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  • Writer's pictureZia Mowbray

Why Do We Need No-Kill Shelters?

Originally Published December 1st 2022, Updated December 14th 2023.

Pets for Life is a proud no-kill shelter, but have you ever wondered why these environments are integral to communities? Or the cost that comes with looking after animals long-term? Whilst animal shelters have a large focus on animals, there is also an instilled priority of the wider community. This is because communities with higher levels of undomesticated animal containment and increased pet well-being prioritise safety and high-quality lives for both pets and people in the public.

People making a heart shape with their hands in the sun, supported by their community.

As a cat shelter, we take responsibility for ensuring a cat's well-being is going to be nurtured and sustained both in the shelter and once a cat is adopted. Because of this, pairing up cats with the right people, and in turn, people with the right cats is crucial to creating long-lasting relationships for all to benefit. In being a no-kill shelter, we are able to take the time to match up animals and people without any risk of endangerment to the animal.

As no two animals are exactly alike, we as an animal shelter have to make sure we cater to all the needs possible to ensure the sustained well-being of our cats and community. For some cats, this may mean extra treatments for skin conditions or specialised food to ease anxiety, but for others, it may be giving them the time to foster a true connection without time constraints. Some cats at our shelter are gone within a week while others stay at the shelter or in foster care for years, and whilst the latter isn’t favoured, sometimes it’s necessary to continue prioritising both the animals and the community.

More specifically on an animal's needs, no-kill shelters allow “problem” or “broken” animals to have the time needed to be aided. And again, as no animal is similar, some animals may only need an hour to settle and understand their new reality, whilst others need months due to their background and/or past experiences. The environment fostered by no-kill shelters should be one of safety as animals and volunteers are able to focus on the animal itself, healing and treating any illnesses or behaviours that can be helped. This ultimately makes the adoption of these animals a smoother process as only the animals who are ready for adoption are able to be considered for such.

The reasons for an animal’s need to have a prolonged stay at a shelter are countless, from physical illnesses like ringworm to poor mental health conditions like depression, or even just not meeting someone and having the right connection. Due to the more flexible and sympathetic nature of no-kill shelters, animals at these shelters such as Pets for Life are able to be seen as valuable beings that are important to protect and assist, rather than lesser animals with expiration dates. This, however, does not come without its expenses. Some of the costs already covered in this article include unique medical expenses and both specialised and general food, but other more general ones include vaccinations, desexing, microchipping and many others that contribute to the safety and wellbeing of the cats at our shelter, and in turn, the wider population.

A black and white cat recovering in a blanket after her desex operation, happy because she has time to heal at a no-kill shelter
Lucy recovering after her desexing operation.

Whilst these costs are dear, paid by the limited funds from donations and local fundraising, it’s worth the price to sustain Pets for Life being a no-kill shelter and create an environment that prioritises the longevity of our cats, community and the connections they form.

If you agree with our aims as a no-kill shelter, please support our efforts with encouragement, donations or help. There is no such thing as ‘too little’ when it comes to this assistance!


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