How to Adopt a Cat for Free

There’s an abundance of cats looking for a good home, of all different ages and breeds. This means there are undoubtedly lots of free cats available, it’s just a matter of knowing where to look. 

Adopting a cat from a shelter is typically the best way to get a cat for free. Though most shelters charge a small fee, they often host adoption events where the animals are basically given away. 

But if you’re looking to get a cat for free thinking it will save you lots of money, it won’t make much of a difference in the long run. Take a look at our article about the average cost of a cat for more information on how much cats can cost over the course of their life. Hint: it’s not cheap! 

Getting a cat means committing to it for its lifespan, which can be up to 15 years or more. So you can quickly see why adopting it for free makes little difference in the total cost of cat ownership. 

But if you’re someone who likes a deal, there are many ways to get a cat for free. Follow along as we outline the best ways to adopt a cat for zero dollars.

Social Media Groups

Facebook may not be the first place you think of when you think of pet adoptions, but there are many groups on this platform dedicated to just that. Go to the website and type in ‘free cats’ or ‘free kittens,’ and dozens of groups should pop up in your area. While some people charge a small fee to rehome their cats, others give them away for free. It may take some time to find the perfect free cat, but once you join these groups you’ll be kept updated on any new posts.

While this site is mainly for neighborhood updates and crime reports, there are also pet postings. The poster will put a price for the cat or kitten, and typically they’re listed as free. Scroll through posts in your area and you should be able to find some cats looking for a home.

Craig’s List

Craig’s List is the Internet’s version of classified newspaper ads. It’s been around for a long time and has a super basic interface. Check out the ‘free’ section in the ‘For Sale’ column, or the ‘pets’ section of the ‘Community,’ this is where free cats are usually listed.


This site is known for its plethora of pet listings. From dogs to cats to lizards, you can find any sort of pet here. While some pets are listed with a rehoming fee, others are listed for free. It may take awhile to find the perfect one, but it’s worth checking frequently!

Adoption Fairs

The Humane Society and other pet rescue centers frequently host adoption fairs where they will give away pets for free. This is a great way to get a cat as they’re typically already spayed or neutered. The best way to find out about these is to follow these groups on social media or look at their website.

Local Newspapers

There is usually a free or for sale section in the back of local newspapers. This is where many pets are listed for sale. Check it out and see if there are any cats listed for free. Keep looking until you find the perfect one!

Veterinarian Clinics

Sometimes people return found cats to a local veterinarian clinic. Typically, vets transfer them to a local animal shelter, but you may be able to catch them before they’re sent away. You can give your local vet clinics a call and ask if they have any cats available for adoption, and let them know to call you when they do. 

Foster a Kitten

Often you can get a cat for free if you opt to foster a kitten. There are many kittens born throughout the year that need a foster home. While you typically will foster the kitten until a home is found, you can decide to keep them yourself. One of the benefits of this is that they often are spayed or neutered for free.

This site is meant just for pets – which is obvious considering the name! You can browse for all types of animals on the site. There is a special section for cats, if you hover your mouse over the ‘Find a Pet’ bar and click ‘Find a Cat.’ You can then type in your city, set your radius and preferred gender, and click search. My search came up with over 3,000 cats! Many of these cats are located at shelters, so you’ll have to call to find out the price. Many shelters are overloaded, though, so they will probably be willing to give their cats away for free. 

Similar to AdoptaPet, PetFinder is a database of all adoptable cats near you. You can type in your zip code or city and set a search radius. It will then come up with lots of cats needing loving homes. Much like AdoptaPet, some of these cats are at shelters. 

Final Thoughts…

As you can see, there are many ways to find a free cat! You can begin almost all of these searches online, as cats are posted about every day on various platforms. If you’re not having luck with websites, feel free to venture into the real world where you can visit veterinarian clinics and shelters to find a free cat.

Adoption events are always a safe bet when it comes to cheap cats. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for strays, as well. Though you should definitely take in any strays to a local animal shelter and wait to see if their owners claim them, you can leave your contact information with the shelter so you can be notified if they are adoptable. 

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Lisa is a vet tech at a busy veterinarian's office in New York City. She finds her career incredibly fulfilling, and loves sharing her pet knowledge with the world. As the owner of FOUR beautiful cats, Sunny, Honey, Cali and Bear, she is a feline expert!