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Adopting a Cat in Malta

23 April, 2019 2 comments

I always grew up with dogs, but moving out of the family home, have never been able to get my own pet. Either my lifestyle just hasn’t been able to accommodate it (travelling a lot, long days at work etc) or else I’ve been in apartments that don’t allow pets. But finally, aged 30, I found myself in a position to be able to get my own little furry ball of love. I’ve never had cats but my boyfriend and I agreed that a cat was the best choice for us. He has had many cats in the past and whilst we don’t plan on leaving her alone for really long days, cats are that bit more independent so if I do need to run out somewhere after work, I can. I don’t need to make sure I get home 3 times a day to walk her enough to keep her healthy.

Meet, Kinnie the kitten!

Shelter vs Breeder Cats in Malta

So once we decided on a cat we had to decide; shelter or breeder? I have no issue with people going to breeders. So long as they are humane and responsible breeders, if you know what you want then why not go for it, you’ll love your pet as much as the next person. But as we weren’t so set on the breed we wanted, adoption seemed the best solution for us.

How to adopt a cat or kitten in Malta

Once we decided to adopt, rather than buy, we began by contacting all the cat shelters on the island.

Cat shelters in Malta

Adopting via a shelter in Malta is ideal as:

  • cats come litter trained
  • cats come vaccinated
  • cats come neutered.

But some downsides to adopting via a shelter in Malta:

  • they are very wary of foreigners. On the one hand, I understand why, I really do, but it made the process so hard we ended up not able to adopt via a shelter at all.
  • they are clearly overworked and understaffed as they are slow to respond and hard to get hold of.

Unfortunately, we found adopting via a shelter in Malta impossible. They are generally very unresponsive and slow to respond via email, text and phone calls. There are strict screening processes, which I understand, but which ended up making it impossible for us to use a shelter. Taking days to reply, not answering the phone, asking us how long we’ll be staying in Malta (I’ve been here 8 years and my life, job and home are here), demanding we get mosquito nets on all doors and windows, as well as adding additional netting on any terrace or balcony walls so they are, like, 10 foot tall. We couldn’t even get them to schedule in a home visit and chased various shelters for weeks trying to get some viewings.

We even headed over to one of the shelters in Malta so they could meet us and we could meet the cats, but of course, the one person who deals with adoption wasn’t there that day so apart from playing with the cats for a while and leaving a donation, we couldn’t get any further in our quest to adopt. I would like to say though that the shelter was amazing. They had so many cats, all of which were in wonderful condition, so well looked after and looked happy and loved. Whilst they couldn’t really help us, the women there were all super nice and passionate about the cats.

It’s a shame that they can’t find it in their hearts to trust any foreigners, as so many more cats would be rehomed if they made the process more reasonable.

Adopting via a Facebook Group in Malta

In the end, I joined a bunch of Facebook groups such as RUBS puppy love and Adopt-a-Cat-Malta and saw a post from a lovely woman called Isabel posted about some kittens she needed to home. She had found a pregnant young stray and took her in so she could give birth in the comfort of a loving home and then got to work on homing the beautiful kittens. I messaged Isabel on facebook and just a few days later, we headed on over and picked up the most beautiful tabby kitten I’d ever seen.

Adopting through a shelter would have been ideal as usually the cats (whether it’s kittens or a mature cat you’re looking for) come vaccinated, trained and neutered. As Isabel just saved a stray from the street, we had to get Kinnie vaccinated, de-flead and dewormed, which took one trip to the vet, then a few more trips once she was 6 months old to get her neutered.

Owning a cat in Malta

Owning a cat in Malta is pretty much like owning a cat anywhere, although I’d recommend thinking about the following.

House cat vs outdoor cat?

In England, most people with cats seem to have cat-flaps on their doors and allow their cats to roam the streets as they please. I cannot understand how people in Malta (or anywhere else, actually) can do that. Our little Kinnie is a 100% house cat. For one thing, there is no good way for her to get in or out as we live in an apartment, not on the ground floor. For another, roads and drivers here are insane and the chance of her getting hit is just too high. Finally, there are so many stray colonies, which are well fed and well looked after that I wouldn’t feel confident that a cat wouldn’t end up just setting up shop at one of them.

I also think you form an even stronger bond when your cat is a house cat. There are plenty of ways to keep them stimulated and give them a full and exciting life. We have many toys for her to hunt, scratching posts for her to attack and to climb, places for her to hide, lights for her to stalk and we often chase each other around the apartment.

Finding a reliable vet

Unfortunately, the vet we used turned out to be a horrible choice. We had Kinnie neutered, which was already a traumatic experience for her, yet 6 months later she came into heat anyway, as they had left some of her ovaries behind. Do lots of research, ask questions on Facebook groups and pick a vet with as many recommendations as possible!

Keeping cool in summer

Cats are much better suited to changes in weather conditions than most dogs (like Huskies for example. Don’t have them in Malta!) as they fluff up during the winter and snuggle up in blankets, and their coat thins down in summer, but it’s still worth considering the heat. I bought a cute little cooling mat from Amazon, which she can lay on and it keeps it’s temperature and prevents her from getting too warm. She loves it!

If you are thinking of adopting a cat in Malta, or already have, I’d love to hear your stories.


Malcolm 6 June, 2019 - 5:45 pm

I totally agree with what you said my family wanted to adopt a cat but with the shelters, it is such a pain and they make you want to give up. Even with Facebook groups, we couldn’t adopt a kitten. All was left was to buy a cat from a friend of a friend. My kitten that we got was about 40 euros but I would have prefered adopting but in Malta its a pain.

Rhi 7 June, 2019 - 8:41 am

They are so desperate for homes for their cats but make it so difficult! I understand they want to be careful but they are really missing out on some incredibly loving homes. I’m glad you managed to get a kitten in the end though and I’m sure you’ll show him/her soo much love!


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