Cat Adoption in the UK- What's the Problem?

Hi, this is Michael, I run the Pictures of website and work with VG. VG asked me to do a post about cat adoption in UK and whether it could be more efficient. The following gives the essence of a much longer exchange we had via email and chat:

VG: Hi Michael, from reading my blog stats, there are UK readers who are looking to adopt/ rescue a cat, and “outclick” either to your site, or to the link I give near the top right. You know I found Tootsie, my Maine coon, via US, by searching their internet data base of cats available for adoption. Do you know of any similar thing in the UK? I’ve searched around and can’t find anything like Petfinder in the UK.

Michael: Here’s a link to the largest cat rescue organization in the UK, but they don’t have much of an internet presence -

VG: Okay, I’ve checked out the site extensively. I am very surprised to find that there is no way of searching the site to find details of cats to adopt- even the basics like the sex and the age of the cat. I know that not everyone is looking to adopt, say, a Maine coon, as I was, but do you have any idea why “Cat Protection” doesn’t have at least a minimal data base online? Is it lack of “manpower” and funding to create such a data base, or lack of awareness of the power of the internet?

Michael: They have a lot of funding, though less so of late, due to some risky investments. As for the internet, they are in the stone age.

VG: Would you be willing to do a post about this, and cross-post it on my blog? I had started out with the idea of doing a post about cat adoption in the UK, but ran up against a brick wall as for information, except for what you have on your site about particular breeds. You are in the UK, and have a much better perspective on this than I do....

Well here is a summary of the post on an associated website ABOUT CATS AND CAT BREEDS:

The Cats Protection organization are the leading feline welfare charity in the UK. They claim to re-home 55,500 cats every year (but they also say that "more than 157,000 cats are given the chance of a better life every year" - how many don't make it?). The Cats Protection was formed in 1927, a very long established cat charity and to be commended for that. But the problem is this: are they placing rescue cats with people who want to adopt in the most efficient manner considering the usefulness of the internet (and the growing use of the internet)?

In the United States there is, a very efficient organisation with a big web presence that acts as a match maker between person and cat. Rescue centers can be affiliated to Petfinder and "advertise" their cats through Petfinder. This facilitates the placing of cats. Cats Protection do it the old fashioned way and you simply search for the local facility and then go and visit. That is fine in one way as you have to visit the center but they could go much further and generate an immediate connection between cat and person as the Petfinder site does.

It is not a question of a lack of funding that holds Cats Protection back. They recently "lost" (or might lose, an update is required - see below) about £11 million invested in Icelandic banks. No, there is no shortage of funding, it is about good management. So when VG asked about cat adoption in the UK and whether there was a problem, the answer is a guarded, yes. It could be more efficient. See the full post here:

Cats Protection Organisation

Update: I just read on the Charity Finance website ( that there will be no government bail out for those charities which lost money invested in Icelandic banks. Not surprising considering the fortune the government has thrown down the black hole of the busted banks. Cats Protection has, with other charities, formed an action group to recover the money. It is still missing therefore. What a waste and what terrible news for cats.


  1. Hi Michael,

    thanks very much for this and the linked article.

    I was very much on the fence about getting a cat again, and the means to start looking on the internet really helped me get used to the idea- looking at the pictures, reading the stories of the cats. If the first step had to have been to walk in to a cat adoption place, I probably wouldn't have a cat yet.

    But, after a lot of looking I found Tootsie on the internet via petfinder. And, something said "yes"- she's the cat. I saw a lot of other cats that were "well, maybe", and going through that process really helped me clarify what kind of cat was "my" cat.

    Part of the idea of any rescue organization is matching the right animals and humans, and the internet helped with this.

    I think Cat Protection is missing a big audience of potential adopters.

  2. Absolutely agree with you VG. Thanks for asking me to get involved. It was a good idea of yours.


  3. Michael,

    My "idea" simply arose from the frustration of trying to provide info to UK readers (via blog stats) who it seemed were looking for something similar to petfinder.

    And, frankly, I first thought that I was missing something. You seemed the obvious person to ask about this issue.

    Best outcome that people in the UK read your words, and start asking Cat Protection the same questions!

  4. Thanks for the update Michael. That is unfortunate, especially since at least here, donations to charity based animal rescue places appear be way down- I assume that it is similar in the UK. And these are places that pretty much operate on a shoestring anyway- meaning they don't have "fall back cash" to draw on.


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