Yes, that sweet little face (above) is my fur baby Max and since June is adopt-a-shelter-cat-month and as a cat owner who has had my little man for almost 9 years now, I thought I would write a post about things that you need to know before adopting a cat or kitten.
Adopting a cat can be a very rewarding experience. It’s always good to go into any pet adoption with a good understanding of what you may or may not be getting yourself into. There are tons of cats out there in shelters looking for furever homes, so if you are considering getting a cat please consider adopting one from your local shelter and finding your purrfect match!
What is your lifestyle like?
When considering adopting a cat or kitten one of the first things you should consider is what is your lifestyle like? Kittens require more attention typically then older cats, however it depends on their personality and health. Some other things to take into consideration are: What hours do you work? Do you have a long commute? Do you have children or other pets? Any pets are a commitment and you need to be sure that you are ready.
Chose a local vet
Choosing your vet beforehand ensures that you aren’t left searching for a vet in an emergency. Your new cat should see a vet at least once a year ideally. More if they are a kitten and need their shots. Most, if not all shelters will spay or neuter your cat or kitten if it is old enough and it’s not done already and it is usually a part of the fee you pay when adopting. Be sure to check with the shelter to see if any follow-up appointments are needed before the one year mark.
Get what you need beforehand
If you are set on adopting a cat or kitten it’s always a good idea to get everything that you will need ahead of time. It’s recommended to have one litter box per cat plus one extra. You’ll want to have food on hand before picking up your kitty and grooming supplies. Be sure to check with the shelter to find out if your kitty is on any special diet (ie. urinary or a weight formula) and what food they have been feeding him or her. For more information on nutrition, I would recommend checking out Jackson Galaxy‘s website.
Scratching Post & Toys
A scratching post is a must for your new cat or kitten as scratching is a natural habit for cats. A tall scratching post that allows your kitty to stretch while scratching is recommended as well. You’ll want to have a few cat toys as well such as balls, crinkly toys, a catnip toy or two, and a teaser wand toy. Cats typically love to play and playing helps them relieve anxiety, stress, and boredom.
Consider the bills
Taking your cat to the vet can be expensive and so can emergencies. That does not mean that you can’t adopt a cat if you are lower-income, it just means that you have to take it into consideration. Do you have a credit card you can use and pay off if an emergency happens? Do you have someone you can borrow money from if needed? Also, take into consideration any medical issues the cat may have before adoption,shelters will make you aware of any health issues before adoption.
Outdoors vs Indoors
This is a debate that has been around for a long time. I personally believe that indoors is a safer option, however, if you have a cat like mine, he or she will attempt to escape every single time you open the door. If you plan to take your cat outside supervised as I do, consider getting a breakaway collar with your name and phone number on the tag just in case. Also, invest in a good cat harness and leash. I have a mesh walk-in harness that is a no-pull harness. This is important as it is designed to apply pressure to their shoulders not their throat. My cat loves walking on his harness and leash.
Cats claws are not like human fingernails. When declawing a cat it is not at all like clipping our fingernails, because the claw is permanently affixed to a cat’s knuckle, this also means removing all or part of the third bone from a cat’s paw. It is a painful and risky and completely unnecessary procedure. Most veterinarian clinics (in Canada at least) will no longer perform this operation.
Having a scratching post (or more than one) can help with clawing and scratching furniture and curtains. Also training your cat to scratch the post and not the furniture can be done with a little persistence and patience typically if they don’t do it naturally on their own.
Introducing a cat into your life can be such a rewarding and fun experience if you are prepared. They can be great companions and some of them even like to cuddle. Owning a cat has many science-backed benefits and being a responsible cat owner is important. For more information 0n adopting a cat or kitten please visit your local SPCA/ASPCA website.