Where to Adopt a Dog, Cat or Pet in Chicago, IL

Looking for a new furry best friend? Why not adopt?! We’ve put together a list of the top pet rescues and animal shelters where you can adopt a pet in Chicago.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, pet adoptions have been sky-rocketing! And Chicago is no exception. The Chicago Tribune talks about some Chicago animal shelters actually reaching out to shelters from other states for more animals — mostly dogs — because of the high demand for pet adoption in Chicago. This is a wonderful problem to have!

Typically, there are about 3.3 million dogs and 3.2 million cats who enter pet rescues and shelters every year, and only about half get adopted. And although you may like the idea of a purebred cat or dog, mixed breeds are actually much less likely to have the hereditary issues of a purebred animal.

Remember, there are hundreds of different dog and cat breeds and mixes out there — some you’ve probably never heard of — all with different personalities and traits. And they are all just looking for a sweet, loving family to take them in. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of animal rescues and shelters in Chicago for you. This way, you’ll know the place you’re adopting from is safe, and you’re supporting a great cause!

Adopt a pet in Chicago

Chicago is such a dog-friendly city — once you bring home your precious pet, you’ll have plenty of places to go and things to do together! Whether it’s taking your pet to a Chicago dog beach or dog park or visiting one of the many pet-friendly bars, restaurants, and breweries in Chicago, there are endless places you can go with your furry best friend right at your side.

If you’re nervous about adopting a pet because you think your schedule is too busy… no worries! There are tons of excellent pet sitters, dog walkers, and cat sitters in Chicago. They can keep an eye on your little furball and give them plenty of love and attention while you’re at work or out of town. So if you’re ready to consider adoption, let’s check out where you can adopt a pet in Chicago, IL, in our updated list for 2023!

Chicago Humane Societies, Animal Rescues, & Animal Shelters:

  1. The Anti-Cruelty Society
  2. Chicago Canine Rescue
  3. Chicago Pet Rescue
  4. Famous Fido Rescue
  5. Felines & Canines
  6. Harmony House for Cats
  7. New Leash on Life
  8. One Tail at a Time
  9. PAWS Chicago
  10. Petland Chicago Ridge
  11. Red Door Animal Shelter
  12. Touched by an Animal
  13. Whiskers & Tails Rescue Foundation

The Anti-Cruelty Society

The Anti-Cruelty Society is a comprehensive welfare organization that was founded in 1899. They are passionate about helping pets and educating people. The Anti-Cruelty Society does not put any time limits on their animals’ stay. And they do not discriminate based on breed. They make it their mission to find a home for every adoptable animal.

Chicago Canine Rescue

The Chicago Canine Rescue was founded in 2001 to help homeless dogs in Chicago find their new forever homes. They have helped save the lives of over 7,000 dogs (and some cats too). This Chicago animal rescue receives pets from other animal shelters, some rural partners who don’t have enough adoption resources, and from families who are no longer able to care for their pets. They are “committed to leaving no dog behind” and providing “medical treatment, emotional and behavioral support, and adoption services to each animal” that comes into their care.

Chicago Pet Rescue

Chicago Pet Rescue is a non-profit animal rescue that is based in foster homes. They do not have a central shelter location because their rescue animals all stay in foster homes until they are permanently adopted by their new families. They take in cats, dogs, and other small animals. Chicago Pet Rescue says, “Our goal is to rescue as many animals as we can safely manage through foster homes.”

Adopt a pet in Chicago - pug

Famous Fido Rescue

Famous Fido Rescue and Adoption Alliance is a non-profit animal rescue organization. They intentionally rescue cats and dogs that have been deemed “unadoptable.” And they specifically work to help find homes for cats and dogs who are seniors, “bonded pairs,” or who have behavioral challenges and would otherwise be at risk for euthanasia. They even have sponsorship programs where donors can help provide financially for the food, training, housing, and medical care of animals until they are adopted into their forever homes.

Felines & Canines

Felines & Canines is a non-profit, no-kill animal shelter and pet adoption center. Felines & Canines was founded in 1977 and is located in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago. They were one of Chicago’s first cageless and no-kill cat shelters. This animal shelter works toward ending euthanasia through rehoming and their spay and neuter efforts. Felines & Canines is known for their top-notch care of animals — providing “a safe and loving shelter to abandoned, injured, abused, and neglected animals.” Their mission is to place loving cats and dogs into homes with their new loving families.

Harmony House for Cats

Harmony House for Cats is a cageless, no-kill adoption center for cats that was started 50 years ago by a group of animal lovers. Starting out with only foster homes, they quickly acquired their own building after just a couple of years. The cageless, open setting helps to socialize the rescued cats, and helps potential adopters get to know the cats and their personalities first. That way, they can find the perfect fit for their next furbaby. They pride themselves in not only caring for these precious kittens, but also for having a certified eco-friendly building.

Adopt a pet in Chicago - cat

New Leash on Life

New Leash on Life is a non-profit organization that is entirely run by volunteers. They are committed to finding permanent, forever homes for dogs who would otherwise be euthanized. They even have a two-week trial period for you to foster your potential new pup, just to make sure you’re both the right fit for each other.

One Tail at a Time

One Tail at a Time was founded in 2008 by Heather Owen and her animal-loving friends. They started out by fostering animals who were not being adopted by other shelters in the area. And by 2015, they grew big enough to open up their own brick-and-mortar adoption center. Their values are: compassion, community engagement, vulnerable populations, and progress & growth. And they live out these values through their mission: “End pet homelessness by making pet ownership a joyful and accessible experience for all.”

PAWS Chicago

PAWS Chicago is a no-kill animal shelter that values the life of every dog and cat. They value their community, innovation to constantly improve best practices, and to provide education that will help raise awareness about the reality that homeless animals face. They strive to end animal homelessness through adoption, spay and neuter practices, and education & training for pet parents.

Petland Chicago Ridge

At Petland Chicago Ridge, their “mission is to match the right puppies for adoption with the right customer, and meet the needs of both.” Petland Chicago Ridge specialized specifically in dogs. Not only do they focus on the adoption of their rescue animals, but they are also passionate about helping every pet parent increase their knowledge about pet care and well-being.

Adopt a pet in Chicago - puppies

Red Door Animal Shelter

Red Door Animal Shelter is Chicago’s no-kill animal shelter for cats, dogs, and rabbits. But they will also rescue the occasional pet duck or chicken. Their mission is “to promote respect for all animals through education, rescue, sheltering, and adoption.” They offer a cageless environment for the animals to experience a setting similar to their future home. Red Door hopes to find permanent new homes for these animals, but they will also provide a permanent home for those who don’t get adopted.

Whiskers & Tails Rescue Foundation

Whiskers & Tails Rescue Foundation is a non-profit organization, and is Chicago’s first animal rescue to focus solely on Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) & Trap-Neuter-Adopt (TNA). They believe that cats are a part of the community, and we should appreciate the work of feral cats to keep away the vermin. Therefore, we should give back by helping educate the Chicago community on practices like TNR to keep our feral and stray cats alive and roaming free, but without having an unhealthy excess.

Ready to Adopt?

With this great list of pet rescues, animal shelters, and species-specific rescues in Chicago… there’s more than enough puppy and kitten love to go around. Check these places out in person or online. You’ll quickly find out which shelter is the right one for you, and which pet could be your new furbaby.

After you've found your new best friend, check back in with Local Pet Care to find some amazing Chicago dog parks, some delicious pet-friendly restaurants and breweries, and some awesome, local pet care professionals!

Adopt a pet in Chicago - CTA

For more great articles about dog-friendly activities and pet-parenting advice, check out the Blog at LocalPetCare.com.

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