Accessibility and Access Keys 
Skip to Content 
Cats make great companion animals. They are loyal, loving and smart animals that can make a great addition to any home. However, getting a cat requires careful planning. Every year thousands of cats end up in shelters because their owners did not take the time to consider the responsibility of owning a cat which includes spaying/neutering. If you have determined that you have the resources for a cat and are committed to the long-term responsibility, it is imperative that you do some research. Carefully consider what kind of cat you are would like, and visit your local humane society or SPCA as they will have a variety of cats available for adoption.
For many, the easiest place to find their new pet may be at the local pet store. What many people may not know is that although this may seem like the simplest option, it is not a good idea unless the store is acting as a satellite adoption centre for a local humane society, SPCA or reputable rescue group. Buying from pet stores may end in heartache and expenses for you if health or behaviour issues arise due to poor conditions where they originated. Some pet store kittens come from breeders who keep their breeding cats in horrible conditions, neglected and confined in small cages. You have little way of knowing whether that kitten in the window comes from such a breeder.
There are many advantages to getting your new cat from an animal shelter. Shelters usually have lots of kittens and older cats. Although you may walk into a shelter thinking about getting a kitten, you may just find that they have a perfect older cat just waiting to be adopted. The characteristics of an adult cat are already developed, therefore making it easier to determine if the cat you are adopting is the kind of cat you are looking for. Shelter workers will be able to give you some information on the cat’s personality and whether they’d be a suitable match for your lifestyle.
Shelters also ensure that the cats in their care have received their necessary vaccines, are de-wormed, receive a flea treatment and other basic veterinary care. Most have been spayed or neutered and have had a microchip implanted. With all these pet care needs already taken care of, your new cat will be ready for your home, making the process of getting a new cat as simple as possible for you. This will mean a huge savings for you in terms of the costs associated in adding a new cat to your family. Check with your local shelter to see if they have any other programs available to adopters such as free, short-term pet insurance. For more great reasons why you should adopt an older cat, click here.
If you want to buy from a breeder, make sure they are reputable. A good breeder will be able to tell you about the kitten’s background, its temperament and what kind of cat it will become. The kitten will also have been socialized from an early age making it easier to adapt to a new home with other animals and children. Quality breeders will let you visit their facilities and see the kitten’s mother, and will be able to tell you what potential health issues there are with that specific breed. No breed of cat is perfect and the breeder should have a thorough knowledge of all aspects of the breed.
Below are some key resources for current and potential cat owners.
Click below to download in PDF format:
This brochure was developed to help new cat owners care for their new companions — and offers plenty of great information for experienced cat owners too!
The best place for a cat is indoors! Indoor cats are generally healthier and on average live a longer life. This factsheet provides new and long-time cat owners with great information on why their cats should be kept indoors, and offers tips on how to better fulfill an indoor cat’s needs.
Introducing a new cat to your home requires a bit of planning and patience, especially if you already have a pet. Find out more with this resource from the Ontario SCPA: Helping your adopted cat and existing pets to accept each other.
For more information on specific cat-related issues, follow the links below.