10 Reasons To Adopt, Not Buy!

A newly adopted cat at this year's Adoptapalooza event at Union Square on September 8, 2013. Photo Credit: Dana Edelson

(PET ADOPTION) Animal lovers often wonder… with thousands of adoptable animals being euthanized every day, why do so many people continue to purchase their pets?

Due to some common myths about shelter animals, as well as the adoption process itself, pet adoption is a frighteningly unpopular practice. Rescue shelters could benefit the cause greatly by loosening their policies a bit in order to work with qualified pet parents. Here are the top 10 reasons to choose adoption when adding a four-legged companion to the family!

Adorable puppies often end up in rescue shelters. Photo credit: petsafe.net
Sweet and adorable puppies often end up in rescue shelters. Photo credit: petsafe.net

1. You will save an animal from an uncertain fate.

With 6-8 million cats and dogs entering shelters each year and 2.7 million adoptable cats and dogs euthanized in shelters each year, each person who adopts a pet from a shelter or an individual rather than buying one from a breeder or pet store is helping to lower the number of euthanizations.

2. Dogs and cats are loyal and intelligent animals who have lived closely with humans for thousands of years.

Although they may not truly understand the severity of their situation at the shelter, they know you have rescued them and they genuinely appreciate their new parents!

3. Adoption is compassion in action.

Adopting a pet is a beautiful way to start living with a compassionate attitude toward all living things. The mindful decision of adopting and caring for a pet who may otherwise have been euthanized will open you up to being more mindful and compassionate in everything you do.

Cute cats calmly cuddle with fruits on their paws.
Cute cats calmly cuddle with peppers on their paws. Photo Credit: YouTube

4. You can help prove common misconceptions wrong.

Many people would prefer to get a pet when it is still a youngster because they think that adopting a shelter pet will mean taking on a “problem child” of a cat or dog. However, many of the animals in shelters are there because their former caregivers simply couldn’t take care of them anymore, whether due to financial or time restraints, living arrangements, or other reasons.

5. Adoption is a great way to test your parenting skills early.

Some people don’t realize some of the benefits of adopting an older pet: they have already grown out of their phase of teething and incessant play, are often house trained, and many times they are even obedience trained. For those who have their heart set on a baby, there are often puppies and kittens available at animal rescue shelters.

You don't have to go to the pet store to get a baby pet. Kittens and puppies are often available at animal rescue shelters.
You don’t have to go to the pet store to get a baby pet. Kittens and puppies are often available at animal rescue shelters.

6. You CAN teach an old dog new tricks.

Like their human companions, pets learn quickest and most easily when they are young. That’s because they are creatures of habit, and it is easier to form a brand new habit than it is to replace an existing one. However, with time and consistency, an animal of any age can learn new rules, tricks, and habits.

7. Their past can be easily accessed.

Many shelters offer a lot of information about the pet’s personality, habits, and their life before they ended up at the shelter. Animal shelters are largely run by volunteers who love animals and want the best for each and every one of them. They have spent many hours caring for the little guys and want to make sure that you and the pet you choose will be a good fit.

8. You’ll get spaying/neutering out of the way quicker than when you buy.

Many shelters spay/neuter every animal they adopt out in order to control future populations and immunize them to prohibit the spread of disease.

Photo credit: MMOABC.com
Your adopted pet can become friends with all members of the family! Photo credit: MMOABC.com


The adoption fee charged by the shelter to cover sterilization and immunization costs is cheaper than it would be to purchase, spay/neuter and immunize a pet purchased from a store or breeder.

10. Adoption is a means of teaching future generations about compassionate living.

Pet adoption is the way we should all lead by example to teach compassion to the next generation. The commoditization of animals has a terrible influence on our youth. Purchasing an animal based on image teaches young people that animals are here for our convenience and enjoyment. With only about 30 percent of pets in homes currently coming from shelters, we still have a long way to go!

[dropcap]Did you know?[/dropcap]


  • Between 1970-2010, the number of pets in homes increased from about 67 million to about 164 million.
  • There are about 3,500 animal shelters in the US alone.
  • 25 percent of dogs in shelters are purebred.
  • Only 2-5 percent of shelter cats are reclaimed by their guardians.

Adopt-a-kitten-small— Danielle Hanna, exclusive to Global Animal