A comparison of attachment levels of adopters of cats: fee-based adoptions versus free adoptions

J Appl Anim Welf Sci. 2009;12(4):360-70. doi: 10.1080/10888700903163674.


Nonhuman animal welfare professionals have been critical of adoption programs that do not charge a fee for adult cats, despite the high euthanasia rate for cats due to a reported lack of homes. The argument against the free cat adoptions cites a devaluation of the cat, which may affect the adopter's perceived value of the cat and subsequent care. It may also attract low-income adopters who are perceived as unable to fulfill the financial responsibility of acting as caregiver (owner) of a companion animal (pet). This study examined adopters' attachment to their cats in relation to the payment or waiver of an adoption fee using the Lexington Attachment to Pets Scale and perception of the shelter. No significant differences were found between groups on either measure. Programs such as this create an opportunity to positively affect cats in animal shelters by finding more homes; programs such as this also affect cat overpopulation by putting more altered cats into the community.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animal Welfare / economics
  • Animals
  • Animals, Domestic / psychology
  • Bonding, Human-Pet*
  • Cats
  • Euthanasia, Animal / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Maine
  • Ownership / economics*
  • Perception
  • Surveys and Questionnaires