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

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

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

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

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

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.

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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The Reason Your Dog Stares at You

Dogs stare for a number of different reasons.
Dogs stare for a number of different reasons.
sankai/iStock via Getty Images

Sooner or later, every dog owner will find their pet expressing an innate curiosity over even the most mundane of actions. Watching television? The dog will observe you closely. Folding laundry? The dog will stare at you like you’re a Magic Eye poster.

You can tell the dog it’s rude, but they’ll continue doing it. So why do dogs stare at us?

It often has little to do with what we’re doing and is more about what we might do. Dogs are big on visual cues. They know a walk is preceded by you picking up their leash; dinnertime might involve going to the pantry; a car ride means grabbing the keys. If they get a treat by obeying a command, then they know you’re probably going to start pointing at them and want to make sure they don’t miss it. In keeping an eye on you, a dog is looking for hints that you’re going to do something they want.

Dogs may also use staring as a method to train their owner. Most people are more likely to slip a dog something off their dinner plate if the dog is looking up at them wistfully. If that behavior is rewarded, then the dog knows giving you a pleading look may result in some pork chops landing at their feet.

But not all dogs stare out of greed. For dogs, just like humans, making eye contact releases oxytocin, otherwise known as the “love hormone.” It’s a bonding experience for humans and their animal companions.

Of course, staring can have other connotations, particularly if it’s not a dog you know very well. An unblinking, focused stare with a rigid body posture can mean the dog is feeling territorial or might be considering taking a bite out of you. It’s best to back away. It’s also not advisable to hold a dog still and stare at them, as this might be considered an act of aggression.

The next time you catch your dog eyeing you, it’s likely they’re hoping for a walk, a treat, or just want to bond. Absent other methods of communication, staring is an effective way for getting their humans to behave.

[h/t American Kennel Club]