How we adopted a cat in Korea

Back in August 2009, my hubby and I moved to Korea to teach English for a year. We lived in a small city called Mungyeong in Gyeongsangbuk-do Province. Halfway through the year we decided to get a pet since my hubby has never had any so of course I tell him we should start with something easier. So we picked up two hamsters; Hammy and Mocha. As much fun as it was watching them run on the wheel, they weren’t interactive at all.

Sky showing interest to the hamsters

Sky showing interest to the hamsters

I missed playing with my two dogs and cat back home. It wasn’t until I saw a fellow teacher’s post about Animal Rescue Korea that got me browsing through pages and pages of pets listed for adoption. After thinking hard about it we decided to adopt a cat. We took a trip to the Daejeon City Animal Shelter which was a 4 hour bus ride from where we lived. We watched Avatar in a nice movie theatre since our city didn’t have one and also shopped at a Costco! It was our first time going to a Costco in Korea; we were so excited and of course we bought lots which hubby had to lug back. We didn’t find the right kitty at the shelter though as it was more of a dog shelter so we waited for the next weekend to visit another shelter.

Next weekend came and we took a 3 hour bus ride to the Korea Animal Protection Society Daegu Cat Shelter. There were so many cats! We felt so sad but glad they had a food, water and protection from the cold weather. All the cats there have been fixed to prevent over breeding. The costs of surgeries, food, and medical care all come from donations and adoption fees. This shelter is ran by a nice lady named Sunnan Kum who started it in 1989 and became a charity in 1991. As two Canadians who were not fluent in Korean, we had no problem communicating with her. We were overwhelmed with the amount of kittens and cats there. We stayed for awhile playing with the cats. It was definitely hard to choose one to take home; we would take them all if we could! But I think it was meant to be. That day I was wearing a jacket with fur lining around my hood. My hubby loves all things furry. While I was sitting at a table, one cat came out of nowhere, jumped up onto the table and started licking the fur lining on my hood. My hubby said he was the one! We signed the papers, paid the adoption fee of $100 and put him in a cat carrier and took off. They were even so nice to provide a starter kit with dry and wet food!


On February 6, 2010 we adopted him and named him Sky because of his beautiful blue eyes. At the time we adopted him, he was about 2 years old. We didn’t know what breed he was but the vet said probably a Siamese mix. After he settled in, we noticed he kept scratching his ears and brown stuff would fall out. Wen I looked into his ears it was all black/brown! He also had patches of missing fur all over and had the feline herpes (cat flu). We took him to a vet that we couldn’t communicate with but luckily my Korean co-teacher came with me and translated. He was given medication and topical cream and ear drops. After much TLC his flu subsided, ears were clean and fur grew back beautifully. He has been with us for 5.5 years and we couldn’t be more happier.


That’s our adoption story! If you are thinking about getting a furry friend please check your local shelters first. If you’re on the fence about committing to a pet, try fostering an animal. If you like to play with animals but don’t want to commit to one, volunteer at your local shelter. These animals would be so happy to see you!