How to Safely Adopt Kittens at Lesser Cost

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Finding kittens from rescues and shelters is easy.
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Adding a kitten to your life can be a fun and loving experience for you and your feline. If you're looking for a kitten for free, there are always litters of kittens who need safe homes with someone who will love and care for them as part of a lifelong commitment. If you're looking to add a young cat to your life and hope to find kittens that are affordable to adopt, there are several options that may help you find your match.

Avoid searching for "free kittens near me"

It can be tempting to first ask people you know if they have any or know of any baby cats for free who are in need of a safe and loving home. Even with people you know and trust, however, it can be difficult to know how the cats have been cared for and what medical attention they have received, if any. If you're talking with someone who is desperate to rehome a litter of kittens, it can be difficult to know if you can trust what that person says about the kitten's health and behavior.

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Avoid responding to or posting "free kittens near me" Craigslist ads. One danger in taking a kitten from someone online or even an acquaintance is that the kitten may be younger than the person says. Removing a kitten from his mother too soon can result in lifelong behavior challenges if the cat is not properly weaned and socialized.

Respiratory infections are common in cats, especially among cats who live in breeding catteries or those who are feral cats born on the street. Vaccines and keeping a cat indoors eliminates many of these concerns, but for cats who are born to mothers who have not received medical care or who are born outdoors, these infections can persist for life. If the person from whom you are trying to get the free kitten has noticed sneezing or coughing in the mother or the kittens, you may not be told the truth about it.

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You may not be told the truth about a kitten's health.
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Where can I find free kittens?

Asking a veterinarian's office to contact you about any free kittens in your area is a good way to get the word out that you are looking for a cat. If it's your first kitten and you don't yet have a relationship established with a veterinarian, checking in with a few offices for recommendations on where to get baby kittens for free can be a great way to get to know a veterinarian.

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Check with shelters in your area. Paying cat adoption fees to a shelter or other organization often helps to financially support the organization and allows it to provide services to more cats. Most shelters provide basic medical care and vaccinations before the pets are adopted. Some will even provide spay or neuter services.

When you add up the veterinary costs associated with a "free" kitten, it is often more than what you would pay to a shelter. For instance, when you pay an adoption fee at a shelter or rescue, you might pay anywhere from $50 to $150, and a veterinary examination is typically $100 to $200. Initial vaccinations are around $50 to $100, and microchipping is $50 to $100.

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Paying kitten adoption fees to a shelter or rescue ensures your cat has received basic and quality medical care.
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If your local shelter doesn't have what you are seeking, keep checking back. Sadly, shelters and rescues get new animals every day. If you live near a shelter or rescue in a larger city, go for a drive and visit that one too. Shelters in larger cities may have more animals from which to choose. If timing is not an issue, consider waiting until spring, when there is often a large influx of kittens being born. During periods when there are a lot of kittens, some shelters may offer discounted adoptions.

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Stores like PetSmart often partner with local shelters and rescues to help connect adoptable cats with people like you who are looking for a new companion. They occasionally host in-store meet and greets, or if not, they often have links to adoptable cats on their website.

Fostering a litter of kittens can be a way to temporarily "adopt" until your forever companion comes along.
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Foster some kittens

If you're looking for a way to add a kitten (or a few) to your home, fostering a kitten or a litter of kittens through your local shelter or rescue is a fantastic, low-cost and temporary way to do so. Often, shelters and rescues become overwhelmed with an explosion of kittens available for adoption starting in spring, which is sometimes referred to as "kitten season."

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By fostering, you not only get to experience the playful, early months of a cat's life but you're also relieving stress felt by your local animal welfare organizations, and you can prime your foster kittens for a happy life in their respective forever homes. Fostering often includes free food, litter, and medical care, although terms may vary depending on the organization with which you work. Once people know you are fostering, they may start to ask you, "Where can I get a free kitten?"

Kittens love teaser toys, like feathers, wands, and lasers.
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Initial kitten supplies

Cats need litter boxes and cat litter. You'll probably want a scratching post or two if you don't want your couch and walls to become claw magnets. Food and water bowls and some toys are a must. You'll also probably want a cat carrier and a comb or brush.

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A kitten should be about eight weeks old before it leaves its mother, and at that time, it's going to be a bundle of energy. Get your kitten running around and tire her out (she'll be less likely to climb your curtains!) with a teaser toy like the Whisker City Chirping Mouse Teaser Cat Toy. This one teases cats with feathers and a little bell.

You can't go wrong with a cat toy with a laser, like the wobble ball from Whisker City. It has a weighted base, so it rolls, and it also chirps with the help of a battery. Cats don't need much encouragement to do their business in a clean litter box with litter in which they can scratch, but when your kitten is little, a box with lower sides, like the Grreat Choice Open Pan Litter Box, will be easier for him.

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All cats love to scratch in loose litter, but while your kitten is small and still developing, choose a litter that is dust-free to help keep her little lungs clear and use one that has no additives or scents that may be irritating. A natural litter like Exquisicat Crystals that is a low-dust formula and also fragrance-free fits the bill.

You can reduce the amount of cat litter that gets tracked around your house (especially while kittens are little and more likely to want to "play" in the litter box) by placing a mat underneath the box. One like the Exquisicat Cat Litter Trapping Mat is easy to clean and captures litter before it gets stuck to paws. Finally, a bed is necessary for any new kitten. Most kittens like small cuddler beds in which they can curl up. The Whisker City Cat Hut provides a comfortable hidey-hole where your cat can feel safe.

Adopt your cat from trusted sources, like your veterinarian, a shelter, or a rescue.
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