Nothing brings cat lovers more joy than raising an adorable kitten. While others can easily purchase any cat breed of their choice, others are only left to daydream about owning one. This is why many feline enthusiasts try to get kittens for free.
While you can easily google “where to find free kittens near me” with one click, actually finding one can be a lot more complicated.
After all, the best things in life don’t always come easy. However, it’s also not impossible to spend zero dollars on your next pet.
If you want credible tips on how to find free kittens or adult cats near your area, you are definitely on the right page. Let’s discuss them one by one!
How to Get Kittens for Free in Your Area?
Regardless of where you live, there are many ways for you to get a free kitten or cat. Although not always guaranteed, your chances of successfully taking home a new companion are never zero.
The ways listed below are realistic enough to actually let you have the pet of your dreams without having to spend a single dime:
1. Take in a stray cat
Cat overpopulation is still a significant issue in many countries, especially in big cities. Since many owners choose not to neuter or spay their cats, thousands of unwanted litters are produced every year.
These helpless kittens and their cat moms are thrown to the streets and left to survive on their own.
Stray cats are often found striving near dumpsters or outside people’s houses, waiting for someone to feed them.
If you observe a stray kitty lingering near your front door or yard, start feeding them to gain their trust.
Once the kitten or cat feels comfortable around you, it’s time to arrange a housewarming party for the new family member.
If you want to hear a successful rescue story, here is a video of an abandoned kitten who was eventually adopted:
2. Ask your local shelter
Animals are taken in by the dozen every minute in pet shelters. Sadly, approximately 5,000 cats and dogs are euthanized each day.
While most animal shelters require an adoption fee, others can let you adopt a kitten without charge.
However, you should proceed with caution because you may end up getting a kitten that has underlying illnesses due to old age or complications from poor health. You will need to shoulder any medical expenses needed to treat them.
3. Go to the nearest rescue organization
A better option than a shelter is going to a local rescue organization. These rescue groups are dedicated to saving various animals, including cats, from high-kill situations and crowded shelters.
They also require a small adoption fee, but this can easily be waived if you choose to be a foster parent for their rescue.
After the fostering period, they can give you the necessary paperwork for the official adoption of the cat. This also serves as an assessment if you are ready to be a cat parent or not.
3. Ask a friend who is expecting a new litter
If you have a friend, relative, or even a neighbor who is expecting a new kitten litter, you can pay them a visit to ask if you can have one of the newborns.
If it’s an unexpected pregnancy, there’s a high chance that they might agree to give you one for free.
Reassure your friend that the kitten will be given proper care and attention. Then, when the kitten is old enough for you to take home, you can offer them a free drink or better yet, cook them a good meal as a way of saying thanks.
4. Join Facebook groups dedicated to cat adoptions
For more chances of finding a cat, use the power of social media. Many Facebook groups and pages are dedicated to putting up kittens, adults, and senior cats of all breeds for adoption.
Just type in some keywords such as “cat adoption near me” or “free cats for adoption” to filter the results.
You might be surprised by the number of people wanting to give their kittens up without any adoption fee.
However, you need to be quick because most of the available cats posted are given on a first-come, first-serve basis.
5. Ask for referrals through your local vet
Another reliable way to find free kittens for adoption is through your local vet.
If you are in close contact with a veterinarian in your city or town, you can ask him to refer you to clients that may have an extra kitten that they would like to give up for free.
If they say that there is no current information about this matter, you may leave them your contact details just in case they come in contact with someone who can help you.
You can even ask the vet assistant or other employees for a higher chance of getting a free cat.
6. Go to adoption clinics in your area
Your local pet stores are not just places where you can shop for pet supplies. You can also adopt cats or kittens through their free adoption program.
You should check out Petco, PetSmart, and Pet Supplies Plus for the schedules of their adoption clinics, as they call it.
This initiative helps give homeless cats a new chance at building a normal life with a loving family. It is also very convenient since you won’t have to search for the closest shelter or rescue.
7. Try your luck on Craigslist
For those of you that don’t know about Craigslist, it is an online classified ads website.
People from all over the United States post listings of anything they have for sale, including pet cats. However, some owners may not actually require payment for their posts.
Alternatively, you can post an ad stating that you would like a free cat. Don’t forget to mention your location and be wary of any fake accounts trying to talk to you.
With the number of people that post on this website every day, you’ll be sure to find someone you can trust to have this transaction with.
8. Check the daily newspaper
From websites, we go back to the old-school way of searching for free cat adoption announcements — newspapers.
You may not know it yet, but your good old newspaper might just have the advertisement for your new pet kitten.
Before you get lost in the sea of pages and information, I suggest that you look straight into the classified ads section.
Find postings with captions related to “free kittens for adoption” and contact the owner directly with the information they included.
9. Make use of hashtags on Instagram and Twitter
Hashtags are also helpful in finding advertisements on Instagram and Twitter. I’m pretty sure #catsforfree or #freecatsforadoption will yield some promising results.
However, due to the nature of social media, it’s best to do a background check on the person who posted the listing before meeting up.
Refrain from instantly giving away personal information and ask the right questions before closing a deal with anybody.
10. Post some “Kitten Wanted” fliers in your locality
We’re used to seeing fliers for missing cats but who says you can’t post some for finding a free cat to adopt?
Make the most of the bulletin boards by pinning your notice in public places like your vet’s office, grocery stores, gyms, bus stops, and even laundry shops.
Bring your fliers with you at all times so you can place them in a suitable location. A piece of paper can go a long way.
11. Contact your local breeder
I know what you’re thinking. Yes, you can only buy kittens from breeders and not ask them for free but hear me out.
Although very rarely, breeders may post an announcement about rehoming kittens that couldn’t find new owners.
It’s also possible that the breeder is suddenly stopping their operations and looking for people to adopt their last litter.
However, it still pays to be careful about unethical breeders masking their poor breeding practices by giving out free kittens.
Pros and Cons of Getting a Free Kitten
Getting a free kitten or cat is indeed great for your budget. You don’t have to worry about cashing out hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a new kitten. However, it also comes with some negative consequences.
To help you decide if you truly want a free kitten, here are some pros and cons that I’ve compiled.
Pros of Getting a Free Kitten
Let’s start with the advantages. Here are some benefits of getting a free kitten:
1. You can save a lot of money
Since you don’t have to spend a single cent, you can save thousands of dollars usually spent buying a newborn kitten from a breeder.
You also don’t need to pay for adoption fees required by shelters or rescues. It’s the most practical option.
2. You can allot more budget on cat supplies
With the money you saved, you can focus on purchasing high-quality items for your cat’s convenience. These include carriers, beddings, toys, cat trees, scratching posts, and grooming essentials.
You can also invest in a good pet insurance policy to ensure your cat’s health for the years to come.
3. You don’t have to wait for long approval periods
Adopting a cat from a rescue usually takes two weeks or more since they are run by volunteers. When you get a free kitten from a friend or other sources, you don’t have to deal with these lengthy processing times.
You can instantly get your kitten and take it home. You can also save yourself from interviews, home visits, and tedious evaluations.
4. You can have an instant companion
When adopting a free kitty, you don’t need to be approved by rescue volunteers or be waitlisted by a breeder.
Once you settle the meetup schedule with the cat owner, you can take your pet home instantly.
Typically, this is also a paperwork-free transaction so you won’t have to worry about time-consuming contract signing, settling of payment, etc.
Cons of Getting a Free Kitten
As they say, there are two sides to every coin. So before you get a free kitten, consider the following disadvantages:
1. You can get a cat with several diseases
There is very little to no guarantee that the free kitten you will get is healthy. It’s likely that the owners haven’t taken them to the vet or that their parents might have suffered from a grave illness.
Stray cats, especially, may have acquired infections, injuries, and life-threatening diseases.
2. You might end up spending more money on medical needs
If you adopt a free kitten, you don’t have the advantage of getting a cat with complete vaccinations and preventive medications. You will also need to pay for neutering or spaying services out of your own pocket.
If they have any form of sickness as I’ve mentioned, you need to spend money on treatment. As these expenses add up, you may find that the money you spent is almost equal to the price of a kitten from a breeder.
3. You might need to deal with a feral cat
Aside from medical concerns, you also need to observe the cat’s behavior. For instance, if you adopt a feral cat, you may have trouble dealing with aggressiveness.
Because they are not used to humans, they have a tendency to hiss, claw, or even bite when approached. You need to be very patient in taming them.
4. You can get scammed by people on the internet
Since anyone can post anything online, you can’t be sure that the free kitten ad you see on Facebook or Instagram isn’t a scam.
Make sure that they have a trustworthy profile and insist on asking questions about the kitten they are giving away.
As much as possible, transact with someone who was referred by someone you trust, like your vet or relative.
5. There are very limited sources
Not many people want to give their kitties up for free. Most of them might prioritize giving them to close family friends and relatives. Stray cats might not always be lurking in your area.
On the other hand, adoption clinics might only have a limited number of kittens given for free, so you need to be there as early as possible. As with other sources, the chances of getting a cat can be very slim.
With these considerations in mind, you can put more thought into getting a free cat and compare the pros and cons of buying a breeder-quality kitten.
Do your own research and ask other cat lovers around you for more helpful tips.
Why Are Some Kittens Given Away for Free?
You might be wondering why some kittens or cats are given away for free. There are a couple of reasons why an owner would give them up.
The most common cause being financial or personal problems encountered by the cat owner.
To help you understand better, here is a list of reasons why kittens are given up for adoption without any fees:
- The owner can’t manage another cat in the household.
- The owner is moving away and can’t take the cat with them.
- The cat suddenly displayed unruly behavior.
- The owner can’t support the cat financially.
- The kitten acquired an illness that needs expensive treatment.
- The owner is not ready for the responsibility of owning a cat.
- The owner has some personal issues preventing them from maintaining the cat’s needs.
- Their current household or lifestyle is not suited for having a cat.
- Someone in the family is allergic to cats.
- Their landlord doesn’t allow pets in the apartment.
Due to unfortunate circumstances, many people choose to give their cats to aspiring cat owners for free. This is also less of a hassle for them compared to surrendering the kitty to a shelter or rescue.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It a Good Idea to Adopt Stray Kittens?
Adopting a stray kitten is a good idea for those who want to save a life and have an instant pet.
Unlike feral cats, most stray cats are previously owned by families who just chose to throw them away. While they can be a bit aloof, these cats are easier to tame and adjusted to a home setting.
Do You Have to Pay to Adopt a Cat at Petsmart?
PetSmart usually partners with local shelters to put up cats for adoption. Depending on the shelter they are working with, they may or may not require an adoption fee.
In most cases, the fee can range from $100 to $250. However, senior cats will likely be given up for free rather than kittens.
Will a Mother Cat Abandon Her Kittens If You Touch Them?
A mother cat will not abandon her kittens when a human touches them. Your scent may be left on the kittens’ fur but this won’t make them unrecognizable by their own mother.
They usually don’t like their newborns being touched so they become instantly protective when humans approach them.
That’s why it’s best to leave them alone until the kittens are ready to come out of hiding and socialize.
Where Can You Find Cheap Kittens for Sale?
Cheap kittens for sale can be bought from backyard breeders or found on websites such as GoKitty or even Craigslist.
The kittens available in these sources are less expensive because the sellers are not certified by any cat registries.
Their breeding practices most likely don’t adhere to high standards. No health guarantees and registration are provided after purchase.
Getting a free kitten is a dream come true for many feline aficionados with no financial privilege to buy one. While this is the most convenient and practical way to have a pet cat, it may not always be favorable.
Before finding places to source free kittens, it’s advisable to weigh the advantages and disadvantages so you won’t regret your decision in the end. The last thing you want is to realize that you are not fit to own a cat at all.
If you do choose to adopt a free kitten, make sure to ask the owner about any inherited diseases and other health-related information.
It’s also essential to prepare yourself to manage the cat’s temperament and guide them as they adjust to their new home.
My name is John Carter and I absolutely love pets, especially cats and dogs. I’ve got a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and have several years’ experience working in animal shelters and rescues. My passion for animals started at a very young age as I grow up on a farm with several horses, cows, cats, chickens, and dogs on our property.