Adoption Policies, Fees, & FAQs

Thank you so much for your interest in welcoming a formerly homeless pet into your life. To Animal Aid, animal rescue is about placing every cat and dog into a loving, safe, and permanent home; therefore, we have a more careful and thorough adoption process than some other shelters.

All of our cats and dogs have been neutered or spayed, micro-chipped, examined by a veternarian, and are up to date on their core vaccines.

Please take a moment to read through our adoption process. We hope that this explanation of our policies and procedures will address most of your questions.


Step 1: Filling Out an Adoption Application

Please fill out the Animal Aid Adoption Application online or print the application and return to us via email, mail or fax.  We need an adoption application before we can set up a meeting for any dogs or cats in foster homes. For cats who are living in the shelter you may choose to come in and meet them before turning in an application.

Please note: Due to our screening preference to view the potential home and interview the prospective guardian, we rarely adopt out of our local Portland metro area.  Also you must be 21 years of age or older to adopt from Animal Aid.

Step 2: Visit Animal Aid to meet our animals.

The shelter is open to visit cats Monday – Friday 11am – 4pm and Saturday “Show and Tell” from Noon – 4pm. No appointment necessary. Come play, snuggle, and maybe even fall in love!

If you have applied for a dog or cat in foster we will set up an appointment to meet at the shelter or at the foster’s home.

Step 3: Adoption Counselor Makes Contact

Once we receive the application, you will be contacted by an Adoption Counselor to discuss the process and answer any questions.

We try to make initial contact within a day of receiving the application, but of course we cannot make a guarantee. Please bear in mind that our adoption counselors are volunteers with families, jobs, etc., so the application process may not move as quickly as some prospective adopters would like.

Step 4: Application Information Is Verified

We verify your information including 1) ownership of your property or verifying with your rental manager that pets are allowed on premises, 2) Contacting your veterinarian to confirm your patronage, and 3) we may contact your personal references.

Step 5: Everyone Meets

We ask you (and, if possible, everyone in your household, sometimes other pets) to come to the Animal Aid shelter to meet with an Adoption Counselor and your prospective cat or dog. In some cases (especially with dogs) this may be the first opportunity you have to meet the animal face-to-face, and this meeting is often the key element to the final decision (on our part and yours) to proceed with the adoption.

Step 6: Home Visit & Delivery

The final step in the process is the home visit, usually made when the animal is delivered to your home. During the home visit, we will check the premises to ensure that the cat or dog will be properly confined (to the house for cats, and with a securely fenced yard for dogs). Even at this late stage, the adoption will not be finalized if we cannot be confident that the animal will be housed appropriately. The home visit also gives the Adoption Counselor a chance to go over any special recommendations we might have for the animal – medical issues, feeding guidelines, socialization recommendations, etc.

You will be asked to sign an Adoption Agreement, a contract outlining your guardian responsibilities. We also either collect an adoption fee (for our S.T.A.R. animals) or request a donation to Animal Aid.

Adoption Fees

All of our animals are vaccinated, treated for parasites, micro-chipped, spayed or neutered, cats tested for FIV/Felv and all animals receive any necessary veterinary care (dentals, etc.) until adoption. Most of our animals do not have a set adoption fee. We do ask for a donation of your choosing at adoption. Your donation enables Animal Aid to continue helping the homeless dogs and cats of our community and to take care of the feeding and medical needs of current and future adopted animals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do Animal Aid dogs and cats come from?

Our mission is to help all animals, but we choose to focus first on the ones that are most in need. To our organization, this translates to helping those that we can save from certain death in high kill-rate shelters. We also are periodically contacted by veterinarians and even law enforcement officials asking us to take in cats and dogs from abusive situations.

Are your pets healthy?

Yes. Our animals visit a veterinarian for testing, exams, spaying or neutering (if 4 months of age or older), vaccinations and any other needed treatments. All cats offered for adoption have tested negative for FeLV and FIV.

Why does Animal Aid prefer to adopt kittens in pairs, with another cat, or to a home with a kitten-tolerant resident cat?

Here are five good reasons to adopt two kittens together:

1. One kitten can become lonely and bored, especially if the owners are working or at school for most of the day. Boredom is the first factor in causing problem behavior.

2. Two kittens socialize each other. When they play rough they let each other know how much biting is too much. They learn what is acceptable play behavior and what is unacceptable aggressive behavior. When they have a playmate their age they learn to be much better cats.

3. Kittens find comfort in each other – just watch them sleeping curled together.

4. One kitten can easily irritate an adult cat. Some adopt a kitten when they have an older cat with the thought that the older cat will more easily accept a kitten rather than another adult cat. Not necessarily. The kitten will want to constantly play, not knowing boundaries, and will pester the older cat until it becomes stressed.

5. When you adopt two kittens, you save two lives.

What exactly is a S.T.A.R. pet?

S.T.A.R. animals provide financial support to other Animal Aid animals through their adoption fee.

These special pets, who are usually adopted quickly, Support The Animals Remaining in our care who may need many months of medical or social rehabilitation before they are adopted. The S.T.A.R. pets all have a set adoption fee, specified on their personal display page.

What is the “lifetime return policy” for adopted pets?

The adoption contract states that you agree to return the pet directly to Animal Aid if a major life change makes it impossible for you to keep the pet in your home. The animal will always have a safe place to return to instead of potentially ending up in a kill shelter again or on the streets. Any donation you made earlier would not be returned.

I turned in my application ages ago – why is it taking so long?

There are several factors that will affect the speed with which we can handle your adoption request:

  • Was your information complete and verifiable
  • How many applications have been received for same pet
  • Available hours for volunteer adoption counselors

No one wants to move these pets into good homes more than we do, but we know that care taken up front to match the pet to the new family is the best thing we can do to ensure that it does not re-enter the rescue cycle.

When should I spay my cat?

If your cat is over four months old, NOW. An unspayed female cat over 5 months old can produce multiple litters per year (yes, she can become pregnant while she is still nursing), and if each of those kittens begin reproducing at age five months.