Adopt from CATNIP : FAQ
This adoption FAQ is for people adopting animal in the care of NPO CATNIP.
What should I bear in mind as I browse the site?

"It isn’t about me - it is about the animal”.

We try hard to treat people with consideration and courtesy, but in the end, the cat is the client.

Can you recommend a good breeder?

No. Go away...

Do you re-home animals for breeding?

All animals are neutered, or come with a strict neutering agreement. See our section on “Early neutering” for an explanation as to why we sometimes can’t neuter animals before we re-home them.

I live a long way from Fukuoka. Will you rehome to me?

We have rehomed to Kitakyushu, Nakatsu in Oita prefecture, and various other quite distant places too. It does depends a little on how far away you are, and the exact circumstances. Feel free to contact us...

I have been rejected by another rehoming NPO. Is it worth applying to you?


Different NPO's have different policies. Particularly about older/younger applicants and people they perceive to be "not stable in their situation". So your one year visa might not have impressed them...

Also, if you are not a fluent Japanese speaker a local NPO may feel that it simply does not have the resources to do the "due diligence" required before rehoming.

So yes - feel free to talk to us.

I will keep my animal indoors - why do I have to microchip/neuter it?

Earthquakes are common. Volcanoes by no means rare. “Indoors” can become “outdoors” in Japan in two shakes of a Kami’s tail.

As a general policy, microchips promote responsible pet ownership.

If your animal escapes and loses its collar, it can be traced back to you. If the worst happens, at least you will be informed. Believe me, that is a comfort.

If your animal escapes even for 10 minutes it WILL get pregnant, if female.

An un-neutered male is far more likely to spray.

We require that every animal we rehome has a collar with a contact tag, in addition to a microchip.

A bell is good too - it will help you keep tags on the little blighter...

[Note: After rehoming the microchip will remain in the name and address of NPO CATNIP, unless you leave Japan.]

Do you rehome animals to members of the US Military?

Our current policy is that we do not rehome animals to members of the Military, the Japanese Self Defence Force or any of the "discipline services" such as the fire service, coastguard or police.

This is a pragmatic decision based on our ability to make and enforce agreements and monitor the animal's welfare post-rehoming. [If you work for one of these services and think you can address our concerns, we would be happy to open a dialogue with you.]

Do you re-home animals to Consular or Embassy staff, or to people with diplomatic immunity?

At the Director’s discretion, and only to a "private individual”. Sorry - we have vicarious experience of adopting to people in embassies, and have good reason for caution.

Do you have a minimum age?

We will make a legally binding rehoming agreement with you - so you must be at least 20. However, we are unlikely to adopt someone whose lifestyle is not "reasonably stable".

If you are 20, and your lifestyle IS stable - well, we say this gently - perhaps you ought to be having more fun...

That said, we treat a young person’s application on its merits

Do you have an upper age limit?

No. … but you will have to provide a compelling story about the animal’s welfare over its full natural life. So we are more likely to re-home an older animal to older people, and we may want to involve other members of the family, who could take on the animal if you were incapacitated. If you are prepared to make a financial commitment to the animal’s welfare, in the event you are incapacitated, that would help too.

But if you are not actually currently knocking on the undertaker’s door, and are in moderate health, do talk to us.

Do I have to apply for a particular animal, or can you screen me in advance?

In principle, we ask you to make an application for an individual animal. We want you to want - and bond with - that animal.

In practice, we will happily talk to you and do a limited pre-screening, on the understanding that we will screen you again when an animal comes along that you and we think is suitable for you.

If you apply for an animal, and we think that although you are not suitable for that particular animal - for whatever reason, we would consider you for another animal, we will tell you so.

We try hard not to have separate rules for foreigners - but a small Japanese-run Animal Welfare NPO is possibly less likely to feel that they can do the due diligence required before rehoming to a foreigner than they can do with a Japanese applicant. So we are more likely to be sympathetic to pre-screening requests from foreigners as you, we, simply have fewer options.

We are happy to hear from you if you have expertise in a particular breed of animal, or could offer a large dog a home with a lot of space, or live in a particularly safe area where an indoor/outdoor cat could roam.

But we are not a cheap option to get a pedigree animal.

Are we buying an animal from you?

No. The modest rehoming fee we charge is not a purchase price. Essentially, it costs in the region of 50,000yen to 3C an animal - that is Chip, Chop and (waku)Chin - (microchip, neuter/spay and vaccinate). That is before we get into vet’s fees to treat any conditions the animal came with, and board and lodgings while it is in our care. The 20,000 yen we charge is a modest attempt to recoup some of that. The rest comes from supporters and donations.

You ask a lot of impertinent questions. Is it really necessary?

We really do try not to be intrusive, and to try to imagine how WE would feel if asked the same questions.

However, we DO need to know that you can provide a stable, long-time home for the animal, and are sufficiently solvent to vet it when it is sick and keep it up to date with vaccinations.

So - please be prepared to prove your visa status (if applicable) and that you have the right to keep an animal in your apartment or house - we may ask to see your lease or contract.

We will also ask about your job or means of support, about any other animals you may have and your long-term residency plans.

Any information you give us is strictly confidential, and we do not ask for more information than we feel is necessary to establish that the animal can be safely rehomed to you.

Do I have to keep my cat indoors?

Basically, yes. As a country Japan is less geared up to "indoor/outdoor" cats in the British style.

But we make sane exceptions to this rule, so don't be shy about discussing it with us if you believe your local environment is cat-friendly.

Do I have to keep my dog indoors?

In general we expect dogs to be kept indoors and walked regularly. If they are to be kept outdoors, we expect them to be properly housed in a fenced enclosure. Dogs should not be chained up for long periods.

I am on a one-year visa. Will you re-home to me?

In principle, yes, sure. We would want to look at your work situation and your plans for the future. If you are in stable employment on a succession of one-year visas with the same or similar companies and have the intention to stay in Japan long term OR will commit to taking the animal back with you, - for example - it would not necessarily be an impediment. Talk to us - we have been here a long time, know the score when it comes to visas and aren't frightened by complicated situations. We have rehomed two cats to people who have taken them back to their home country when they left.

Is it easy to rehome animals in Japan?

No - extremely hard. Japan has a cult of youth - by and large there is a preference for the new and the pure - young, pedigree animals from a breeder. Different parts of the country have different attitudes - it is rather easier to re-home in Tokyo than Osaka, and harder still in Fukuoka. But we don’t let that affect our standards.

Here at CATNIP we are not young, and as far from pure as we can manage, what with our gammy backs - and we don’t much sympathise with this way of thinking...

Click here to start the adoption application process.