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41 Shelter Cats That Need Homes in 2020

Once you see all of these sweet kitties that are looking for forever homes, it's going to be hard to pick just one!

shelter cats w-ings/Getty Images

Warning: These cats are about to steal your heart

We’re not kittin’ around when we say that these cats deserve the purr-fect forever homes. Some were neglected and abused by the very people who were supposed to be caring for them. Others were surrendered by owners for no fault of their own. And some were lonely strays who were found injured and starving. Whatever brought them to the shelter makes no difference to them, though. They’re looking forward to brighter days, napping in sunny windows, and cozy nights, snuggled on your lap.

Now is your chance to pounce on this opportunity to get your sweetie. Just click on the cat’s name to learn more. If the link is no longer available, the cat found a home. But don’t give up! All of the shelters have other cats who are just as deserving. And if you’re not quite ready to make a commitment but still want to help, check out these 18 things animal shelters desperately need right now.

sundae catCourtesy Maryland SPCA


Hello! My name is Sundae. My Maryland SPCA foster mom says I’m a sassy girl, but not so sassy that I don’t want attention or cuddles with you. On the contrary, we’ll be best friends in no time. My foster mom can vouch for that. Wherever she is, I want to be there, too. I just have a few requests: Don’t follow too close behind me (that makes me nervous), and I want to be your one and only. That’s a subtle hint, in case you didn’t pick up on it—no furry roommates, please. Some cats can live in the same house together, but if you put these pet combos together, you’re asking for trouble.

felicity catCourtesy Maryland SPCA


Are you looking for a calm, one-eared, pear-shaped fluff nugget? Who isn’t, right? My name is Felicity, and you can find me at the Maryland SPCA. My chief duties are stealing hearts and loafing around in my favorite spots. And when I say that I’m a loafer, I mean of the elite status; I don’t fancy much playtime. However, I do fancy gentle head and chin scratches, and—keep this to yourself—an occasional belly rub. I love me some good cuddle time, too, especially if I feel safe and comfortable in a calm and quiet home. To make me truly happy, just avoid these 20 things that cats actually hate.

keiko catCourtesy Maryland SPCA


Hiya! My peeps here at the Maryland SPCA call me Keiko, aka the Side Snuggler. Some cats get all up in your face or plant themselves on your lap for hours, but I prefer to nestle in close to your side. That’s great for you because you have the freedom to get up off the sofa to get a snack for us. Like most cats, my favorite time to play is at night. We can do that first and then settle in on the sofa. I’ll keep you warm while you pet my silky fur. These are the cat breeds with the friendliest personalities.

wilbur cat Courtesy Best Friends Animal Society


Hey, I’m Wilbur. How are you? Now, that’s not a rhetorical question. I really want to know! I love an engaging convo. Fur-real, you don’t have to be shy around me. I love to “talk” and listen to you about your day when you get home, or we can get some fresh air and take a leisurely walk together. Full disclosure, though—I won’t be walking. Stroller rides are for me! I love them. One more tiny detail the Best Friends Sanctuary in Utah wants you to know: I take meds for irritable bowel syndrome, but don’t let that scare you off. Let’s talk about taking me home!

smiley the catCourtesy Oregon Humane Society


They call me Smiley at the Oregon Humane Society because everyone smiles when they are around me. I just kind of have that gift, you know? Maybe it’s my distinguished white belly or my high-pitched meow. I guess you won’t know for sure until you come to see me. That would be great, by the way. I have some stellar climbing skills that I would love to show you. As far as a forever home, I don’t have a lot of requests—just a couch, a window for keeping an eye on things, a cat tree and interactive toys, and an adult-only home. If you’ve got a computer, I might also be kinda curious about that. This is why cats are so obsessed with keyboards.

stanley shelter catCourtesy Oregon Humane Society


Hello. You may call me Stanley. I should warn you up-front that head boops are my fave. Do you think they have cat helmets for that? I’m only kidding. It doesn’t hurt when I head-boop you. It’s just my not-so-subtle way of showing you I would like some attention. Speaking of attention, the Oregon Humane Society says I would love to have all of yours and be the only cat in the house. However, I probably wouldn’t mind dogs, unless they’re rude and obnoxious, of course. Check out these adorable animal friendships that will fill your heart with happiness.

geneva shelter catCourtesy Oregon Humane Society


Hello, darlings. I’m Geneva, and as you can see, I’m an exquisite black beauty with lovely green eyes. When we meet at the Oregon Humane Society, I might be hesitant to make the first move, but don’t mistake my initial aloofness for being antisocial. I just need a little time getting to know new people, and just FYI, I’d prefer to come to you when I’m ready. Once we get to know each other, though, I’ll be delighted to get cheek and chin scratches. Won’t you come by and visit?

toulouse catCourtesy SPCA of Texas


Bonjour, I’m Toulouse. I must confess, that’s the only French I know, even though my namesake is a city in France that’s known for its French-country dishes. I’m a big boy, with lots of soft and cuddly goodness to go around. The SPCA of Texas says that due to being tested positive for FeLV (feline leukemia) and FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus), I need to be the only cat in your home. In return, I’ll show my gratitude with my undying love and affection. In case you were wondering, these are some of the most affectionate cat breeds.

fox shelter catCourtesy Central Vermont Humane Society


Once you adopt me, I’ll probably have more Facebook friends than you. Can you blame them? Who could resist this Fox? I know I’m bordering on being conceited here, but I am an outgoing guy with an adorable marmalade coat and showy white chest. Everyone loves me—other cats, children, and even cat-savvy dogs. Most importantly, I will love you! The Central Vermont Humane Society says I have a little ear condition that needs attention, but if you take care of me, I’ll paw-it-forward and be the best kitty ever! Itchy ears can be caused by fleas, too. Here’s how to get rid of them.

harley Courtesy PetConnect Rescue


You can call me Handsome Harley if you like. I’m used to it. People at PetConnect Rescue are always commenting on my dreamy green eyes. You know how some cats ignore you when you come home from work? I’m not like that at all. I’ll greet you at the door and welcome you home with shin rubs and soft head boops. Admittedly, there’s something in it for me, too. I love attention. Like, you can pet me for hours and I won’t budge. Overall, I’m a healthy guy, except for some bladder crystals. It’s nothing to fret over because it’s easily managed with a prescription diet. Generally speaking, though, this is the best diet for cats, according to vets.

marie the catCourtesy Best Friends Animal Society

Marie Laveau

If you’re not from New Orleans, you might have Googled “Marie Laveau” to find out what my name means. Have no fear—I’m nothing like the infamous voodoo queen of the 19th century. Although if you have some mice to get rid of, something can be arranged—wink, wink. I’m just an older girl who still loves to play as well as curl up in your lap. On extra chilly nights, I’ll burrow under your blanket and help keep you warm. Visit me at the Best Friends Pet Adoption Center in Atlanta.

three pegged pete catCourtesy PetConnect Rescue

Sweet Three-Legged Pete

I’m Pete, and there’s no shame in my game. I love to picked up and snuggled like a baby. Heck, you could wrap me in a blanket like a burrito and I wouldn’t mind! And no, in case you’re wondering, it’s not just because I have three legs. Speaking of which, PetConnect Rescue says I was found on the streets this way. No one knows why, because my amputation procedure was done before I ended up alone. But yeah, that had a lasting effect on me, and now I just love to be cradled in your arms. Despite being short a leg, I get around just fine!

No matter what kind of cat you have, make sure to avoid these potentially dangerous mistakes cat owners make.

algernon cat Courtesy PetConnect Rescue


What’s purrin’, pet people? I’m Algernon, and as you can plainly see, I’m a handsome and healthy boy. I wasn’t always this healthy. PetConnect Rescue said I was found in a dark and filthy basement with other cats. Every day was a struggle, and I was always hungry and lonely. These days, things are a lot better. I’m beyond grateful for my foster family and foster cat brother. We all get along great together, but it would be nice to move to a forever home and give another deserving cat my place here. Take me home and I will paw-sitively love you forever.

coco shelter cat rescueCourtesy Friends of Northumberland County Animal Shelter


My name Coco, and I’m just two years old. I love affection and lazy Caturdays (who doesn’t?), and I do all the lovable and goofy things other cats do, like testing your towels for softness when they come out of the dryer and making biscuits on fleece blankets. What I can’t do is use the litter box all that well. I had a freak fall and, as a result, can’t control my bladder and bowels. But wait—there’s a simple solution. The Friends of Northumberland County Animal Shelter in Heathsville, Virginia, say that a home without carpet, or a kitty condo with puppy pads, would take care of everything. I’m a really lovely girl. Do you have room for me?

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louise catCourtesy BARCS Animal Shelter


My name’s Louise, and I’m made of sunshine! That’s a lofty statement to make, I know, but the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter say it’s true! Like sunshine, I make people feel all warm and happy inside. In my foster home, I love following my human around and “talking” to her. I love it when she stops to pet me. I secretly wish she could do that all day, but I know humans have other things to do, too. Quite honestly, so do I—like waiting for the next Amazon delivery. I love to explore and play in empty boxes! How about you pack me up and take me home?

gucci catCourtesy BARCS Animal Shelter


Don’t let my stern face fool you. Shelter life is stressful, and even though I’m getting good care at the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter, a forever home is where my true expression will come through. By the way, my name is Gucci, and when I’m not looking so serious, I’m a happy older gentleman who comes equipped with a state of the art purr-machine. I absolutely love it when I have visitors at the shelter who spoil me. Can you give me a calm, quiet home to retire in, with a soft place to nap and watch birds? If so, I will happily greet you every night and be your love bug forever.

leo shelter catCourtesy Maryland SPCA


Hey, are you looking for a closet and cupboard inspector? How about a keen neighborhood watch cat? My name is Leopold, and I’m not one of those lazy cats that lie around the house all day. I do covet my nap time, but there are things to do—like cubbies to explore, couches to leap over, and bird lectures at the window to attend. (My arguments to get those birdies inside are blatantly ignored.) I’ll keep you amused and entertained, as well as shower you with chin rubs and licks on your cheeks. Meet me at the Maryland SPCA today!

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Mardi GrasCourtesy Louisiana SPCA

Mardi Gras

Hey, y’all. Mardi here! And yes, it’s cliché, but I’m here for the party! The Mardi Gras party, that is! I would love to be in a forever home by the time Mardi Gras rolls around. Maybe we can take some selfies together with our beads on. I’m just two years old, and I’m playful and curious. But don’t worry, I’ll still have time to help you with party prep. I’ll assist you in the kitchen and clean up any shrimp that doesn’t make it into the jambalaya pot. Let’s meet up at the Louisiana SPCA, and I’ll tell you more. You never know: I just might turn out like this cat, who went from shelter animal to world record holder.

gemini shelter catCourtesy Louisiana SPCA


Hello. My name is Gemini. When you come to the Louisiana SPCA, you might be inclined to overlook me because I’m a bit of a wallflower. I just a little shy and need some time to get to know you before I show you my sugary-sweet side. There’s no place like home, right? Now that’s where my personality will shine. You will be shocked at the transformation when I settle in with you and squeeze in between your leg and the arm of the sofa.

big momma bella Courtesy SPCA Florida

Big Momma Bella

I’m Big Momma Bella, a mature and friendly calico looking for a quiet, loving home. I’m an adorable chonk (that’s slang for chunky), but I can still hustle and chase a feather toy on a wand with the best of ’em. I also like bird watching, gentle petting, and a big, clean litter box. TMI? Hey, I believe in being transparent, which brings me to my next points. I eat special diet food and prefer humans over felines. Warning: Once you see me at the SPCA Florida, you’re gonna fall and hard and fast for me!

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arnie catCourtesy SPCA Florida


Hi, I’m Arnold, but my friends at SPCA Florida call me Arnie. I’m outgoing and will have no problem making the first move. I’m quite the conversationalist, so I hope you love to chat as much as I do! I like my independence, but I’m quite affectionate with my humans. I’ll rest on your chest when you nap and exfoliate your skin with my scratchy kisses. You won’t want to miss my stellar massages either—I’ll knead your back after a long day if you scratch my chin and pet my head. By the way, this is why cats knead.

franklin catCourtesy SPCA Florida


Hey, there! You’ll find me listed as Franklin on the SPCA Florida’s website, but my nickname is Frankie. I think it suits my funky and finicky side. I’m looking for a pet parent who understands that some cats prefer to call the shots when it comes to petting. I may be a bit of a diva, but I just know what I like. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if I turn into a pile of mush once I’m comfortable in a forever home. Speaking of which, I wouldn’t turn down a screened-in porch so I could “talk” to the birds. I also wouldn’t mind a backyard pet paradise of my very own.

shadow Courtesy SPCA Florida


Pssst…over here. I want to introduce myself, but quietly. I’m Shadow, and I’m delighted to meet you, but I’ve got my eye on a shiny ball just under the cat tree. No worries, I can do two things at once, so let’s chat about why you should take me home. I might seem like I’m all business and a little aloof, but inside, I’m as soft as a ball of angora yarn. When I meow, that’s your signal to proceed with cheeky rubs and chin scratches. Once we get to know each other, we’ll be inseparable. Here’s how you’ll know if your cat really trusts you.

essayCourtesy Jen Seaver


Goodness gracious, I’ve had a rough few months. I was homeless and pregnant when Tenth Life Cat Rescue in St. Louis, Missouri, took me in. I gave birth to a litter of seven adorable kittens! Thankfully, they all found good homes, but I’m still looking for one myself. My name is Essay, by the way. I’ll try not to get too wordy and stick to the most notable things about me, like the fact that I get on nicely with the other cats in the adoption lounge here. Maybe it’s my mothering instincts, but I’ve settled into the alpha role and like to oversee things. When it’s just you and me, I’ll plant myself on your lap and snuggle in close because I love me some attention! And let me tell you a little secret: Here are some ways to get a cat to like you.

ebony and ivoryCourtesy Ben and A.J. Trujillo

Ebony and Ivory

Hiya! We are Ebony and Ivory. We’re not related, but we live in the same Tenth Life Cat Rescue foster home and are BFFs. We were both found outdoors and alone. Ebony was in sad shape after being shot with a BB gun. She lost the use of her legs but hasn’t lost her enthusiasm for life and love. That said, she does need an attentive caregiver to assist with diaper management. But she’s super patient and sweet, so this task will be a breeze. As for me, Ivory, I was found as a newborn. I’m a striking Siamese mix with an energetic and outgoing personality if I do say so myself. I look out for my foster sister—we’re inseparable, actually, and we have a blast playing together—and we’re looking for a forever home together. How ’bout with you?

sirius cat Courtesy Alison Erazmus


Let’s get serious and fall in love! Sorry, I couldn’t resist because my name is Sirius. My Tenth Life Cat Rescue foster parents call me Siri for short. I’ve never met a person I didn’t like, and I purr nonstop. I’m a great white noise machine—just listen to me purr and you’ll fall into a deep, relaxing sleep. Oh, and you’ll get a kick out of my cute and cranky “meow.” It’s like I’m channeling a sweet old grandma cat who says, “Get off my lawn, you pesky kids!” I have a couple of medical conditions you can read more about, but if you take care of me, I’ll take care of you and be your loving companion forever.

Just so you know, contentment is only one of the reasons why cats purr.

nostradamus Courtesy Megan Fogliano


Get this—I was voted “prettiest tabby girl” by the Tenth Life Cat Rescue. The peeps there call me Nostra. Everyone says I have the greenest eyes, the sweetest face, and the tiniest physique. Some people also say I possess that coveted “perma-kitten” look, even though I’m an adult. Apart from my adorableness, I’m an active and playful girl with a heaping side of snuggly, cuddly goodness. Here’s the thing, though: You might not see those qualities right away. I tend to hide my cards, so to speak, but once I’m in a nurturing and loving home, you’ll get 100 percent of the real me! These are the other things shelter animals wish you knew.

smokey catCourtesy Cherryland Humane Society


Hi! My name is Smokey, and I am the sweetest furry-licous boy you will ever meet! Right now, I’m living at the Cherryland Humane Society in Traverse City, Michigan, just waiting for you to meet me and take me home. I love, love, love being pet and will never turn down a gentle massage. You’ll know when you get those sweet spots because I will purr like crazy! If you really want to impress me, stock up on yummy treats and catnip. I go cuckoo for those. Truthfully, though, I’ll be won over when you take me home and ask me to be part of your family.

arnold catCourtesy Cherryland Humane Society


Do you love spending time at home? Me, too! I’m Arnold, and I’m in hot pursuit of a full-time cuddle bug of a partner. The super nice humans at Cherryland Humane Society say I’m really laid-back. Is that a polite way of saying I’m a couch potato? It is the truth, but I do occasionally move—like when the sunny spot disappears. Then I move to the couch. When I get bored there, I’ll help you fold the warm laundry from the dryer and follow you to the kitchen to get our snacks. I’m the perfect date for a Caturday night in. Here are a few gifts you can get for me—or the cat lover in your life.

piper catCourtesy Cherryland Humane Society


I’m Piper, and it’s nice to meet you. Aren’t I just the cutest? I’m super soft and huggable, too. You’ll be awestruck when you come to meet me at the Cherryland Humane Society. I’m a sweet girl who loves to fish—not for the kind of fish in an aquarium or those big fish in Grand Traverse Bay, but for those flashy and colorful ones on the end of a pole. I love to pounce and catch them! Why don’t you pounce on this opportunity and adopt me? How’s that for a segue? I’m cute and clever!

vanessa cat Courtesy Cherryland Humane Society


Did you make a resolution to get healthy this year? Let me, the fun-loving Vanessa, inspire you! You see, I tested positive for FeLV (feline leukemia), so I have to stay on top of my condition by exercising, eating well, and making lots of time to relax, as well as visiting the vet regularly. I fill my days at the Cherryland Humane Society by playing hide-and-seek, enjoying my toys, and of course, taking plenty of naps. I realize my medical condition might scare some people, but it would mean the world to me to have a forever home. After all, cheeky rubs and love are the best medicine! If your cat is in need of medical care, learn how to give your cat a pill—and actually get them to swallow it.

sweet pea catCourtesy Homeless Animal Rescue Team of Maine

Sweet Pea

My name is Sweet Pea, and I’m a senior cat, so I’m not going to linger around the scratching post—I’m going to get right to the point. I want to find a new loving home ASAP. The Homeless Animal Rescue Team in Cumberland, Maine, is wonderful, but we both know that I don’t like living in close quarters with a lot of other cats. I miss my home life so much. First, I lost my pet mom, and then I lost my foster family when they moved. I long for that home-sweet-home feeling again, where I can let myself go and claim your lap for my own. Here are 11 subtle signs your cat is depressed.

lilo catCourtesy Homeless Animal Rescue Team of Maine


What’s up? I’m Lilo. I don’t want to brag, but I really am an extraordinarily special kitty cat! I am ever so sweet and playful, and I’m unabashedly affectionate with my body rubs and head boops. I’m super grateful to the Homeless Animal Rescue Team for giving me a foster home to live in. You see, something happened to my tail area (nobody knows exactly what), and it had to be amputated, which left me incontinent. I’ve been practicing wearing a diaper and hope my new home can help me get used to it. Even though I need some extra TLC, my little health hiccups haven’t fazed me, and I’m good with the hands-on treatments I need. Of course, my favorite hands will be yours—when they’re petting me!

jolene catCourtesy Homeless Animal Rescue Team of Maine


Thanks for giving me a second look! I’m Jolene. I’m not sure if I was named after the Dolly Parton song, but don’t worry—I won’t take your man. There’s a good chance, though, that I’ll steal your heart! I first came to the Homeless Animal Rescue Team in Maine as a mom with my kittens. They’ve been adopted, and now it’s my turn to find a home because the shelter is a bit stressful for me. When it’s quiet, I venture out and play with toys or hang out with a volunteer to soak up the gentle head pets. Do you have a comfortable home where I can be myself, lounge on the couch, and wait for you to get home?

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valeria Courtesy Best Friends Animal Society


Looking for a kitty with a little sass to match your own? I’m your gal! My name is Valerie. I know exactly what I want, and I’m not shy about asking for it. Sometimes, it’s food; other times, it’s affection. OK, most times its food. I have a healthy appetite, what can I say? I suppose some of my sass might be self-preservation. You see, I was abandoned in the parking here at the Best Friends Center in Salt Lake City. I was so scared and had a bad wound on my neck, too. Thankfully, I’m feeling much better these days, and now I’m ready for a bright future. What do you say—can we plan a future together?

trooper catCourtesy Pennsylvania SPCA


The Pennsylvania SPCA voted me most affectionate and cuddly. I go by Trooper, and I don’t hold anything back. You’ll know when I want attention and when I want some time alone. Truth be told, I probably won’t need too much time to myself. After all, there’s nothing like a super soft fleece blanket for snuggling on your lap. And I love the laser pointer and playing with ribbon. I will admit that I’m a bit of a neat freak, so if you leave leftovers on the table, I’ll eat them to keep things tidy. Other than that, I’m purr-fect! Don’t miss these telltale signs that your cat is happy.

creme catCourtesy Pennsylvania SPCA


Hiya, I’m Creme. I’m the fluffy (but not stuffy) handsome boy in the corner who is looking for all the comforts of a happy home. I’ve been bounced in and out of the Pennsylvania SPCA a few times in the past few years. My last family had to return me to the shelter after a year because of some changes in their home, and I’m not going to lie—it was heartbreaking. I’m tidy (my litter-box area is immaculate), and I’m a lovable, fun guy who would be so grateful to have a forever home where I can settle in for good. Cats have a lot of instinctual behaviors, and this is how they automatically know how to use a litter box.

sebastian cat Courtesy Pennsylvania SPCA


Does your heart feel like it’s going to burst when you meet an affectionate orange tabby? Have a defibrillator on standby because you’re going to need it! I’m Sebastian. While I might make your heart skip a beat, I can bring it back to a steady and smooth beat by letting you pet me. Oddly enough, brushing me has the same effect. Consider me your cat-iologist. Speaking of medical conditions, I have one of my own—diabetes. You’ll be amazed at how chill I am when it comes to managing my care. The Pennsylvania SPCA can tell you more about it when you visit.

Pawdrey Hepburn shelter catCourtesy Kelsey Dickerson, Arizona Humane Society

Pawdrey Hepburn

Hello, darling. Won’t you come in and sit by me? I’m Pawdrey Hepburn, and I am pleased to make your acquaintance. I’m so thankful for my entourage at the Arizona Humane Society, who rescued me from my lean days as a sick stray. I’ve come a long way since then, and I’m a healthy girl now. Thanks to the love and care of my foster family, I’m primed for my next role as the leading lady in your home. I only have a couple of requests. I need a peaceful and quiet home, and I can’t share the spotlight with a dog. Here are 17 things about cats you never knew.

annie shelter catCourtesy Animal Rescue League of Iowa


The Animal Rescue League of Iowa says I’m more of a lounger than a player. My name is Annie, by the way, and I don’t take offense to that. It means I would be a purr-fect match for someone who loves to cuddle up on the sofa. All this fluff is just begging to be pet! That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy spurts of playtime. I do. Other times, I might play hide without the seek part, but that’s normal for me, especially during my adjustment time in a forever home.

sketcher shelter catCourtesy Animal Rescue League of Iowa


There’s nothing “sketchy” about me, Sketcher. Like what I did there? What you see is what you get. And what you get is a sweetheart who plays at cool at first but then pours out so much love, you might be the one who needs a break. Just kidding—I’m not clingy, and I relish my independence. I pass the time by looking out windows and napping. When I’m feeling playful, I love balls, feather toys, and wand toys. Call my humans at the Animal Rescue League of Iowa to arrange a meet and greet! Then, check out these cat adoption photos that will melt your heart.

Lisa Marie Conklin
Lisa Marie Conklin is a Baltimore-based writer who writes regularly about pets and home improvement for Reader's Digest. Her work has also been published in The Healthy, HealthiNation, The Family Handyman, Taste of Home, and, among other outlets. She's also a certified personal trainer and walking coach for a local senior center. Follow her on Instagram @lisamariewrites4food and Twitter @cornish_conklin.

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