There’s a lot of controversy in the pet world about adopting from a shelter vs. breeder when it comes to choosing your companion animal. While our favorite breed is a rescue, giving a cat a furever home is what’s most important.

We recently celebrated Adopt a Shelter Pet Day – and there was a lot of judgement happening on social media. Because of this, we decided to evaluate the pros and cons of each scenario and let you decide where you’d prefer to adopt your next feline friend.

Adopting your cat from a shelter vs. breeder

Personally, I consider every cat that finds its forever home a rescue. If the kitty needed a home and you gave him/her this home… you rescued the cat. We also know that the cats we bring into our family and home are really rescuing us. 🙂

If you’re considering adopting a cat from a shelter, here are just a few things to think about…

  1. You’re making room for other homeless cats. Shelters are in the business of saving lives. They bring in cats off the street who’ve been abandoned and help find them homes. However, they only have so much space to ‘shelter’ these animals, so by adopting a shelter kitty you’re in turn saving another.
  2. You likely won’t know where this cat came from. Homeless kitties are sometimes from a lineage that can be prone to certain diseases and/or behaviors. Everyone who adopts a shelter pet takes on that risk as a pet parent.
  3. You are saving a life at risk. Cats in kill shelters always risk being euthanized. They have a “shelf life” unfortunately and may otherwise not get a chance at this life.

If you’re leaning toward getting your kitty from a (reputable) breeder, here are some things to consider…

  1. You will understand the lineage of the cat’s family. It’s important for some cat parents to know what they’re getting into before adopting a kitty. Adopting from a breeder allows you to understand where the cat is coming from and what health risks vs. benefits she comes with.
  2. Breeders intentionally breed cats. It’s what they do. The controversy here is they are contributing to the overpopulation problem. Shelters are working to save stray and feral kitties off the street as well as spay and neuter these homeless cats (TNR). This helps the overpopulation problem and, in turn, saves thousands of feline lives. By adopting from a breeder instead of a shelter, we’re not contributing to this effort.
  3. The cat will likely be better behaved. The socialization window for kitties is 2-14 weeks of age. Responsible breeders will work with these kitties to ensure they are comfortable with human interaction and ready for their new home – which can drastically reduce behavioral issues right off the bat.

All of the cats that we’ve rescued over the past 20+ years were either straight from the street or from a friend or family member that could not keep them. That’s just the way the great Universe has brought us our clowder. My personal advice would be to either adopt from a higher risk shelter or a very reputable breeder. Kitty mills are a thing… and we never want to support that.

The bottom line is – you are choosing a lifelong companion. Don’t let others judge you about how you make this important decision.


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