Cat Adoption - Things To Consider
When considering cat adoption, whether from a private breeder, professional cattery or from a local animal shelter or rescue organization, be aware that it will no doubt change your life. Adding a cat to your life can be a most fulfilling and amazing experience. When you first lock eyes with the cat of your dreams, it is one of those moments that stay in your memory forever. If you’re like me, you will probably bring a camera so you can begin documenting this grand adventure from day one!
Adoption can also be a challenge. Before you consider taking a new member into your household, be certain that you have adequate resources to care for that new cat or kitten. Be sure that all other members of your household are ready to welcome a new family member, and willing to respect the new pet, if not contribute to its care.
Also, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with different cat breeds you may be interested in. While you may wind up with a Persian when you set out to get a tabby, it’s still good to know the general characteristics and personality traits associated with the breeds you are considering.
Learn about different Cat Breeds here
Animal Shelters and Rescue Organizations
Let's face it - animal shelters aren't the happiest places in the world. It’s very difficult to take just one baby home with you when you know that all of them need a good home. Cat adoption should not be taken lightly, and certainly mulitple cat adoptions have at least double the impact of your life, so please consider the following before you do.
If you have the resources and time and desire for more than one, by all means, join the ranks of cat people everywhere and bring the ones you can afford to care for home. However, do not let your sympathy lead you into making a bad decision, and taking on more than you can comfortably handle.
A neglected pet, no matter how well intentioned the owner, is just inexcusable, and adopting a cat only to neglect him or be unable to give him the time and attention he deserves is not doing him (or you) any favors.
How You Can Help
If you want to help the animals that need homes, and cannot afford to spend the time or money needed to personally care for all those kitties, consider contacting a shelter or rescue organization. Gifts of cash, food, litter, toys, or blankets are always welcome.
Perhaps you would rather volunteer your time instead. Many good organizations such as “Friends of Ferals” or "Kibble on Wheels" here in my hometown of Madison Wisconsin (and many more in your neighborhood!) are always in ned of help.
These organizations are often in need of volunteers for distribution, attendants at the cat adoption centers, foster cat parents or simply people to come to the facility and cuddle the cats so that they become more socialized and able to show their love to their new families. Now what could be nicer than that? Go pet some kitties and do some good.
There are many ways to help and adopting is not by any means the most important one. Do as your heart guides you to do and you won’t go wrong.
Be Aware of Limitations
While it may be true that you are saving a life when you adopt from a shelter, bear in mind that except in rare cases,there is no pedigree and what you see is not necessarily what you get.
With kittens, as with an adult cat adoption, you probably won't know anything about the kitten's genetic background. It’s just a case of taking things on faith, and knowing that if you and the cat are meant to be together, you will have to take some time and get to know one another.
When adopting from a breeder, know the breeder’s reputation before you go. Even breeders that appear clean and professional may have some issues you should know about.
Many reputable breeders of pedigreed cats are registered with and inspected by the CFA. You can search for breeders on their website. Also, the BBB for the area you are in may have some information.
Adopting From a Breeder or Cattery
When you acquire a purebred kitten, the chances are that you will be getting him from a breeder or cattery and he will be young. Eight to ten weeks old is a fairly standard age for cat adoption.
At least one of the parents should be nearby, so you can check that parent's temperament and condition. Look around the facility. It should appear clean and should smell relatively clean. Of course, any place many animals are housed will likely have some smell, but there is a big difference in occasional odors and the stench of continued neglect.
Do take some time to research the breed you are interested in so you can have a reference point to assess the breeder's knowledge and so you can tell if the cats from this facility are up to CFA standards for the breed. Once you have arrived at the cat adoption center or breeder, take your time and observe the kitten's overall appearance and behavior.
Resources for obtaining information about the characteristics of certain breeds are widely available. You may want to consult cat adoption centers for booklets, Internet sites (MyCatSite.com, hopefully!), breed clubs, magazines, the Cat Fanciers Association and about a million books.
It is also good to familiarize yourself with breed-specific tendencies toward certain diseases or illnesses.
Tendencies toward certain diseases as well as maintenance concerns (How often does this cat need to be brushed, shampooed, etc?) should be considered before making a cat adoption decision.
A relationship with a cat is not unlike a marriage in that you will hopefully be spending many years with your chosen, and compatibility with you and your family, lifestyle, environment is extremely important.
Before You Bring Kitty Home
Before your cat adoption is finalized, be sure that you have done a little research and have assembled all the items you will need to make him comfortable and happy. This will minimize stress on both your cat and on you!
Which Cat Supplies do you need? Check out this page!
Be sure you have a bed, blanket, food and water dishes, toys, a scratcher and have effectively cat-proofed your home.
Make certain that if you do have plants and flowers, that they are non toxic to your cat. Check my pages on cat-safe and cat-toxic plants.
Find out which plants are Cat Safe here
Which plants are Cat Toxic? Find out here!
As part of your cat adoption preparations, be sure that wires, cords and other elements of your home that could potentially harm your new friend are removed or secured. Valuable breakables should be kept safely out of your cats reach. Which other pets, children or adults are present in the home? Make sure you have prepared everyone concerned for the transition.
Most especially in the case of small children, be sure the ground rules for interaction with the new pet are clearly established and stick to your guns, reinforcing them whenever an infraction occurs. Cat adoption means that your new cat is a member of the family too, and deserving of the same respect and consideration as anyone else. If this doesn't make sense to you, then please do not get a cat.
In the days and weeks following the addition of a new feline friend to your home, you will be learning right along with your new pet. A new cat will behave far differently in the beginning than when he has had time to become familiar with everything in its realm and establish himself as the ruler of all he sees.
You will be learning more about his true personality and behavior. Make note of any problems or questions that arise, and take steps to deal with them. Do not lose hope or give up just because your new friend exhibits a “bad” behavior. He needs time to learn the right ways to please you.
Cats really are very eager to please, they just show it in different ways than other pets. And training your cat may be the most fun and rewarding experience you can share together.
Cat Training can be fun! Read more here!
If you have questions on cat adoption or problems with your new pet, don’t despair. Try asking your vet when you take your cat for his initial visit or inquiring at your local pet center.
If you still cannot find the help you need, please do not hesitate to write to me. I don’t know all the answers, in fact I can almost guarantee that I don’t, but lucky for me, I have been blessed with access to many expert sources of information and I have no hesitation whatsoever about picking their respective brains!
There is no question that cannot be answered, no problem that a solution cannot be found for. And, as I always say, there is no cause greater than taking time to protect, educate and care for those we love, feline or otherwise.
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