We Asked Montreal's SPCA For Cat Adoption Advice & Here's Everything You Need To Know
Your future fur baby deserves the best, of course.
Maybe you feel it when the weather is cold, and you're watching Netflix Christmas movies — that sensation that you're just missing a cuddly friend to share it with. Or maybe you're enjoying your morning coffee, knowing that you'd enjoy it so much more with a furry feline walking over your laptop's keyboard.
If you can feel in your soul that it's time for you to adopt a brand-new kitty, there might be many questions running through your mind. Thankfully, we asked Montreal's SPCA some of the biggest questions new cat owners might have, and we're in luck — Sophie Gaillard, the Acting Executive Director and Director of Animal Advocacy and Legal Affairs, has plenty of answers.
What is Montreal's cat adoption scene like?
Are there more adoption requests than cats to adopt? According to Gaillard, it's exactly the opposite. Feline overpopulation "is still very much present in Montreal" just like the rest of the province, she told MTL Blog over email.
Why are there more cats than potential owners?
"Not only do we have a large population of outdoor cats that reproduce freely, but our provincial animal welfare regulations still allow large-scale breeding of cats and dogs," Gaillard added. This is an issue since the number of cases of abandonment isn't going down — it's actually increasing.
Gaillard says promoting adoption from shelters is a big way we can help fix this issue. "The Montreal SPCA has set up the Trap-Neuter-Release-Maintain program and the Mittens-Montreal SPCA Targeted Permanent Sterilization Clinic, which offers sterilization services at reduced rates to those who have companion animals with limited financial resources," she explained.
Should you buy a cat off of Kijiji or another website?
In short, it's better to avoid this option and adopt from a shelter instead. "You have to be very careful about where you buy a companion animal," Gaillard said. "Kijiji (like other classifieds sites) is a platform that offers many opportunities but also risks."
It's harder to get trustworthy information about the cat's history, medical needs and personality. "This risk can lead to unpleasant surprises and result in abandonment," Gaillard explained. Obviously, that's not ideal.
Worse still, sites like Kijiji are often the perfect spot for breeders with shadier backgrounds, including puppy and kitten mills. "We strongly recommend that you avoid getting a cat this way and instead deal with a shelter or rescue organization," Gaillard said on behalf of the Montreal SPCA.
Gaillard also recommended Petfinder, a website that shows animals up for adoption at shelters in your area. "The effective search engine also allows the user to filter your search according to your preferences," she added.
Why should you adopt a cat from a shelter?
Shelters know their cats very well and are prepared to share all necessary information with their potential new owners. "We will tell potential adopters about our residents' qualities, their strengths, but also the areas that need to be worked on or health problems, if any," Gaillard said. "This will make it easier for the adopter to determine if the animal is suitable for their lifestyle and make an informed decision."
What's more, adopting from a shelter is typically cheaper than buying a cat — and even cheaper than getting an unfamiliar cat for free, she added. "If you add up the cost of vaccinations, spay/neuter, microchipping and health insurance, you'll see how adoption is often the most economical option."
"Adopting from a shelter or rescue organization is also a great way to be part of the solution," according to Gaillard. It gives your furry child a second lease on life, and helps to alleviate feline overpopulation.
What is the most important thing for a new cat owner to know?
You should know
- Whether your lease allows cats
- That cats can live an average of 15 years
- That your companion animal will need veterinary care "for its whole life," including annual checkups and vaccinations
- That cats need exercise and mental stimulation
- That cats take 1 to 3 months to adjust before feeling "100% comfortable" with their new family
How do you know if you're ready to adopt a cat?
You're ready once you've accepted that "getting a cat is a serious, long-term commitment," Gaillard wrote. Someone is ready to adopt a cat once they are "well informed about what it means to have a cat: their needs, possible costs, life span, and are prepared to provide the environment and care they need."
Getting a cat is a serious, long-term commitment, she concluded. "Before taking the plunge, one must be well informed and certain that their needs will be met throughout their life."