Adopting a pet is a big step but a rewarding one in so many ways. If you’re ready to take the plunge and add a feline companion to your family, Petfinder is a great place to start.
If you’re not already familiar with Petfinder.com, it’s a website that maintains a database of more than 250,000 adoptable pets nationwide, helping connect pets in need of a loving home with prospective adopters. Petfinder shares listings from over 11,000 animal shelters and pet rescue organizations in the U.S. Canada and Mexico. Participating organizations provide photos and information about each animal. Then you browse the listings to find the pet that’s the best fit for you!
Ready to see how it works? Let’s dive in.
Getting Started with Petfinder
Pet finder is about creating a community where pet lovers can adopt animals in need. To begin, click “Find a Pet” at the top of the Petfinder.com home page. You’ll be offered the opportunity to choose dogs, cats, and other animals in your area. Simply select the type of pet you’d like to adopt and enter your zip code. The site will comb through its listings to find matches in your area.
Say, for example, you want to adopt a cat in your neighborhood. Petfinder will provide descriptive listings of cats seeking adoption near you. Petfinder strives to include as much relevant information as possible in its listings. Here’s a sample of what you’ll find:
- The pet’s age, weight and size
- The pet’s breed, gender, color
- The pet’s health status (including vaccination status)
- A description of the animal (when available)
Descriptions often include helpful information on an animal’s history, as well as its disposition. A careful reading of each description can help answer these questions and more:
- Is the cat good with other animals?
- Is the pet good with children?
- Is the cat trained to use a litter box or house-trained if it’s a dog?
- Does the pet have any special needs?
- How is the pet’s overall disposition?
This detailed and textured information helps adopters get a more complete picture of the cat or dog before committing to adoption.
Submit an Adoption Inquiry
Once you’ve selected a pet that you’d like to adopt, the next step is to submit an adoption inquiry. This will go directly to the shelter or rescue that is caring for the pet. They will then let you know if the pet is still available for adoption. Most shelters respond promptly, as they’re eager to free up space, but allow time for variations in response times among agencies.
The staff at the rescue or shelter will contact you to confirm the pet’s availability and to set up a meet-and-greet with your prospective adoptee.
Preparing for a New Pet
Adopting a new kitten or adult cat requires some preparation. To help site users through the transition, Petfinder offers some helpful tips.
- Prepare a safe space for your new pet
- Get other pets in your household ready for the new arrival
- Ensure that your residence is suited to the pet you’re adopting
- Create a plan to care for your pet when you are away from home
- Anticipate how work and social obligations affect your responsibilities as a pet owner
- Talk to others in the household to ensure that at least one adult is responsible for the basic care needs of a pet
Meeting Your Adoptee
The staff of the local shelter or rescue will be in touch to set up a time when you can meet your prospective adoptee face to face. If you and the pet seem like a good match, it’s time to move ahead with a formal application. Adoption applications are used to ensure that the agency caring for the pet releases it to a responsible owner. Once your application to adopt has been approved, you can pick up your pet!
Cat Adoption Fees
Adoptive owners using Petfinder are required to pay an adoption fee. This fee goes toward the food, housing, transportation and medical expenses of an animal while in the care of a shelter or rescue organization.
Adoption fees can actually save you money. For example, an adoption fee of $100 to $200 may include vaccinations and procedures that, purchased alone, could cost far more. Examples of estimated costs include:
- Veterinary wellness visit and exam ($50-100)
- Spaying or neutering ($150-300)
- Distemper vaccination ($20-30×2)
- Rabies vaccination ($15-25)
- Heartworm test (dogs only) ($15-35)
- Feline Leukemia/FIV test (cats only) ($30-50)
- Flea/tick treatment ($50-200)
- Microchip ($50)
- Deworming ($20-50)
- Collar and an identification tag ($10-20)
Pet ownership is a lifetime commitment and one to be taken seriously. We wish you luck and success in your pet adoption search!