Is Adopting a Cat Right for You?
Approximately 3.2 million cats will enter animal shelters across the country each year, with around 70% of those cats being euthanized. June is Cat Adoption month, and with numbers like these, we urge you to consider adding one of these wonderful animals. If you’re on the fence about whether or not adopting a cat is right for you, we can help.
Don’t Shop, Adopt
There are so many cats in shelters that need loving forever homes, and unfortunately, most of them will remain in the shelter for the duration of their lives. Whether you’re looking for a kitten or an adult cat, your local shelter will have plenty of options for you to consider. Many shelters make note of a cat’s characteristics, like their temperament and ability to live with other animals, making it relatively easy to choose a cat that will fit right in with your family. Shelters will also typically cover the costs of an initial health check at the vet, ensure that they are up to date on all shots and vaccinations, and take care of spaying or neutering the cat before they go to their new home.
There are a huge variety of cats in shelters, ranging from long-haired to short-haired, different coat patterns and demeanors, and you may feel overwhelmed when trying to make a decision. To help make the process a little easier, we’ve compiled some easy to follow guidelines below.
Things to Consider
- Financial Responsibility – Owning a cat, or any pet is a major financial responsibility. You need to ensure that your budget allows for food, litter and litterboxes, toys, ID tags and microchipping, food dishes, parasite preventatives, and veterinary care. You also need to factor in a budget for any health emergencies that may crop up.
- Longevity – Cats often lead long lives, and when properly cared for can live into their late teens. Some even make it into their 20s without any serious health issues! Make sure that you’re prepared for a long-term commitment before adopting a kitten or cat. They will be a member of your family for many years to come.
- Socialization – Yes, cats can be fairly independent creatures, but that doesn’t mean they’re antisocial. It’s important that you’re willing to socialize your cat like you would a dog, and that you’re able to take the time to introduce them to new people, sounds, smells, and household appliances. A well-socialized cat will be confident and friendly towards you and your guests and won’t run and hide and when a new person enters the house.
- Environment – Creating a cat-friendly environment is essential to cat ownership. Make sure you can include staples like scratching posts or pads, a cat tree or two, food puzzles, and plenty of toys. These items all help cats to exercise their natural instincts, leading to a happier life for you and your feline friend.
Where to Start?
It’s important to consider your lifestyle before adopting any animal and, contrary to popular belief, cats are not a one-size-fits-all animal. If you lead a busy life and aren’t home much due to work, travel or social engagements, look for a cat with an independent attitude. They’ll be more apt to tolerate long absences and won’t have a problem entertaining themselves when you aren’t home. More of a homebody? Then a high energy kitten or an affectionate lap cat may be a better choice for you, as they’ll require more time and energy for playtime and snuggles. Also think about the other members of your family, like kids and other pets that reside in your household. It’s important to choose a cat who’s well socialized, easy going, and adaptable in these instances.
Different Cat Characteristics
With so many different decisions to make when adopting a cat, there are a few things you’ll want to consider before making a choice.
Kitten or Adult Cat?
So many people gravitate towards kittens. Let’s face it, they’re cute and cuddly and hard to resist. But try to remember that a kitten’s personality can, and probably will, change dramatically as they age. If this is something you’re okay with, and if you’ve got the time and patience, then a kitten could be a great choice for your family. If you’re more interested in a cat with a specific type of temperament, then don’t overlook the many adult cats in your local shelter. They’re usually already litter box trained and socialized, and your shelter can advise you as to whether or not they’re good around dogs, other cats, and children.
Coat Length and Color
Cats typically fall into two categories for coat length: long haired and short haired. Long haired cats are gorgeous but require a lot of grooming and coat maintenance. They require regular brushings and time spent detangling their fur. They may also need a sanitary trim near their rear end to avoid possible messes when using the bathroom. If not groomed regularly, a long hair cat can acquire mattes in their fur that will need to be cut out with scissors or, in more extreme cases, require them to be shaved completely. Short haired cats are much more low maintenance, and usually only need to be brushed once a week to once every few weeks, if at all.
Consider the color of a cat’s coat as well. We all know that cats shed, regardless of how long their fur is, so think about things like the color of your furniture and the color of the clothes that you wear most often. Someone with black furniture probably wouldn’t do well with a cat that has white or light-colored fur, and someone who wears a lot of white wouldn’t be too happy with a black cat or a cat with darker colored fur. You might not be thinking about things like this when choosing a cat for your family, but these little details can make a big difference in the relationship you have with your cat.
Special Needs Cats
It’s not uncommon to find many cats in shelters that have special needs. These cats are usually older, senior aged cats that have common ailments that plague older animals. These ailments include things like vision problems, hearing problems, or chronic health conditions. If you have the time and financial resources to be dedicated to one of these animals, then consider opening your home and heart to them. These are the cats that are often overlooked in shelters and will remain there for the rest of their lives. Don’t take on the responsibility unless you are 100% sure you are able to, though. Cats like these may tug at your heartstrings but taking on the responsibility without being able to care for them properly will be detrimental to both you and the cat.
When you adopt your cat or kitten be sure to contact Karla’s Pet Care for all your cat sitting needs!