The traditional view has been that "giving away" cats devalues them in the eyes of the adopter, may compromise their care, and reflects poorly on the shelter giving them away.
But research and experiences of individual shelters have proven that this just isn’t the case.
How It Began
Intrigued by the success of a free cats program in effect since 1998 at Wisconsin Humane Society, the ASPCA in 2006 conducted a study comparing attachment levels of adopters of cats in fee-based adoptions vs. free adoptions.
The resulting data, published in Vol. 12, Issue 4 of the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, indicates that:
Attachment to cats adopted from the study facility was not decreased when fees were eliminated
Eliminating adoption fees does not devalue the animals in the eyes of adopters
Free programs could save thousands of shelter cats who would otherwise reside in a shelter for months or be euthanized