Lifestyle & Culture

Mónica Da Silva in Portugal: This is the perfect moment for adopting a pet in Lisbon

If you’re looking into adopting a furry friend, the good news is that this is actually one of the best moments for adopting a pet in Lisbon. Sadly, there are a lot of pets being abandoned due to the economic crisis COVID-19 has brought. Furthermore, some of the deceased patients had pets that family members aren’t willing to take care of.

So, now – more than ever – you can change a cat’s or dog’s life by adopting them and giving them a forever home.

Where to go

The author’s new family members (photo courtesy of Mónica Da Silva)

There are many places where you can adopt a dog or a cat. One of the options is the municipal shelter of the area where you live. You can schedule an appointment and go there to check the pets that are available for adoption. Another option is to adopt from a private rescuer – there are a lot of them in and outside Lisbon. Actually, those shelters which are away from big cities are overcrowded and struggle way more to find resources to take care of the animals.

So, if you don’t mind the trip, I think one of the best options is to adopt a pet from one of those shelters. We drove to a shelter called ResGato in the north of Portugal to pick up our two wonderful cats.

My cats were basically babies when we adopted them. The black one was rescued from the street and the other one was born in a house but rejected by her mom. They adapted pretty fast and are very happy cats .

Other shelters close to Lisbon are:

O Cantinho da Milu

União Zoófila

Associação Zoófila

Onde há gato, não há rato.

What’s the procedure for adopting a pet in Lisbon?

It varies depending on the shelter. In our case, we saw the cats in pictures and chose them, we filled a form with information about ourselves and the place where the cats would live. But, of course, if you prefer to meet the cats or dogs before adoption, you can do it. After this, there could be a short interview in which you can ask all the questions you might have. We also signed a short letter committing to take care of the cats, vaccinate them and neuter them when they are old enough.

In Portugal, registering your pet with a subdermic microchip has been mandatory since 2019. In this chip they carry fundamental information in case they ever get lost, such as the owner’s name, ID, address and number. At the moment of adoption, they will put the chip, and depending on the age of the cat or dog, give them vaccines and the deworming treatment. Depending on their age, it’s possible they are already neutered, if not, you have to commit to neuter them in the future. After that, it’s your duty to take care of their health and well-being.

Is there a cost?

Most municipal shelters do vaccination, sterilization and deworming for free. Private rescuers need to pay a vet to do it, but quite often they manage to get a cheaper price than if you go to a vet clinic. So, yes, there’s a price, but it’s very affordable.

We paid about 20 euros for both our cats including their chips, registration and deworming. Having insurance is not mandatory, but it sure helps reduce the costs of appointments, vaccines, medicines and everything your pet could need in the future.

Some of the options in Portugal are



• and Mapfre.

You can do a simulation on their websites to calculate how much you’d have to pay and the
coverage options.

If you’re not ready to adopt, there are other ways in which you can help animals:

• you can become a host family (familia de acolhimento temporario) and give them a home
for a determined period of time,

• you can volunteer in any of these associations,

• you can donate money (even if it’s just 1 euro) or resources (food, blankets, etc.),

• or simply follow them on social media and help increase their visibility by sharing their posts.

About the author:

Mónica Da Silva was born in Venezuela but her parents and grandparents are Portuguese. She’s a teacher and translator. Mónica lived in Bonn, Germany for six months and has been in Lisbon for almost three years.

She speaks Spanish, Portuguese, English, French and a bit of German.

Read more of Mónica’s posts for Dispatches here.

Read more about Lisbon and Portugal in our Dispatches archives.

Website | + posts

Mónica da Silva is half-Venezuelan, half Portuguese and has lived in Venezuela, Portugal, Spain and Germany. She has studies linguistics and has a Bachelor’s Degree in European Studies. Besides contributing to Dispatches, she works remotely as an English teacher, which allows her to be on the move as often as she wants. 

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