Pet Adoption

Animal Shelters & Rescue Groups

Adopt a TNR Cat or Kitten

Adopt a Rabbit

Adopt a Senior Pet

Foster a Pet


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Out of the Cage! The Blog of the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals

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(Photo by Dana Edelson)

Photo by Dana Edelson

Adopt a Little New Yorker Today!®

Pet adoption is rewarding and life-changing. Looking back, you can't imagine your life any other way!

New York City area animal shelters and rescue groups are full of loving, beautiful cats, dogs, rabbits, and other animals in need of homes. Large and small, young and old, mutts and purebreds — thousands are waiting today.

Buying pets promotes the breeding of even more dogs and cats — sometimes under cruel and painful conditions, such as found in puppy mills — at a time when thousands of homeless pets enter our city shelters each year. We already have more dogs and cats here now than we can humanely care for, without encouraging the breeding of even more.

If you are ready to care for a pet and expand your family, please explore adoption!

Where to Adopt

Animal Shelters & Rescue Groups

New York City area animal shelters and rescue groups take in dogs and cats (and some take in other animals, such as rabbits, exotics, and birds) from the public, and/or pull animals from Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC) as New Hope Partners. Each of these organizations has an active adoption program to find homes for the animals in their care.

Adopt a TNR Cat or Kitten

During Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) community cat management projects conducted by Certified TNR Caretaker in the NYC area, friendly stray cats and feral-born kittens young enough to be socialized are removed from colonies for adoption placement in indoor, forever homes. To adopt a cat or kitten from a TNR organization, visit these web sites of NYC area TNR organizations.

Adopt a Rabbit

Search Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC) or Petfinder to find rabbits looking for homes in the NYC area. Visit our Rabbits as Pets page for more information about adopting rabbits.

Adopt a Senior Pet

You rarely will hear stories more filled with love than those told by adopters of senior pets. Often overlooked in favor of the playful puppy or cuddly kitten in the next cage, senior dogs and cats make wonderful companions with many attributes that make them a better option for some adopters. Many New York City area animal shelters and rescue groups have loving seniors eager to meet you today.

(Photo by Rick Edwards)

Photo by Rick Edwards

Getting Started

Each rescue group and shelter has its own adoption process. A good first step is to visit the websites of these organizations. Many of these sites include information about the group's adoption process, as well as contact information and adoption applications.

You will be asked to answer questions, fill out paperwork and, in some cases, open your home for a visit by a group representative. While the steps might vary, each is intended to ensure that pets are placed in loving, permanent homes.

Most animal shelters and rescue groups are 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations. They typically charge adoption fees that help to cover their costs of caring for the animals and allow them to save more pets. (Adoption fees rarely cover all of the costs these groups and shelters have paid to vaccinate, spay or neuter, and care for your pet before he or she comes home to you.) Your cost to adopt is generally far lower than if you were to purchase from a pet store or breeder.

Bear in mind that many people who work to help homeless animals are volunteers. When you contact a shelter or rescue group, please be patient and understand that a delay in responding to you is likely the result of having their hands full caring for the animals.

As a potential dog adopter, you might find this article helpful: An Expert’s Guide to Adopting Dogs: What to Know Before You Go

Not Ready to Adopt? Consider Fostering!

Foster volunteers provide temporary care for dogs, cats, rabbits, or other animals in their homes, offering these pets much-appreciated time in a real home setting instead of a shelter or boarding facility while they await adoption. Most animal shelters and rescue groups are always looking for committed and reliable foster volunteers to care for animals in their homes while they await permanent homes. In fact, many rescue groups rely exclusively on volunteer foster homes because they do not have a shelter facility to house their animals.