This is the first article in a series of three. The next article in the series can be found here

Lord Baltimore, left, and Lord Breadly, right. 9 months old, adopted 2018


You’re thinking about adopting a cat from the SPCA of Hancock County, and you want to know how the adoption process works. This article is for you!

Our Cat Adoption Questionnaire is a short form that helps us have a structured conversation with you about what you’re looking for in your next feline companion. These are some of the primary questions you’ll want to be prepared for.

You’ll see that we ask about your housing arrangements. Keep in mind that if you rent your home, we’ll want to check with your landlord to ensure that they allow the type of pet you’re interested in adopting. Sometimes it helps to talk to your landlord ahead of time so that they know to expect our call.

We also ask about your current or past pets, and where you take/took them to the vet. We look for this information so that we can ask your vet if your current or past pets are up to date on their vaccines. Please keep in mind that it is the law in the state of Maine to vaccinate ALL cats for rabies, even if kept exclusively indoors. Sometimes it is helpful to contact your vet ahead of time and explicitly give them permission to talk to us about your current or past pets. Some veterinary offices will not share this information without permission directly from you.

Our Cat Adoption Questionnaire asks whether you plan to declaw your cat. If you are unsure about this, please read about the behavioral and medical challenges that can result from this procedure. We will also have a conversation with you about the humane options for curbing the scratching and roughhousing behaviors that typically cause people to consider this procedure. The SPCA HC has a statement about declawing here.

We are often asked what our position is regarding indoor/outdoor cats. While there are many sound reasons to keep cats exclusively indoors (safety from predators, cars, and disease among them), the SPCA of Hancock County also acknowledges that for some cats and in some home situations, access to the outdoors can be a positive and enriching experience. We consider each adoptable cat on a case-by-case basis; some are too skittish or have too little experience of the outdoors, or have medical concerns that preclude them going outdoors. Others, however, are bold and energetic and have a higher probability of returning home safely from outdoor excursions. If you would like to adopt a cat who can go outdoors, let us know and we can help you choose one who is a good match for you.

Do we do same-day adoptions for cats? Sometimes, but not always. On the weekends we’re not always able to reach your vet and landlord the same day, so these followups may take us a day or two to complete. We place animals based on “best fit,” rather than “first come, first served.” This means that there may be several applications for an individual cat, and we will select the home that is the best match for that cat. If you miss out because of this, please don’t assume we won’t adopt to you! We review all applications attentively, and particularly when an animal is popular, there may be several families who are disappointed.

Our front desk receptionist keeps a Wish List, and if you’re looking for a particular type of cat you can request to be put on the Wish List. We can then contact you if a cat arrives at the shelter who would be a good fit for you. Although you are free to make your request as specific as you want, please be aware that we rarely see purebred cats of any type, and most often all cats at the shelter are “moggies.” (The feline equivalent of mixed-breed dogs). As such, we’re likely to be able to match you up with a “mellow, long haired cat who just lets you cuddle them all day” but rarely see “a Ragdoll cat, male.” We often have a large number of requests on our Wish List. If you’re concerned that your request has fallen through the cracks, please give us a call!

If you’re adopting a kitten, we’re not able to send them home with you until they are at least 8 weeks old. All cats and kittens adopted from the SPCA of Hancock County are spayed/neutered, vaccinated for rabies and distemper, microchipped, and dewormed. While adult cats will typically be spayed/neutered etc. before you take them home, kittens may be too small. You can still take your new kitten home as a foster-to-adopt once they are 8-9 weeks old! You’ll just need to bring them back to the shelter to be transported to the clinic for surgery. When you pick them up afterward, you can finalize the adoption at that time.

We occasionally offer foster-to-adopt for adult cats in special circumstances. If you think that fostering-to-adopt would be helpful in your situation, please ask us about it when you come in to meet the cats!

Next week in this series, we’ll talk about some things to consider when selecting your next cat. Look for our post on Thursday, May 17, 2018.