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How Long Does It Take to Adopt a Cat? 3 Factors You Need to Know!

How long it takes you to bring home a new purring friend depends on your location and the service you are using. Usually, the basic principle of supply and demand is at play here.

If your area has more cats than people wanting cats, then you’ll likely be able to find one pretty quickly. However, in areas where kittens are less common and hard to come by, you may sit on a waiting list for months.

Furthermore, different agencies require different steps before you are allowed to adopt. In some cases, you only have to fill out some paperwork. However, in other cases, you may have to do an interview, complete a home study, and even then, you may not be chosen to adopt a pet. Some agencies are very strict about who adopts, while others are overflowing with more pets than they can help.

Below, we’ll look at some of the factors that determine the length of time it may take you to adopt.

divider-catclaw1 The 3 Factors At Play When Adopting a Cat

1. Location

Your location is going to play the biggest role in the length of time it takes you to adopt. If your area has lots of cats looking for homes, then you probably won’t wait very long. However, areas with fewer cats will often require adopters to jump through more hoops, which also means that you’ll spend longer before adopting.

Let’s look at a few examples to see this concept in action.

If you live in an area with lots of cats, then your local shelter and rescues likely have more animals than they know what to do with. Often, these agencies are just trying to get animals out the door so that they have room for more animals. No one wants to turn needy animals away, after all.

Therefore, in many cases, you’ll be able to walk out with a cat the same day (assuming they are spayed/neutered).

However, if your area has more people looking for cats than there are cats available, agencies have to find a way to choose who gets to adopt and who doesn’t. Usually, this involves interviews, home visits, and similar steps. Often, you’ll have to apply and get approved before you get to pick your cat.

The process can be much longer, and you may sit on a waiting list until an appropriate cat comes into the agency.

cat getting adopted
Image Credit: Anika Moritz, Shutterstock
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2. Type of Agency

Often, rescue organizations are a lot stricter about who they let adopt their pets. Many of them do not adopt to first-time owners and require many references. Usually, these agencies are also picky about the pets they take and do not receive surrenders from the public. Therefore, they have fewer pets available and don’t have to worry about getting overrun.

Usually, you’ll have to fill out an online application, though some do accept applications in-person. Because these agencies are often run by volunteers, it usually takes several days for your application to be read and replied to. They may require a home visit as well.

Either way, you can usually only take a cat home after you’ve been approved and an appropriate cat has been given. As you might expect, this can take weeks, depending on your location.

Adopting from a shelter or Humane Society is a bit different. These agencies often accept surrenders straight from the public, as well as any stray dogs found wandering around. Usually, you can walk in, find a pet, and take them home the same day.

Usually, shelters are cheaper as well, since they are mostly focused on getting cats through the door as quickly as possible. They need to keep the room open for new pets at all times, so they can’t risk holding onto a cat for very long. If someone is willing to adopt, they are usually very willing to work with you.

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3. The Cat

If you’re set on adopting a specific cat, the time period may differ in some special circumstances. For instance, adopting kittens usually requires that you wait until they are weaned no matter where you adopt them from. So even if you walk into a shelter and find a kitten, you may have to wait a few weeks before taking them home.

Cats with special needs may have a longer adoption process as well. You may need to learn about certain medications your cat is on and establish care with a vet before the agency allows you to adopt.

Similarly, cats that are currently sick or in need of extra care may not be able to come home until after their treatment. Sometimes, expectations are made for more common conditions, such as heartworm medication. However, many agencies will keep the cat until they have a clean bill of health.

siberian cat close up
Image Credit: Pixabay

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Where Can I Adopt a Cat Fast?

You should never rush into adopting a new pet. It is a serious responsibility that you should only make when you’ve thought it over for a bit. However, there are many cases where adopting a cat fast may be the best course of action.

For instance, if you’re surprising a child with a cat on their birthday, it is pretty important to get a cat within a few days of the birthday. Therefore, you may have a specific date you’d like the cat on. Or perhaps you just don’t want to wait on the cat!

Either way, the fastest way to adopt a cat is likely to go to your local animal shelter. Choose a cat that is healthy and already spayed or neutered. In many cases, you’ll be able to take home one of these cats the same day. Of course, you’ll have to spend a few hours filling out the paperwork.

divider-catclaw1 Conclusion

Adopting a cat can take anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks. It depends on a variety of factors, like where you live and what agency you decide to use. Many animal rescue agencies have a long list of requirements and a long adoption process. However, animal shelters usually aren’t as picky about who adopts and often let you adopt same-day.

If you’re looking for a cat fast, your best bet is to go to your local shelter. In many places, you’ll be able to adopt a cat quickly from there.

However, if you live in an area with very few cats, then you may have to wait weeks or months no matter where you go. While not everywhere requires sitting on a waiting list to adopt, many places do. If there aren’t many cats looking for homes near you, you may have to “compete” with other potential adopters.

See also:

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Featured Image: Susan Schmitz, shutterstock