Dear Christopher Cat: I’m ready to get a cat. Since this is kitten season, there are plenty of free kittens available in my community. Alternatively, I can adopt a kitten or cat from a shelter or rescue group, but that would cost money. Do you have an opinion about which route is better?

Christopher Responds: My feline family members and I were all adopted from shelters. Such adoptions have many advantages.

Adoption costs less, because reputable shelters and rescue groups place kittens for adoption only after they’ve sterilized them, started their vaccinations and dewormed them. Most organizations also test for feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus, and many have their cats microchipped. The “free” neighborhood kitten will require these services, which will cost you substantially more than the shelter or rescue adoption fee.

Moreover, shelters have a large variety of cats, and most shelters and rescues will match a cat’s personality to yours, increasing the likelihood that you’ll be happy with your new family member.

Finally, adopting from a shelter or rescue opens a kennel space there and saves another life.

June is National Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat Month, a good time to adopt from a shelter or rescue organization. We hope you enjoy your new feline family member!