Frequently asked questions about Cat Depot. 
About Cat Depot

Cat Depot is a free-roaming rescue, adoption, and education center recognized for excellence and leadership in finding homes for more than 19,000 homeless and abandoned cats and kittens. Cat Depot is a limited-admission shelter and adoption center that is here for the cats, kittens, and community of Sarasota and Manatee Counties and beyond! We are proud of our lifesaving efforts! 

“Limited admission” shelters usually accept only selected animals that they feel they maximize their organization’s unique skills. Each animal in our adoption center receives the highest quality care, medical care and behavioral assessment and training to complete the rehabilitation process resulting in a successful adoption into a new loving home. 

While we love all animals, Cat Depot is the rescue, adoption, and education resource for cats and kittens only.  

Our Four Main Services Include: 

  • Adoption
  • Affordable, Cat-Specific Veterinary Care 
  • Public Education and Family Activities
  • Community Cats Program

Cat Depot also has numerous education programs and is continually working to develop pertinent educational programs and activities that will meet the needs of both homeless cats and members of the community.  

We do not board cats at our facility.

You can come take a tour of our facility. We are open 7 days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

If you would like to meet any of the cats currently available for adoption, please complete the Cat Depot Adoption Application before you visit Cat Depot to help the Adoption Counselors find your purr-fect match. 

The store is open 7 days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for all visitors!  

All proceeds from the store benefit our lifesaving work.  

Cat Depot is a 501(C)(3) Nonprofit Organization. We have a budget of about $2.5 million per year that covers the costs of exemplary shelter medical treatments, daily cat care for our shelter cats, supplies for community cats, management of our facilities, quality digital and virtual educational content, staff salaries and so much more! 

The money that comes from clinic and adoption fees, as well as our profits from the retail store only go so far. 

Most of our funding comes from fundraisers, grants, programming – and of course DONATIONS! Donations to Cat Depot are tax-deductible. 

Thanks to our amazing donors we are able to find homes for thousands of homeless and helpless cats, feed over 600 cats each month through our Community Food Bank, provide excellent medical care to our shelter cats, and provide affordable veterinary care for the public.  

About the Cats

Our cats come from many different places. They may be transfers from a municipal shelter, animal control or another rescue, or from an owner who can no longer care for it, or even from the local communityWe work daily to rescue abandoned, abused, injured, relinquished, and free-roaming cats and kittens. 

You can come take a tour of our facility 7 days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

If you would like to meet any of the cats currently available for adoption, please complete the Cat Depot Adoption Application before you visit Cat Depot to help the Adoption Counselors find your purr-fect match. 

To be considered as an adopter, you must: 

  • Complete and submit the Adoption Application. 
  • Speak with an Adoptions Counselor for approval prior to scheduling an appointment. 
  • Be 18 years of age or older and have government issued identification that includes photo and current address. 
  • Proof of current address. 

There are lots of important things to think through before picking your new pal. The first step to starting a long and lasting friendship with a cat is, of course, choosing the cat—or, more to the point, choosing the cat that’s right for you. 

By definition, this is the biggest decision you’ll make regarding your cat. And it’s an important decision, because a cat—unlike an item of clothing, a video-game console, or a must-have electronic gadget—is a living, breathing being who will need your care and attention for the next 10, 15, or even 20 years. 

The adoption fee for most kittens under 1 year old is $100. The fee for adult cats is typically $75. Specialty breeds may have a higher adoption fee. 

When a kitten or cat arrives at Cat Depot, they are assessed by our shelter medical team. They receive exemplary veterinary care from top to bottom. Our cost per cat averages to $1,500 for all of the medical needs of each cat and kitten during intake. Each kitten and cat that is on the adoption floor has been fully vetted, spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and microchipped!  

Community Cats Program
Traditional home adoptions aren’t for every cat. Cats available for adoption through Cat Depot’s Working Cat Program are looking for a home in outdoor settings such as a barn, farm, etc. In exchange for shelter, medical care, and food working cats can benefit their people by keeping rodents and other pests away.
Working cats are not your average cat who typically enjoy petting and sleeping in front of the fireplace. These cats are not able to be placed up for adoption as house pets. Even though their adoption may be a little different than house cats, we are just as committed to finding them safe homes and are here to help adopters set these cats up for success. Cat Depot works closely with local municipal shelters to find homes for cats of various temperaments.

Absolutely! There is NO FEE to “adopt” a working cat however donations are greatly appreciated.

Through our Working Cat Program, Cat Depot ensures that all cats are spayed/neutered, vaccinated and microchipped.
In exchange for shelter, medical care, and food working cats can benefit their people by keeping rodents and other pests away.
Please contact us 941-366-2404 or communitycats@catdepot.org for more information about our Working Cat Program and to be added to our waiting list.

Trap  -Neuter (or spay) – Vaccinate – Return. 

The basic TNVR strategy is simple: It involves sterilizing and vaccinating the free-roaming unowned cats in an area and returning them to their territory, where they’re fed and monitored. The cats have safer, healthier lives, and their numbers dwindle over time.

Once a cat or colony of cats has been TNR-ed, it’s ideal if a dedicated caretaker provides food, water and shelter, monitors the cats for sickness or injury and TNRs new feral cats who arrive. Ideally, kittens young enough to be socialized and new tame cats who arrive are removed from the colony for possible adoption.

Many dedicated caretakers pay for TNR themselves to help improve the lives of cats and reduce their numbers. Without TNR and a dedicated caretaker trapping new cats who show up, the population of the colony could increase.

Cat Care Clinic

The Cat Care Clinic is open to the public by appointment and provides affordable veterinary services for cats and kittens. Please call for hours – 941-366-CATS (2287)  

The Cat Care Clinic is NOT a walk-in or emergency clinic. 

For After Hours Emergencies, contact:  
BluePearl Pet Hospital: 941-923-7260 
Suncoast Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center: 941-929-1818 

At this time, we are allowing clients to come inside with their cat(s). Please when you arrive head inside through the clinic door and a veterinary staff member will be happy to assist you.

If you are interested in using our new PetPro Connect app to accompany your cat virtually, our clinic staff can give you information on how to download and use the app. This app allows you to stay informed while we care for your cat inside the clinic. 

How To Get Involved

There are a variety of ways you can support Cat Depot. The easiest way to donate is here on our website. 

You can also mail in or drop off donations at the shelter. We are open 7 days a week 

We accept monetary donations as well as all sorts of cat and kitten care supplies and food. 

You can also support Cat Depot by attending (in-person or virtually) any one of our events, fundraisers, or programs. 

Of course! When filling out our donation form, you can choose which campaign you would like to dedicate your donation to. Here you can type in what fund you would like to donate to or in whose honor you are donating. 

We are always in need of wet, canned cat food, dry food, and cat litter for our Community Food Bank. 

Additionally, we will take a variety of other cat supplies that will be used to care for the current shelter cats or resold in our store to raise money and support all of our lifesaving work. If there is a specific item you are interested in donating, please call us at 941-366-2404 to inquire about the current needs of the shelter. 

Your gift will help us provide housing in our state-of-the-art pods, food, litter, spay/neuter, medical care, rehabilitation, and social development for hundreds of homeless, wounded, and abandoned cats and kittens.

$10 Donation will give food for one cat for one month.

$25 Donation will pay for one FIV and Feline Leukemia test for one cat.

$33 Donation provides one cat with “medical/special diet” food for one month.

$55 Donation will cover the spay or neuter of a community cat. 

$105 Donation will provide litter for one adoption pod for one month. 

Contributions of all sizes can be made towards medical costs for the hundreds of cats and kittens Cat Depot rescues each year.

We have an Amazon Wishlist filled with supplies and food items that can be purchased and shipped directly to the shelter. Always check back to view the Wish List as it is updated on a regular basis.

We have many ways you can honor your pets while supporting Cat Depot. We have “In Honor” Paws and Bricks available for purchase that can be engraved to memorialize your pets. 

You can also give a monetary donation to Cat Depot in honor of your pet by dedicating your donation on the donation form

As a volunteer at Cat Depot, you will have the opportunity to help cats, our visitors, and the community through rescue, care, and education.


  • 18+ years old
  • Must complete an interview and orientation to be considered for placement
  • Must commit to 4 hours of outreach events a year
  • $25 fee due at orientation to cover t-shirt, name tag and training

Please fill out the online volunteer application in order to apply to our volunteer program. If you have any questions please contact our volunteer department. 

Volunteer Department Contact
941-366-2404 ext. 308

Cat Depot offers many opportunities for students to complete their community service hours for school. Please fill out the online volunteer application in order to be considered for our Student Volunteer Programs. We have the below volunteer option available for students. 

Student Donation Drive Program

Learn how to host a donation drive for our monthly community food bank to help provide food for hundreds of personal pets in need as well as community/free-roaming cats in Sarasota and Manatee counties. 

Program eligible for student community service hours.

  • 14 – 18 years old
  • Must fill out application
  • $10 fee due at session to cover name tag

If you have any questions please contact our volunteer department.

Volunteer Department Contact
941-366-2404 ext. 308

Other FAQs

If you have lost your pet, it is extremely important to be proactive and thorough in looking for your loved one as soon as possible.  Make sure to utilize social media groups and join local communities to get the word out there. 

  • Lost pets may hide in fear. Search all possible hiding places outside, look under sheds, decks, houses, etc. Most animals are found close to home. Talk to your neighbors and, after asking permission, search at your neighbors. Put out food and water in hopes the cat will return home for food. 
  • Call area shelters to make a report and/or to see if your pet has been impounded. 
  • Place posters within a 2-mile radius from where the animal was lost and at busy intersections. Posters should be large and bright colors; be brief and to the point and create a visual image. Try: Lost, a photo and your number. Post around town at veterinary clinics, schools, grocery and convenience stores, and anywhere else you think might make a difference. It is always a good idea to leave off one distinguishing feature so you can confirm that this is your lost pet with the person who might have found them. 
  • Post photos and information where your pet was last seen on Facebook, Craigslist, Pinterest, etc.
  • For shy cats, set a humane trap near the point of escape. (Cat Depot has humane traps available for rent – Call 941-366-2404 for more information about humane traps); Call all the shelters around where you live and visit them regularly. 
  • Contact and leave a description with your mail carrier, newspaper carrier, garbage truck drivers, local landscapers.  Thanks to our partnership with Petco Love Lost reuniting lost pets is easier visit the page for more information. 

If you found a cat: 

  • Have the animal scanned for a microchip at any nearby veterinary office, humane society, or Animal Services which may lead to the owner’s information.  
  • Call area animal shelters and report that you found a lost pet. Give a thorough description and you will be contacted if someone calls reporting a lost pet with the same description. 
  • Knock on doors of homes near where you found the animal to ask if they know who the animal belongs to. 
  • Put up flyers in your neighborhood and surrounding areas to let the person looking know that you found their lost pet. 
  • Post photo and information on where you found the animal on Facebook, Craigslist, Pinterest, etc. 
  • If you find that no one has responded to these efforts after a few days you can then take the pet down to animal services and turn it in as a stray. 
  • If someone contacts you claiming to be the owner of the cat, be sure you ask for evidence of ownership, including a picture or have them identify specific information that only an owner would know. This could be an unusual feature, markings, or something that isn’t visible in the picture. 

If you found a kitten:  

It’s common to find a litter of unattended kittens or even a single kitten seemingly abandoned by its mother. If you find yourself in such a situation, stop for a moment and remember these tips about helping abandoned kittens: 

  1. Make sure the kitten really is abandoned: Mother cats have to find food, and they can leave for a few hours at a time while doing so. Sometimes a momma cat moves her litter in order to ensure her little ones are safe. She has to carry her kittens, one at a time, from the old location to the new one. If the kittens appear to be clean, plump, and quiet, then they are likely doing well with mom nearby. 

  2. Observe from a distance and do not handle the kittens: If you are concerned that mom might not be coming back, watch the kitten(s) but do not get too close (it is recommended to stay at least 25 feet away). If the mom cat is feral and she smells human scent near her babies, she might be too frightened to come back and care for her kittens. Kittens usually need to eat every four to six hours, so if it has been 12 hours since you found the kitten(s) and the mother has not come back, something is most likely wrong and you can take the next step. 

  3. Warm them up: Kittens less than three weeks old cannot control their own body temperature and can easily get so chilled they can die, even when outdoor temperatures are warm. A chilled kitten is lethargic and may actually feel cold to the touch. To get abandoned kittens warm, prepare a “nest” lined with bath towels and put a heating pad or hot water bottle under the towels on medium heat. Be sure to leave a place where the kitten(s) can crawl away if they get too hot. 

  4. Call for help: During the height of kitten season, local shelters and rescue groups, like Cat Depot here in Sarasota, might have nursing mom cats who may welcome some extra kittens. Mother-cat milk is by far the best nutrition a growing baby can get. If shelters do not have mom cats available, they may have fosters or volunteers who know how to bottle feed and care for newborn kittens, or they might give you instructions on how to do so. 

Please attempt to re-home your kitty with friends or family first.  If your only available option is to relinquish your cat to a shelter, we recommend placing your name on multiple waiting lists. 

Cat Depot is a limited admissions adoption center operating at optimal capacity. 

All of our admissions are by appointment only.  Each request is reviewed and handled on a case-by-case basis. The number of weekly adoptions determines how many new admissions can be accommodated the following week. If you need to surrender your cat or kitten, please complete the Cat Surrender Request Form on our website 

The best way to assure that your wishes regarding the future care of your pets are fulfilled is to draw up a formal written arrangement, such as a will, trust or bequest, that specifically states the individual care needed for each animal. Seek out the advice and help of a professional who can assist in the preparation of legal documents.

Cat Depot is committed to assist cat owners with a plan that will honor their cats for life.

For more information about the Lifetime Care Program, please email Claudia Harden, Director of Communications (claudiah@catdepot.org), or call 941-366-2404.