All of my cats have been rescues of sorts, though not all have come from the shelter. Some have been kittens from families who carelessly left their cat unspayed. Others have been hand-me-downs from older relatives who could no longer care for them. I’ve loved them all. According to the Humane Society of the United States, one cat or dog is put down every eight seconds. This equates to four million unwanted pets euthanized at U.S. shelters each year. Many could have become loving animal companions—if only given the chance. The next time you’re ready to bring a new cat into your life, consider these reasons to adopt a shelter cat.