Tips for Choosing the Purr-fect Shelter Feline

Adding a cat to your home can be one of life’s most rewarding experiences. They are terrific companions and easier to care for than dogs. Plus, most felines are great cuddlers, playmates and entertainers (there’s a reason cat videos dominate the Internet). Studies have even shown their purrs can improve your health and lower your risk of a heart attack.

Volunteer Hannah brushes Lydia after the young cat jumps in her lap.

If you come to the Aiken County Animal Shelter, you can adopt a cat or kitten for just $10 – this fee includes their vaccinations, spay/neuter surgery and microchip. So, are you ready to adopt a cat or kitten? If so, here are some tips for choosing the best feline for your home:

Select the right cat for your lifestyle. Are you looking for a lap cat? Or is a playful, high-energy cat more your style? What about fur length? Longhair or shorthair? Do you like a chatty cat or one that’s quiet and shy? These are some of the questions you need to answer when selecting a cat. Talk to a FOTAS volunteer or staff member about the available cats. They are familiar with each cat’s traits and can help you identify the feline that best fits your personality and lifestyle.

Cats vs. kittens. Kittens are cute – that’s why they usually get adopted so quickly. But they also need extra nurturing and demand more of your time. If you do decide to adopt a kitten, consider getting two. Why? Because the little ones usually have loads of energy and need to burn it off. Their need to exercise is easily satisfied if they have a littermate to play with.

Let the cat choose you. Dogs love it when you walk up to them and immediately start petting them, but cats prefer a subtler approach. Let them come to you. Some cats will run up to you right away or

FOTAS Volunteers Jan and Jerry Tankersley come to the ACAS every Tuesday to help socialize cats and kittens.

even put their paws on your shoulders. But most will first assess whether they trust and like you before approaching. To greet a cat, stick your hand out, palm down, about a foot away from his face and let him sniff it. He will usually step forward and “butt” your hand, which is his way of saying, “Hello,” and marking you with his scent. This is the cat’s way of telling you he trusts and likes you — and you can now pet him and rub under his neck. 

Spend time with the cat before making your final decision. Once you find a cat you like, and who likes you, spend some time with him. Ask to take the cat to an adoption room, where you can further study his personality and confirm you have a bond with the kitty.

Keep the cat indoors. If you adopt a cat, please keep him inside. The average lifespan of an indoor cat is 18 to 20 years, while an outdoor cat’s usual lifespan is just 5 years. If you must have your pet outdoors, the Shelter often has barn cats to adopt. These are cats that have lived outside most of their lives and can’t be happy as housecats.

There are so many cats at the shelter looking for homes right now. Please stop by and find “the one” for you.

Their lives are in our hands.

— by Bob Gordon, FOTAS Director of Communications

By the Numbers
In July, the County Animal Shelter received 554 stray animals and surrendered pets.



Pets of the WeekLARISSA: Retriever mix, female, 1-1/2 years old, tan & black, 59 pounds – $35


MISTY: Domestic Shorthair, female, 3 years old, black & tan Tabby, 10 pounds – $10