Are you considering getting a pet? If so, why not consider adding a feline to the family? Cats are some of the most popular and beloved pets on the planet. If you’re interested in joining the thousands of cat lovers out there in the world, then keep reading. This blog will walk you through the adoption process as well as provide you with information to keep in mind when taking care of a new cat.
Is a Cat the Right Fit for You?
Sadly, not every person/household is the right fit for a cat. Before you start checking out shelters and adoption agencies you should first consider the following--
- Can I care for a pet for 15+ years?
- Do I plan on changing locations and if so am I willing to take an animal with me?
- Can I afford pet food, kitty litter, and medical expenses related to my pet?
- Do I have any pet-related allergies?
- Do the people in my household like/want pets?
You can find a full list of other cat considerations on Americanhumane.org. Please take your time and really think over the decision to add a pet to your family. Some people may not be ready for the responsibility of raising a cat. If you and the other members of your household are ready and willing then let's move on to the adoption process.
The Adoption Process
Make sure to do plenty of research before adopting a cat! Image courtesy of Unsplash.
Unfortunately, many of us aren't lucky enough to have a friend or family member who is giving kittens away, so if we want a cat we are gonna have to adopt one. This is a blessing in disguise when you think about it. Most cats found in adoption agencies are rescues that have either lost their homes or never had homes to begin with. You adopting one grants that cat a comfortable and loving new home that it may not have gotten to experience otherwise.
You should first take some time to consider what kind of cat you're looking for. The breed, personality, coat length, etc. If you don’t really have any preferences that's fine too. Next, you need to decide whether or not you want to adopt an adult cat or a kitten. Kittens are absolutely adorable, but they also require much more care and attention than adult cats. Raising a kitten is comparable to raising a newborn baby. This may prove to be too much for many pet owners so consider it now before you go to adopt.
In comparison, when adopting an adult cat you're often getting a much calmer pet who won't get into nearly as much trouble as a kitten will. Kittens have plenty of energy and are incredibly curious, almost self-destructively so. Adult cats don’t require nearly as much supervision. You can also tell an adult cat's personality much more easily than a kitten's. A kitten's personality is liable to change as it develops but an adult cat's personality is pretty much set in stone.
Kittens are cute but curious. They need a constant watchful eye to make sure they are safe and not getting into any trouble! Image courtesy of Unsplash.
Next up you're going to want to research many of the adoption agencies in your area. Make sure they are reputable companies and non-profits. You should check things like their website, Facebook account, and other social media accounts to get a feel for how they operate and how they treat the animals in their care. Once you find an agency you're happy with you can start looking for your new feline friend!
Getting Started Taking Care of an Adopted Cat
Congratulations! You now have a brand new member of the family. One whom you can love and take care of for many years to come. Let’s go over some of what you can expect from your new cat as well as some simple tips to make your life as a new cat owner a bit easier.
The first thing you're going to want to do when you bring your cat home is let them settle into its new home. Your cat may be timid and as a result, he/she may not be as playful as they usually are. This is normal behavior for cats adjusting to new environments. Give your cat some space and let it explore and do its own thing.
It’s a good idea to set up your cat’s area and things before bringing them home for the first time. Make sure its litter box and food bowls are clean and ready for use. Make sure its toys are laid out in an area he/she can get to them easily, and make sure their sleeping space is comfortable and welcoming. Your cat may stick to these designated areas for some time after you first bring it home. This is natural, as cats slowly expand their territory over time. Eventually, your cat will feel comfortable moving on to other parts of the house.
Let your cat free roam and explore, just make sure any and all dangers are out of its reach! Image courtesy of Unsplash.
Tips For Raising Your New Cat
It’s a good idea to get your cat on a schedule/routine. Figure out what times are best for sleeping, feeding, playing, and grooming. Then stick to those times each day. Speaking of grooming, that's another really important part of taking care of a cat. Making sure your cat is properly groomed as well as getting regular check-ups at your local vet are really important for making sure your cat lives a long healthy life.
You may also want to consider setting some time aside for behavior training with your cat. Cats can be little troublemakers at times so proper training can help reduce the odds of your cat misbehaving. A good starting strategy for training is getting your cat to recognize when its name is being called. You can do this by saying its name softly and lovingly before handing it a treat. Good old classical conditioning—Pavlov eat your heart out.
A good routine is beneficial to both you and your cat. Image courtesy of Unsplash.
And there you have it, a simple guide to adopting a cat. While there are a lot of things to consider when making the decision to adopt a cat, these considerations are important for making sure that the cat gets the best home and treatment it possibly can. If you want more cat-related advice, check out this blog on dressing your cat safely for Halloween, or this blog on how to travel safely with your cat.