- these are little rooms that some cats get all to themselves. There are two rooms with cages -- the ones you think about when you think of a shelter, and we have a few cats that get to roam around in the administrative offices. We rotate the cats between these places so that no one cat ever stays in one area for too long, especially the cages, unless they have issues -- for example, cats that don't get along with other cats won't be placed in the communal room, and cats that have cage-phobia don't get placed in cages.

We have a foster program too for cats that either need a break from shelter life, or don't do well in a shelter environment. The downside is that they don't get as much exposure as the shelter cats, although we try to do as much as we can "advertising" our fosters. 

So to answer your question, I don't think one is more in dire need of adoption than another, if we're just talking about fosters vs pet store cages. Sure, cages don't seem like a great place to be in, but as long as the staff are good about interacting with them, catering to their emotional needs, they do just fine.

Foster: lots of running place and as close to a furever home, but not as much exposure, meaning on average they may stay in foster longer than those out in the public.

Cages: Not a great place to be, but better adoption rate depending on organization.

Honestly, any cat you choose to adopt, you are saving two lives, and if I were you, I wouldn't worry too much about who "deserves" an adoption more than another. A cat that fits your home and your personality is much more important, as it would preferably be a lifelong commitment. Traditionally, adult cats, black cats and cats with special needs are less likely to be adopted, but otherwise, every cat wants a good home.
 

Draco

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I personally don't like to buy puppies/kittens from stores, that came from mills. I don't like to encourage this policy to make a profit.

However, all animals deserves a home, no matter from where.
 
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Willowy

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The cats at the shelter (most shelters anyway) are also in cages :/. Usually smaller than the Petsmart cages too. You just don't see it every time you go to the store.

I'd say that an animal in a kill shelter is more IN NEED of a home, because they'll be killed if nobody adopts them. But you shouldn't feel bad about adopting from a no-kill shelter, because when you adopt from them, it opens up a space and they can save another cat from a kill shelter :D. So it works out about the same.
 

pinkdagger

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It depends largely on your location. Some rescues rely on foster homes, some rely on cages, and some rely on large open rooms to house their cats on what is very hopefully a temporary basis. Regardless, they all still need homes. I always check humane societies and rescues first, and because they don't have the public's eye on them all the time, I will opt for them first. However, looking into these rescues also means knowing which rescues work with which stores, so if you do see a cat in a pet store for "sale"/adoption, you'll recognize it as a rescue instead of as a sale. Where I am, or at least where I shop for pet stuff, I don't even see cats (or dogs) for "sale" anymore, for which I am quite grateful.

Every store with cats I've ever been to has identified very clearly that X and Y cat are "Z Rescue" cats who are getting their faces seen in the store, whereas U and V are from Cat Rescue of W, and so on. If it doesn't identify the cat is with a rescue and the staff can't provide information to verify that you would be supporting one of those rescues, there's your answer right there.
 
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tabbykat

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Thank you, everyone, for the replies!  This info was all very helpful. :-)
 

jodiethierry64

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I know the Petsmart in my area works with Dreampower. This is a no kill organization. They foster all their animals. The cats do have foster homes so they are not in cages 24/7. You sign a contract where they can show up anytime to check up on the animal. I do support no kill. We need more of them but
I understand that irresponsible pet parents are the cause of pet overpopulation and euthanasia!!
 

littlelion

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I guess it all depends like the others say :) I prefer shelters.
In shelters you are most likely saving a life! :D but all kitties do need a home. At my shelter, some of the kitties are sent to the pet shop. I think it's because at the pet shop they will attract more attention. :) and get a home faster.
 

lvmygrdn

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I recently adopted three rescues, one from Petsmart (Last Chance rescue) and 2 from Petco (LoveACat.org). Different stores use different organizations. I am very happy. I think any animal adopted from any place you choose is a good thing. It opens up a spot for another feline in need.
 
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