How Old Do You Have To Be To Adopt A Cat?

Adopting a cat is a big responsibility. It’s beyond the cuteness, hugs, and purrs. You have to be prepared mentally and financially for raising a pet. But the least asked question is “how old do you have to be to adopt a cat?” Most shelters require an adopter to be at least 18 years old during the adoption application. However, each state and organization has the right to impose the minimum age. Below, I discussed more the requirements and things you have to know.

Remember, adopting a pet is a big responsibility. It goes beyond the age requirement, though this is also very important.

how old do you have to be to adopt a cat

How old do you have to be to adopt a cat?

The required age to adopt a cat can be between 18 and 21 years old, depending on the shelter or organization where you’re planning to adopt. Each state has specific minimum age requirements to adopt a cat. You should check it with your local shelter to ensure that you meet the requirements.

what to look for when adopting a cat

Cats, especially kittens, are fragile. Shelters and rescue centers want to ensure that whoever takes the kitty home is fully aware of the responsibilities that it entails, thus the age requirement. For example, most ASPCA centers require potential owners to be at least 18 years old to adopt a pet. However, The Animal League in Central Florida requires adoption applicants to be 21 years old.

General requirements when adopting a cat

Aside from age, adopting a cat has other requirements. These vary widely, depending on where you’re adopting. The following are the typical requisites before you can finally adopt a kitty:

requirements to adopt a cat

  • Fully accomplished application. You don’t just walk into a shelter and pick a cat you want then bring it home. You have to undergo an application process. It starts by submitting a fully filled out form.
  • Interview. If you’re shortlisted as one of the potential owners, the shelter staff will call you. Most of the time, it will be a phone interview. But if you’re adopting from a local shelter, they will likely ask you to come by.
  • Home visits. This is a very critical requirement. The shelter staff will ensure that your home and living setup is suitable for raising a pet. Take note that a lot of potential adopters fail on this part. It’s important to establish that your household is all set for the arrival of a new pet.
  • Identification. This is a basic requirement so the shelter staff will know you better. A valid ID will seal this.
  • Meet and greet. Most shelters will require you to meet the cat in person before you bring it home. They will observe how you and the cat will match. If you have kids, it’s best to bring them too, to see if they will get along with the cat.
  • Adoption fee. Lastly, you have to pay the adoption fee. This is typically way cheaper than buying a cat. It can be anywhere from $150 to $400. It depends on the shelter/rescue shelter as well as the overall condition of the kitty. Sometimes, the breed will also affect the adoption fee.

Do you have to be 18 years old to buy a cat?

Most pet shops will allow you to buy a cat as long as you can prove that you’re at least 18 years old. This applies to all pets as well. If you’re below 18, an adult should be the one to get a pet for you. Most of the time, the pet shop will look for your guardian or parents to sign the purchase for you. Remember that a cat is a big commitment. It’s not just a stuffed toy that you can leave in the corner when you’re no longer having fun. This is why pet shops, shelters, and rescue centers are strict in age requirements.

If you’re bent to get a cat but not at the right age to adopt or buy, you can unofficially adopt a stray. Training stray cats would be difficult and you may face escape attempts. If you have got a stray cat, the article what to do with a stray cat that won’t leave can help you. However, you’ll need to register the kitty, especially if your neighborhood requires a license for every pet.

What age is best to adopt a cat?

What age is best to adopt a cat

Age isn’t the main consideration when deciding if you want to adopt a cat. Sure, you need to be at least 18 years old to meet the requirements of the shelter or rescue. However, you also have to consider if you’re physically, mentally, and financially prepared for a pet.

While the upfront cost of adopting a cat is cheap, it’s more expensive in the long haul. Also, cats aren’t toys that you can leave anytime you like. They are like children that require proper care and attention.

In the end, it’s not about the age but how prepared you are for the big commitment.

Can you adopt a pet from another state?

As long as you meet the age requirement, you can adopt a cat from any state. You just have to coordinate with the shelter/rescue to fulfill the screening process.

However, adopting from another state isn’t easy. This is why most adopters opt to get a cat from a local shelter. It will save them time, effort, and money than going interstate.

The good thing is that most shelters that allow interstate adoption have a system for transporting the animals. They usually partner with a pet courier to ensure the cat’s safety. However, for long-distance transport, you will be asked to fly and pick up the cat. Learn here how to get an aggressive cat into a carrier

How soon can kittens leave their mother cat?

Take note that kittens shouldn’t be separated from their mother for the first eight weeks of life. This is so the litter can nurse from their mother and receive ample nutrition. Also, the mother cat has to teach its litter the basic instincts to survive. This includes introducing the kittens to cat food, burying their fecal matter, and grooming, among others.

Removing the kittens too early from the mother will result in a lot of problems. This will affect the kitty’s nutrition, growth, behavior, and overall health. The mother cat will also feel stressed about the sudden disappearance of one of her offspring.

How much does it cost to adopt a cat?

How much does it cost to adopt a cat

Most of the time, adopting a cat is cheaper than buying one from a pet shop. It could be as cheap as $15 to $400 and that’s already pushing it. On average, shelters or rescue centers will have adoption fees of around $200. This is to cover the vet costs, food, and other expenses they shelled out to care for the kitty. Take note that adoption isn’t, or rarely, a business for rescue centers or shelters.

However, if you intend to adopt from a different state, you will have to spend more. You will shoulder the cost of transporting the cat, which gets more expensive as the distance increases. If you are curious what is the most expensive cat this article is worth reading. 

If you want to save money, it’s best to go local. The adoption process for the cat will also be easier and the kitty won’t have to go through the stress of long travels.



How old do you have to be to adopt a cat? Most shelters and rescue centers require adopters to be at least 18 years old. This will vary widely so it’s important to check and inquire. Aside from age, you should be financially, mentally, and physically prepared to care for a cat.

We hope you have gained useful knowledge from this article. If you fulfill all the requirements, get a cat and add love and much joy to your life. 

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