On 17 February every year, much of Europe celebrates the (perhaps badly named) World Cat Day. Poland is no exception: since an initiative to celebrate it was started in 2006 by the now-defunct KOT magazine and Cat Club Łódź, many Poles with feline friends take this day to appreciate their cats on this day with a special treat or cuddles.
The lighthearted holiday is also intended to remind people about the plight of cats without a home. At any time, there are around 150 cats (and, by the way, 450 dogs) waiting in Krakow’s animal shelter. So, in that spirit…
Where can I adopt a cat in Krakow?
Krakow’s main shelter for cats and dogs is called KTOZ Schronisko dla Bezdomnych Zwierząt w Krakowie. At that link you can find an English version of their website, which is unfortunately somewhat limited, but most of the key information is there.
We recommend taking a car if possible – the shelter is directly accessible via Krakow city bus, but it is on the far western edge of town (ul. Rybna 3), not to mention the fact that a cat (and fellow passengers) might be uncomfortable on a long bus ride back.
The shelter is open from 10 AM to 2 PM and from 3 PM to 5 PM every day, including Sundays and holidays.
What do I need?
Cats at the shelter are free to anyone 18 or older with a valid international ID (such as a passport). However, the shelter accepts voluntary donations.
There will probably be at least one person at the shelter who can assist you in English, but non-Polish speakers might want to bring a native friend along, especially because the shelter will ask you to sign an adoption form.
Before you visit, you can browse the online gallery of cats awaiting adoption. Some of them have descriptions of their personality/known background in Polish. The shelter staff will also allow you to visit with most of the cats to try to find one which is a good fit for you.
It is important to remember that, if you think you might adopt a cat on the day you visit, you need to bring your own pet carrier. The shelter does not sell or provide them, nor do they allow people to “reserve” animals. Obviously, in this case you should also have your home prepared with all the equipment your new family member will need on arrival.
The shelter typically neuters cats and ensures that they are healthy. However, it is possible you will choose a cat which still needs an operation or vaccinations. In that case, you can either do it yourself or wait until the shelter does it and come back – although, again, there is no guarantee that the shelter can save a special cat for you if someone else wants it first.
Are there other ways to help?
If you want to help the shelter in other ways, they accept donations of goods or money.
According to their website, they need wet cat food/food for kittens, dry or wet dog food, dog collars, leads, beds for dogs and cats, blankets, and towels.
You can donate money at the shelter or by making a bank transfer to:
Bank Gospodarki Żywnościowej S.A.
16 2030 0045 1110 0000 0393 2100
Polish law also allows those paying personal income tax (PIT) to donate 1% of it to a charitable organization. If you wish to do this, on your annual income tax form there is a place to enter the shelter’s KRS number (0000044704), and in the CEL SZCZEGÓŁOWY field you should write “Schronisko.”