Find your purr-fect companion: A complete guide to cat adoption in Czechia

From places to find your cat soulmate to practical issues, here is what you need to know before becoming a cat parent.

Ioana Caloianu

Written by Ioana Caloianu Published on 08.08.2023 17:40:00 (updated on 10.08.2023) Reading time: 7 minutes

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Happy International Cat Day! Whether you've always been surrounded by cat love or have recently developed a soft spot for cute and playful felines, you might consider welcoming a cat into your life. If you're living in the Czech Republic and ready to take on the responsibilities of being a cat parent, we've got you covered with practical steps and options available for cat adoption. While the experience can be incredibly rewarding, it's essential to understand the responsibilities and potential challenges that come with it.

Questions to ask yourself before the adoption:

  • Is my home cat-friendly? If you live in a rental place, make sure to notify your landlord in advance if you plan to adopt a pet, especially if the place comes fully furnished. Some landlords might be open to leasing their property to cat owners at an additional cost that is added to the rent (plus a higher security deposit), which can be up to a couple of thousand Czech crowns. As an extra tip, even if you welcome the cat into your home, make sure to install at least one scratching post (your furniture and carpets will thank you).
  • Is my home cat-proof? Some cat shelters only give pets for adoption to owners who commit to keeping them indoors. Installing window nets or mesh curtains is a good idea, as accidents happen (the saying about curiosity and the cat can attest to that). You can find these in home improvement stores, like Baumax or Obi.
  • Am I, or is anyone in my household allergic to cats? It might seem counterintuitive, but that doesn’t mean you cannot become a cat parent, because certain cat breeds are hypoallergenic. On the other hand, chronic health conditions might get worse in the presence of a cat, so it would be good to consult with your GP beforehand.
  • Do I have enough time to take care of a cat? Although they have a reputation for being fiercely independent, cats also enjoy spending a couple of hours of quality time each day with their favorite human companion. Other than cuddles, they also need grooming (brushing their coats is beneficial not just for them, but it also prevents the formation of pesky fur and dust bunnies in your living space), and their claws need to be cut regularly.
  • Do I have the budget to take care of a cat? Many cat shelters charge adoption fees to cover the cost of daily expenses; these range from a few hundred to a few thousand crowns. While healthcare in Czechia is free for humans, the same does not apply to pets. You should take your cat for regular vet checkups, including yearly vaccinations, which can add up to thousands of crowns per year (not to mention health emergencies which can be just as costly). As cats mature and age, the likelihood of them developing health issues increases, although some vets offer special packages that are similar to those from private healthcare providers.
  • What happens to the cat if I need to travel? Unlike dogs that are keen on accompanying you on adventures, cats are homebodies, so when making travel plans you also need to consider either finding a pet sitter for the duration of your absence or taking your cat to a cat hotel. In the latter case, for peak holiday seasons like Christmas or the summer holidays, you need to make reservations months in advance.

If you went through the above-mentioned checklist and your resolve to become a parent is as strong as ever, the next step is finding a cat that’s compatible with your personality and lifestyle. Despite folk wisdom that cats find their owners and not the other way around, finding the perfect cat for you is more like dating: you need to look in the right places and ask the right questions before making a commitment. 

While some might prefer purebred cats that come from certified breeders, the author of this article strongly recommends adopting cats from animal shelters. The Czech Republic has hundreds of them; some of them are run with funds from local municipalities, while many others are organized by volunteers and entirely reliant on donations (and in some cases have transparent bank accounts displayed on their websites, which allows donors to see how the funds are spent).

Our story: How Ioana met Kulička and Honey Bunny

A cat lover since a very young age, I decided in the fall of 2015 that I was ready to give a forever home to a loving cat. After doing some research, I reached out to several cat organisations (via email or their social media pages), and also specified that I was a foreigner speaking limited Czech. I received several replies in English, and, after careful consideration, decided that I wanted to adopt a young ginger tomcat from the organisation Pozor Kočka! The staff kindly inquired about my lifestyle and told me that Kulička (my cat crush) was quite energetic, so he would probably appreciate having another cat companion. My choice went to Honey Bunny, a black-and-white kitten that was very shy at first, and later turned into a feisty little devil. Both had a clean bill of health and came with a health certificate. I kept in touch with Pozor Kočka! for several months after the adoption to let them know how  Kulička and Honey Bunny settled into their new life (quite seamlessly after the first couple of days).

Cat shelters that are worth checking out:

  • The above-mentioned Pozor Kočka! is based around a network of volunteers, some of whom are based in Prague neighborhoods such as Vršovice, Hostivař, or Klecany, as well as the town of Český Brod. Their website has several separate sections, for kittens (up to one year of age), adult cats and tomcats, cats who are in quarantine, and cats that live permanently in their shelters. Some of their staff speak English.
  • Destiny Pet has an English-friendly website, and their philosophy is to put high demands on new owners “because the new home must be better than the temporary one,” and also provide lifelong counselling services once the adoption is complete. The cats that are up for adoption are spayed/neutered, microchipped, dewormed, vaccinated, and tested for FIV and FeLV.
  • Cool Critters is based in a countryside farmhouse north of Prague, and run by founder Jaq, who is British, and a group of dedicated friends/volunteers of different nationalities. If you’re interested in giving a home to their cats, fill out an adoption application form (which is in English).
  • With an English-friendly section of their website, this organization also screens potential cat parents through an initial questionnaire (whose answers can be in English) to ensure the best possible match, as some cats might have trouble adapting to families with small children or living in small apartments.
  • The Prague Police runs Útulek Troja, a large animal shelter that has cats for adoption. Adoption of an animal can take place on two levels, either temporary care (for animals that have been in the shelter for less than 4 months, in case their original owner claims them) or permanent care (for animals that have been in the shelter for more than 4 months). You need a permanent residency permit to be eligible; while some staff speak English, a basic level of Czech is required for the adoption formalities.
  • You can find more information on the website of the State Veterinary Administration, which contains the full list of registered shelters in the Czech Republic.

Several of the above-mentioned shelters also offer fostering options, which involve giving cats a temporary home. This can be a good choice if you don’t have a lot of experience taking care of a cat, or if you are in Czechia for a limited period of time. You can also financially support the operation of the shelters, sponsor a specific cat with a monthly sum, or donate pet supplies (make sure to check before purchasing anything as the shelters might have specific needs). 

One final hoop to jump through

You’ve found your purrfect match, went through the adoption process, and are counting the days until your new pet arrives home. Why not use this time productively, and shop for pet supplies? The basics for every cat include food and water bowls; food that’s adjusted to the age, needs, and dietary requirements of your cat; litter box and cat litter; a cat bed (although cats have a special skill in choosing comfy corners around the house for naps); and toys to keep your cat entertained (the possibilities are endless in this domain, so just use your DIY skills). 

PARTNER TIP: Quality food can ensure a long, healthy life for your cat. If you're looking for great value, Brit is a nutrition brand aimed at supporting the health and general condition of pets, including cats. In the production of Brit feed, only carefully selected, high-quality raw materials of verified origin from local sources are used. The brand follows the latest trends while remaining firmly rooted in the basics of healthy nutrition and the company's philosophy: "We make food for pets with love to provide them with the best care." Brit is the flagship of the Vafo Group. Production takes place in several plants in the Czech Republic equipped with modern technologies.

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