The best way to find free cats and kittens locally is to visit your local animal shelter or contact cat rescue groups in your area. Many of these organizations offer fee-waived adoptions for adult cats or during certain times of the year when shelters get particularly crowded.
Fee-waived adoptions used to be less popular, but they are starting to become widely accepted and promoted by animal rescues, as of 2015. Rescuers used to be afraid that these programs would attract irresponsible adopters, but research has shown that this is not true. When adopting a free cat through an animal shelter, expect to go through the normal screening process, such as filling out an application and providing proof that pets are acceptable in the home or apartment.
There are also free cats offered through bulletin boards, such as those found in pet supply stores, and classified advertising websites. These cats usually have not been to a veterinarian and may need to be seen for routine procedures, such as vaccination and spaying or neutering. Adult cats may have behavioral problems that the owner is concealing.
Even if there are not fee-waived adoptions in the area, adopting from a local animal shelter is similar to getting a free cat. Animal shelters pay for spaying or neutering, vaccinations and microchipping, which are significantly more expensive than the typical adoption fee.