How to Support (or Adopt) the Pets You'll Meet in the Caribbean

  • 01 of 06

    Skinny Caribbean Dogs and Feral Cats Need Your Love

    beach dog
    © Nick Page/CC by 2.0

    The Caribbean may be a getaway for those of us who travel there on vacation, but for the stray dogs and cats across the islands, going home with you could be a paradise all of its own.

    Even if your pet isn’t your first mate on vacation, there are still ways to support pets and animal advocacy on your Caribbean trip. Across the islands in the Caribbean, there are many programs in place to help animals thrive despite sometimes trying life conditions. 

    The health and safety of dogs and cats may not be the first thing your mind jumps to when you think about planning your Caribbean trip, but the sight of stray dogs and cats wandering the streets throughout islands across the Caribbean is hard to ignore. If you are considering adopting a pet, consider giving a Caribbean pets a forever home; if not, consider donating to any of the causes listed here.

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  • 02 of 06

    Pet Adoption/Rescue in the Caribbean

    sleepy cat faces
    © Kevin Jarrett/CC by 2.0

    With so many stray cats and dogs across the Caribbean, and with so many tourists coming to visit the islands (often with more means than the locals to care for these creatures), there have many efforts to promote the international adoption of Caribbean animals.

    Here are a few:

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  • 03 of 06

    St. Thomas' Cat Cafes

    © Bolong Bay Resort

    Across St. Thomas, USVI, "cat cafes" -- small shelters with food and water for cats -- have been popping up, with over 25 locations at different "assistance resorts" including Bluebeard's Beach Club, Marriott Frenchman's Reef, Bolongo Bay Beach Resort, The Ritz Carlton St. Thomas, Dreams Sugar Bay, and the Island View Guest House.

    Cat cafes are always looking for donations, so be sure to ask at any participating resorts how you can help out (or donate online). 

    Because the feral cat and dog problem in St. Thomas (and across the Caribbean) is largely a result of human intervention, The Humane Society of St. Thomas has promised to provide shelter, food, and health care to as many cats and dogs as they can. Along with cat cafes, the Lucky Paws Foundation of St. Thomas promotes spay/neuter programs for dogs and cats via SNIP (Spay/Neuter Island Pets) and through those funds raised by cat cafes and local shelters.

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  • 04 of 06

    Stays at These Belize Resorts Directly Benefit Pets

    Stray dog on Caye Culker, Belize
    © Mary Madigan/CC by 2.0

    In Belize, pet lovers can make a direct investment to bettering the lives of Caribbean cats and dogs by staying at a "Pause" Accommodation location, sponsored by the P.A.W. (Protecting Animal Welfare) league in Belize. The three available Pause accommodations range from camping-style to hostel-style rooms and cabins, all at reasonable prices and with 100 percent of the money raised going helping rescue animals.

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  • 05 of 06

    Island Puppy Rescue International

    three brown puppies cuddling
    © Sergey Norin/CC by 2.0

    The issue of stray dogs and cats in the Caribbean is an internationally recognized problem, and several organizations in the U.S. have worked towards providing better lives for Caribbean animals, both on their native islands and by relocating them stateside. With partner shelters in NY, NJ, and PA, Island Puppy Rescue International works with volunteers on islands across the Caribbean to bring puppies from the islands to the States, providing them with vaccinations and primary puppy care, and most importantly, helping them find new homes.

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  • 06 of 06

    3 Things to Consider Before Adopting a Caribbean Pet

    black and white cat face with yellow eyes up close
    © Always Shooting/CC by 2.0

     Before adopting a pet from the Caribbean, there are a few things you should consider: 

    1. Learn about island-specific and home-country specific regulations on bringing an animal out of the country: This is something that your adoption agency should be able to discuss with you in order to clear your furry friend for travel. 
    2. Additional fees: Though you can often adopt for free from the Caribbean, make sure to consider possible additional fees, including medical fees, costs to get the pet medically cleared depending on island/U.S. regulations, and the price of booking airfare for a pet (ranges from $75-$250 each way for domestic and international flights). 
    3. Forever home: When deciding to adopt a pet, whether it is nationally or internationally, consider the commitment. A pet is a new family member who needs food, shelter, and above all, love. Make sure you are fully committed to your new companion before taking him home! 

    For more information about pet adoption from the Caribbean, check out: