Updated May 4, 2017.
BEFORE you make that all important decision about cat adoption, get all the information.
Deciding if adopting a cat is right for you is easy . . .
. . . if you’ve done your homework . . . and if you’re prepared.
It’s worth the time and effort to make the best adoption experience possible for everyone’s benefits, especially for your new cat.
Are you prepared to be responsible for your new family member for the rest of its life?
From kitten-hood to end of life, cats have been known to live a long time.
We had a much loved Tortoise Shell kitten name Molly, who was abandoned at a pet store at 4 weeks old. We had to bottle feed and hold her like a newborn baby.
As she grew, we introduced her to solid food and potty trained her. She was a very special family member.
When my son was born, Molly devoted her life to him, becoming a nanny cat. Dedicated to doing her best, she worked hard.
It was my privilege to learn how to take care of her special medical needs in her last months of life, to love on her until she left this world for a better place.
Molly lived just shy of 18 years. You might say when my son reached his adulthood, her job was done.
I know another cat, a Seal Point Siamese who lived to be 29 years old.
Are you committed to adopting a cat and making it a part of your family for the rest of its natural life . . . in good times and bad, for better for worse?
Consider your lifestyle, your family dynamics, where you live and who will be the primary caregiver.
Who will care for your cat when you are away on vacation or business? Perhaps you want a cat that will travel with you? How will you care for a cat on the road? How will you keep your cat safe?
If the cat will live indoors who will be responsible for food, water and the litter box? Will you leash train your cat?
If the cat will live outdoors, are there natural predators that will prey upon your new pet? How will you handle food and water to protect it from contamination or from attracting rodents or other wildlife? Do you have proper shelter for an outdoor cat, and will it help your new kitty family member to thrive in all kinds of weather? Will the shelter provide protection from predators?
Do you have other pet family members to consider? What about children and other pets?
Adoption is very stressful for all family members, especially new ones. Are you realistic about the training and attention required to build a healthy relationship with a new kitty family member and to help it adjust to their new home?
Is it important to you to adopt a specific breed of cat or will a domestic house cat suit you? Long hair or short hair? Black or white, or any color in between?
Each breed of cat also has its breed specific characteristics, including behavior. Which breed best suits your family’s lifestyle and dynamic?
Did you know there are far more domestic house cats than there are purebreds?
Like people, each cat is unique with its own set of behaviors. Some cats are well-adjusted, laid back and independent. Others whine, are insecure and clingy. Like people, cats can come with anger issues, mental illness, or nervous dispositions. Then, there are all those behaviors specific to the feline species.
Male cats behave differently than female cats; the same is true of kittens and older cats. Extend this to cats who have been shuffled from home to home, and those who are being adopted the first time.
Which will you choose?
The most abandoned and under adopted group of cats are those with special needs.
If you value life and are truly interested in making the world a better place reflect on that personal calling . . .
. . . does it extend to devoting yourself to loving and caring for an unwanted cat with special needs?
Like people, cats are born with birth defects, have genetic defects, are disabled due to accidents, injury or illness and disease. Some cats are deaf or are blind. Others are missing a limp or have other misshapenness.
Great joy can be found in making a home for these extraordinary kitties.
For more information see: A Matchmaking Profile to Find Which Cat is Right for You!
Can you afford the cost of cat adoption and other one-time charges?
Adoption fees cover the cost of lost and abandoned cats, as well as the costs of care incurred. Sometime this includes spay/neuter; if not, factor in this cost as well.
What about the annual cost of cat care? Cat food, litter boxes, litter, routine veterinary care, grooming supplies, boarding costs, collars, licensing, cat carrier, bedding and toys, should be budgeted along with other family expenses.
Include contingencies such as emergency healthcare and other unknowns.
Check your local library for books and information about cats.
Great resources can be found online, too. My favorite website is Petfinder.com, a Shelter Pet Project partner. There you will find some of the most reputable information to help you make the leap to a successful cat adoption.
When you finalize your cat adoption, think about sending an e-card announcement to let those you love know about your special new family member.