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Adoption Policies 

Consider your lifestyle

Whether you are considering a dog or a puppy, a cat or a kitten, or even a hamster or rabbit, ask yourself a few basic questions:

  • Do you have the time to commit, not only to the animal’s basic needs, but also to building a great relationship with your pet?

  • Are you financially able to provide quality food, supplies and veterinary care for your pet?  

  • Does anyone in your family have allergies?

  • Will the animal be well-suited to all members of the household?

  • Are you looking for a pet that has a lot of energy to match your lifestyle or one that is more laid back?

  • Do you plan to move or have children in the near future?


The top three reasons for someone needing to surrender a pet are:

  1. A move to a new home that will not allow pets

  2. The pet is not good with a new family member or family member has allergies 

  3. The onset of behavior or medical issues


Why do we ask that you fill out a Pet Adoption Application before you can see any of our pets for adoption?

Since it is our goal to make sure every pet we place goes into a home best suited for its needs and the adopter gets the pet that best fits their lifestyle we need to know a little bit about you. The information on the application helps us get to know you and understand your home environment, whether there are other pets in the home, children, etc. These are important factors to see how to best match one of our pets to your individual situation.

The application also provides us with a history of your pets. Are your pet’s vaccinations current? Are they a member of your family, a companion? These are all important details that help us understand more about you and what kind of pet guardian you would be for one of our adoptable animals. We want to make sure it is a "win-win" situation for both the adopter and the pet!

Standish Humane requires of its’ adopters:

  • A commitment to never declaw your cat

  • A commitment to care for your pet for its entire life

  • Cats are available for adoption to persons approved by the Standish Humane Society. All persons living in the household are encouraged to be involved in the selection of the pet.

  • Permission of the landlord is required of persons living on rental property.

  • Animals will be placed with adults of legal age, to be kept as household pets and not work to serve only as hunters, or mousers- please inquire about our “working cat program” if you are looking for a “barn cat”.

  • Massachusetts State law requires that all animals that we release for adoption must be spayed/neutered, and must be current on their vaccinations.

  • Owners are required to provide each companion animal with adequate food, water, shelter, space, exercise, treatment, and veterinary care.

  • No animal will be adopted as a gift for another person.   

  • In most cases, the Standish Humane does not place kittens under six months of age in homes with children under six years old.


More Information About Our Adoption Guidelines

Indoor Cats: In Massachusetts, the life expectancy of an indoor-only cat in 15 to 20 years. That figure drops to only 2 or 3 years for cats that are allowed to go outside unsupervised. Some information about the benefits of keeping kitties indoors and tips on making your indoor outdoor cat and indoor cat can be found below:


Landlord Approval: SHS will require proof that you are allowed to have pets if you live in rental housing or in a condominium with animal restrictions in the by-laws. To avoid delays in adopting your pet, please provide us with your landlord or leasing association’s contact information on your application.

Declawing: There is a wealth of statistical information indicating that cats frequently suffer long term problems after being surgically declawed. These problems include, but are not limited to, aggressive biting and eliminating outside the litter box. SHS requires that you sign a CONTRACT agreeing that you will NOT have the cat's claws surgically altered in any way, including laser surgery or tendonotomy. If, after serious consideration, you feel you MUST have a declawed cat, please adopt a cat that is already declawed. Thankfully, it is not common for us to have declawed cats relinquished to us, but when we do, our Petfinder ad for the cat will indicate he or she is declawed. Read more about declawing at

Adopting a Single Kitten: We strongly suggest that adopters consider adopting two kittens at once if they have no other pets and are away from home for several hours each day. SHS will not place a single kitten under the age of six months into a home without an appropriate young feline playmate or other animal companion. This is not about placing more kittens and cats. It’s about the future of the individual kittens, their habits and their happiness. Many people have been skeptical about adopting two kittens rather than one only to thank us later for sticking to our policy. The rewards are great. We’ve never had anyone tell us they wished they had only adopted one. Learn More -- Single Kitten Syndrome

Age/Employment: SHS seeks to adopt to those who are financially secure and in a stable living situation in order to maximize the likelihood of a lifelong bond. Older teens, newly on their own, or still living with parents, may find themselves, in a year or two, making life changes that result in their no longer being able to care for their pet. Because of these reasons and as our desire is to find forever homes for our cats we have implemented 21 as a minimum age to adopt. Additionally, as there may be, at some time, significant veterinary costs involved with any pet, we ask that people adopt only if they are adults, have seriously evaluated the meaning of a twenty-year commitment and are financially able to bear the cost of future emergencies.

Family Decision: Having a pet should be a pleasant and rewarding experience for all involved.  Because small kittens are vulnerable and young children may be unable to predict the consequences of their actions, SHS does not place kittens under 6 months old into homes in which there are children who are less than 6 years old. SHS often has cats who have shown themselves to be particularly tolerant of children. Our Adoption Counselors will work with you to determine the best fit for your family.

Other Pets: We do our best to place each cat into a home where the family bond can be successful. To that end, our adoption process includes specific advice regarding introduction to other pets. It is possible that the cat in whom you are interested, may not be deemed an appropriate match for your furry family. If that is the case, please understand the decision was made in the best interest of the cat and your other pets. All resident pets must be spayed or neutered prior to an adoption from SHS Cat Rescue.

Lifetime Commitment: SHS expects that when you adopt a pet you have made a decision to care for that pet for its entire life. A cat may be a 20-year commitment. Please think through this extremely important decision before you come to the shelter. A pet becomes a family member. A responsible pet owner/guardian makes life decisions to include their pets. Over the years we have placed more than 15,000 cats and kittens. Each year we still get hundreds of cats returned, for any number of reasons. Our goal is PERMANENT placement. For this reason, our Adoption Counselors have been trained to help you find the right pets for your home and your lifestyle.

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