11 Surprising Places Where You Can Adopt a Cat

Lanai Cat Sanctuary
Lanai Cat Sanctuary

The period from spring to early summer is known among animal rescues as “kitten season.” It's the time of year when shelters are overwhelmed with young cats—one of the reasons behind why June is designated “Adopt a Shelter Cat” month. While animal rescues do good work, not every shelter is the same. Check out these surprising places where you can find your next feline friend.

1. A SLEEPOVER

One downside to the adoption process: the short amount of time available to spend with a cat before deciding to take them home. Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, lets visitors spend the night on-site in cottages and cabins. The shelter’s “Animal Sleepovers” program helps visitors maximize playtime while helping rescue cats (and other furry friends) learn social skills. Overnight space books quickly, so Best Friends also offers an outings program that allows visitors to take feline friends for day adventures away from the shelter.

2. A NAVAL BASE

Cuba's Guantánamo Bay is known for housing U.S. prisoners, but one foster group—aptly named Operation Git-Meow—is more focused on the area's feline population. The group works to rehome an estimated 500 stray cats. Volunteers humanely trap the cats, provide veterinary care, and locate new homes. These Cuban kitties are often relocated to adoption centers in Washington D.C. or with families throughout the U.S.

3. AN ART MUSEUM

Cats in residence adoption center
Cats in Residence

The Cats-in-Residence Program brings cat and art lovers together. Since 2013, artist Rhonda Lieberman has created art installations that feature adoptable cats at coastal museums and galleries. The crafted playgrounds provide a stage for cats to become performance artists, while reminding viewers about the needs of stray animals. The inaugural installation took place in New York City, but the performance piece has since moved around to Hartford, Connecticut, to Los Angeles, and to Worcester, Massachusetts.

4. A GOOD SAMARITAN'S HOUSE

New Yorker Chris Arsenault is known by his Long Island, New York neighbors as “the cat man,” thanks to a cat rescue run out of his home. Called "Happy Cat Sanctuary," the compound is now a fenced-in, free-range shelter that houses more than 300 cats. Kitties have access to a courtyard complete with fountains and treetop hideouts, and the rescue focuses heavily on cats that have been victims of violence.

5. A CAT CAFE

Visitors play with a cat at the pop-up Cat Cafe
Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

Cat cafés have become popular throughout the country. The concept is simple: Have lunch or a drink, meet pawed friends, and potentially take home an eligible stray. Most lounges, such as MauHaus in St. Louis, Missouri, require a reservation or tickets to hang out with the cats. But be smart about planning your visit around mealtimes; Blue Cat Café in Austin, Texas (and other cat cafes) prohibit waking sleeping cats for playtime or cuddles.

6. ON THE GO WITH A MOBILE ADOPTION TRUCK

What’s better than a food truck? A mobile cat adoption center. The Catty Wagon, provided by the Michelson Found Animals Foundation, makes appearances at farmers’ markets and shops throughout Los Angeles. Prospective pet parents can step inside to visit with kittens up for adoption or purchase toys and cat supplies. While the truck doesn’t need help drawing crowds, its giant yellow cat ears make it easy to spot.

7. A UNIVERSITY

aerial view of stanford university
iStock

Adopting a cat from Stanford University is a smart idea (though these kitties don’t come with honorary degrees). In 1989, the Stanford, California institution launched the Feline Friends Network at a time when an estimated 1500 homeless cats roamed the campus. Volunteers help control cat populations by trapping cats to be vaccinated and spayed or neutered before living out their free-range days on the campus. The university offers feeding stations with regular schedules for strays, while tame felines who enjoy interacting with humans become adoption candidates.

8. AN ANCIENT CRIME SCENE

The ruins of Largo di Torre Argentina in Rome are famous for their historical significance—Julius Caesar was murdered there in 44 BCE. But now, the site—which includes four unearthed temples—has become a popular tourist attraction for cat lovers. Following Torre Argentina’s excavation in 1929, Rome’s stray cat population swarmed the site. “Gattare” (Italian cat ladies) cared for the feral cats, until the Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary launched in 1993. Now, volunteers care for hundreds of felines each day, working to find them local (and international) homes.

9. A SMALL, REMOTE ISLAND

a woman holds a cat at lanai cat sanctuary
Lanai Cat Sanctuary

Lanai Cat Sanctuary in Lanai City, Hawaii, is a tropical oasis for homeless cats. The 3-acre facility houses more than 500 cats, where strays are able to safely roam and hide out in cat houses built by volunteers. But Lanai Cat Sanctuary isn’t just in the best interest of cats; its mission is to protect native island birds and endangered wildlife by reducing the number of cat predators in the wild.

10. A FREE-RANGE SANCTUARY

The Cat House on the Kings has become one of California’s largest shelters, providing care for nearly 700 cats. But The Cat House isn’t like other temporary feline homes. All cats are cage-free, with free rein of 12 (fenced) acres and owner Lynea Lattanzio’s home in Parlier, California. If an afternoon at the sanctuary isn’t enough, visitors can rent a room to squeeze in more kitty cuddles after visiting hours are over, or find the perfect cat companion to adopt.

11. ABOARD A BOAT

de pozenboot for adoptable cats
De Pozenboot

Amsterdam’s de Poezenboot—which literally translates to "Catboat"—houses felines on water. The furry residents are able to stroll the boat’s fenced walkways and watch nearby ducks while waiting for forever homes. De Poezenboot was christened in 1968, when founder Henriette van Weelde ran out of dry land to house dumped cats. If the Netherlands feels too far to travel for adoption, de Poezenboot also offers financial adoption, through which cat lovers can learn about (and support) non-rehomeable cats that will live out their lives on water. Because regardless of land, sea, farm, or skyrise, all cats deserve a happy home.

Pet Obesity is Causing Big Health Problems, According to a New Report

iStock/dennisvdw
iStock/dennisvdw

If you’ve recently picked up your cat and felt your back give out, your furry friend may be among the 60 percent of the feline population that’s overweight. Dogs are also getting chubbier: about 56 percent of pet pooches are obese.

According to Banfield Pet Hospital, America's largest general veterinary practice with more than 1000 hospitals nationwide, those fat cats and chunky puppies are at risk for chronic health issues. In a new report, the hospital finds that osteoarthritis (OA) in pets is on the rise, with a 66 percent increase in dogs and a 150 percent increase in cats over the past 10 years.

Osteoarthritis is a kind of arthritis caused by inflammation or damage in joint tissue. Genetics, injury, or bone abnormalities can all be factors. The disease is chronic and degenerative and can make it difficult for pets to move around as they get older.

Excess weight can both precede OA and make it worse. When a pet is overweight, they can develop chronic pain that leads to stress on joints. If they already have OA, that joint discomfort can prevent them from being active, leading to weight gain. That worsens the condition, and the cycle continues.

A dog is 2.3 times more likely to be diagnosed with OA if it's obese, while cats are 1.2 times more likely. Dogs suffering from the condition tend to display symptoms like putting their weight off to one side when sitting, avoiding stairs, or appearing uninterested in playing. Cats might have loose or matted hair because they can't maneuver to groom certain parts of their body.

Although OA can be seen at any age, it’s often mistaken for old age and a pet slowing down naturally. If you notice your pet is either soft around the middle or moving more slowly, it’s best to see a veterinarian. Pets who are overweight or suffering from OA—or both—can benefit from treatments like special diets.

There Are 2373 Squirrels in New York's Central Park, Census Finds

iStock/maximkabb
iStock/maximkabb

Central Park in New York City is home to starlings, raccoons, and exotic zoo animals, but perhaps the most visible fauna in the area are the eastern gray squirrels. Thanks to a team of citizen scientists, we now know exactly how many of the rodents occupy the space—approximately 2373 of them, according to a census reported by Smithsonian.

In October 2018, a group called the Squirrel Census—with help from the Explorers Club, the NYU Department of Environmental Studies, Macaulay Honors College, the Central Park Conservancy, and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation—organized a squirrel survey across all 840 acres of Central Park. For 11 days, more than 300 volunteers staked out their sections of the park twice a day—at dawn and dusk when the crepuscular animals are most active—and noted each squirrel they spotted. They also recorded how the squirrels looked, vocalized, behaved, and reacted to humans.

The research was analyzed and presented at an Explorers Club event in New York City on June 20. All the non-peer-reviewed findings—which includes a printed report, an audio report on a vinyl 45, 37 pages of data, collectible squirrel cards, and large maps of the park and the squirrel locations—are available to purchase for $75 from the Squirrel Census website.

This isn't the first time a massive census has been conducted of a public park's squirrel population. In 2011, the Squirrel Census launched with its first survey of Atlanta's Inman Park. They've conducted satellite squirrel counts at other parks, but Central Park is just the second park the organization has investigated in person.

[h/t Smithsonian]

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