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.

Beyond Tiger King: 10 Fascinating Animal Documentaries You Can Stream Right Now

A scene from Catwalk: Tales from the Cat Show Circuit (2018).
A scene from Catwalk: Tales from the Cat Show Circuit (2018).
Markham Street Films

By now, you've probably already binged Netflix's bewilderingly bonkers docuseries Tiger King (2020). If you're ready to dive deeper into the animal kingdom, there are plenty more documentaries out there. From wildcats to whales, these 10 films will take you on a cinematic adventure around the world, introducing you to captivating creatures and the people who love them.

1. The Tigers of Scotland (2017)

The Tigers of Scotland (2017) brings viewers as up close and personal as possible with a small but mighty feline: the Scottish wildcat. The film delves into the efforts to conserve the disappearing Highland tiger, as well as the history and mythology surrounding the UK’s only “big cat.”

Watch it: Netflix, Amazon, iTunes

2. Ghost of The Mountains (2017)

This 2017 Disneynature documentary will transport you to the world’s highest plateau in search of a family of snow leopards. These cats are famously tough to find, so Ghost of the Mountains offers viewers behind-the-scenes footage of what it’s like to track the elusive beasts.

Watch it: Netflix, Google Play, Youtube

3. Catwalk: Tales from the Cat Show Circuit (2018)

This delightful documentary takes you deep into the competitive cat show circuit. Both charming and at times cutthroat, the film brings viewers on a journey to see which of the many cool cats and kittens will be crowned Canada's top cat.

Watch it: Netflix

4. Kingdom of the White Wolf (2019)

Follow along as a National Geographic explorer and photographer embeds with a white wolf pack in the high Arctic. These wild wolves aren't used to seeing people, giving the filmmakers—and audience—an intimate window into the pack's daily lives and familial bonds. In addition to showcasing captivating footage of the animals, the three-part docuseries also features sweeping views of the starkly beautiful Ellesmere Island.

Watch it: Disney+, YouTube TV

5. Dogs (2018)

This docuseries, which highlights various dogs and their humans from around the world, celebrates the bond between people and their pups. But it’s more than just a montage of feel-good moments about humankind’s best friend: Each episode tells a broader tale about the human condition, crafting an emotional narrative that pulls at the heartstrings like a puppy tugging on a toy.

Watch it: Netflix

6. Dancing with the Birds (2019)

These birds will put your dad moves to shame. Watch the male avian performers shimmy, shake, and flash their feathers while attempting to woo their female mates. The documentary, narrated by Stephen Fry, offers a colorful look at the wonderfully wacky world of bird mating rituals.

Watch it: Netflix

7. Honeyland (2019)

This documentary follows Hatidze Muratova, one of the last wild beekeepers in a remote village in North Macedonia. She lives with her ailing mother, nurturing a traditional way of beekeeping passed down through the generations and striking a balance between making a living and maintaining ecological balance. But everything changes when a nomadic family settles nearby, threatening Muratova’s way of life. The resulting story is both sweet and stinging.

Watch it: Hulu, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play

8. Virunga (2014)

This 2014 documentary highlights the park rangers fighting to protect the Congo’s Virunga National Park, home to the critically endangered mountain gorilla. As poaching and oil exploration threaten the park, the rangers and conservationists risk their lives to guard the rare creatures that inhabit it.

Watch it: Netflix

9. Harry & Snowman (2016)

In the 1950s, Harry deLayer bought Snowman, a run-down plow horse destined for slaughter, for just $80 at an auction. Within months, the two were taking the show jumping circuit by storm, launching both horse and rider to new heights. This documentary tells the story of the friendship the two developed, and chronicles their lives both in and out of the competitive spotlight.

Watch it: Amazon Prime

10. The Whale and the Raven (2019)

The waters around Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest are a haven for whales, who feed and find refuge in the quiet channels. With stunning visuals, this documentary highlights the tension of a community’s push to protect its wild places against the pressures of the ever-encroaching natural gas industry.

Watch it: Amazon Prime

Why Cats Like to Shove Their Butts in Your Face, According to an Animal Behavior Expert

This cat might be happier showing off its butt.
This cat might be happier showing off its butt.
Okssi68/iStock via Getty Images

Cats are full of eccentric behaviors. They hate getting wet. Their tongues sometimes get stuck midway out of their mouths, known as a “blep.” And they’re really happy hanging out in bodegas.

Some of these traits can be explained while others are more mysterious. Case in point: when they stick their rear end in your face for no apparent reason.

Are cats doing this just to humiliate their hapless caregivers? What would possess a cat to greet a person with its butt? Why subject the person who gives you food and shelter to such degradation?

To find out, Inverse spoke with Mikel Delgado, a postdoctoral fellow at the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis. According to Delgado, cats don’t necessarily perceive their rectal flaunting as anything aggressive or domineering. In fact, it might be a cat’s way of saying hello.

“For cats, it’s normal for them to sniff each other’s butts as a way to say hello or confirm another cat’s identity,” Delgado said. “It’s hard for us to relate to, but for them, smell is much more important to cats and how they recognize each other than vision is. So cats may be ‘inviting’ us to check them out, or just giving us a friendly hello.”

For a cat, presenting or inspecting a butt is a kind of fingerprint scan. It’s a biological measure of security.

Other experts agree with this assessment, explaining that cats use their rear end to express friendliness or affection. Raising their tail so you can take a whiff is a sign of trust. If they keep their tail down, it’s possible they might be feeling a little shy.

If you think this situation is eased by the fact you rarely hear cats fart, we have bad news. They do. Because they don’t often gulp air while eating, they just don’t have enough air in their digestive tract to make an audible noise. Rest assured that, statistically speaking, there will be times a cat giving you a friendly greeting is also stealthily farting in your face.

[h/t Inverse]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER