Ask the Vet: Should I Adopt a Shelter Pet?

I’m ready to get a cat. Now what?

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Question: I’m ready to get a cat. I could accept a free kitten from neighbors or adopt from a shelter, but that would cost money. Which option should I take?

Answer: Adopting a kitten or adult cat from an animal shelter or rescue organization has many advantages. You mention cost, so I’ll point out that adopting a pet will cost you substantially less than accepting a “free” kitten. Reputable shelters and rescue groups place animals for adoption only after they’ve been sterilized, vaccinated, and dewormed. The “free” kitten will need these services, which will cost you substantially more than the shelter adoption fee.

Also, taking kittens off the hands of neighbors perpetuates the cat overpopulation problem. As long as they can avoid the cost of sterilizing their adult cats by giving away unwanted kittens, they have no incentive to get their cats spayed and neutered.

Ask the Vet is written by veterinarian Lee Pickett, VMD. Send questions to [email protected] and read more at

This article is featured in the May/June 2023 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.

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