June is Adopt-a-Cat Month, making it a perfect time to welcome a new furry friend into your home. There are cats of all ages available for adoption and ready to find their forever home. PawNation has the tips and tricks to help you through the process, courtesy of the American Humane Association.
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WHERE TO ADOPT
Don't know where to start looking for a cat to adopt? Don't worry, we've got you covered. Many national organizations like the Humane Society make it easy to find local shelters with cats available for adoption. You can also try searching by zip code on PetFinder or ASPCA to find felines in your area.
BUDGET FOR A CAT
There is no point in adopting a feline friend if you cannot afford to keep one. They may not be expensive to adopt during Adopt-a-Cat Month, but they come with lifelong costs. Food, litter and trips to the veterinary office are all expenses you have to be willing and able to pay. Find out the costs of owning a cat and budget accordingly. Be sure to calculate both short- and long-term costs.
PERKS OF CAT ADOPTION
What is wonderful about many shelter adoptions is the fact that many of the cats have already been vaccinated, spayed/neutered and microchipped. That is all included in the adoption fee, which may even be waived or discounted as part of the Adopt-a-Cat Month promotion. Potential costly veterinary bills are reduced when adopting a cat through a shelter.
TWO IS BETTER THAN ONE
Consider adopting two cats as opposed to just one. Cats may not be as social as dogs, but they still need interaction. Exercise and mental stimulation can also be provided by a second cat. The duo can become companions and keep each other company while you are out of the house.
FIND CAT WHOSE PERSONALITY FITS YOURS
Shelter cats spend all of their time cooped up in cages, so the way they act at the shelter is almost guaranteed to be different once they are out of it. With any cat you are considering for adoption, be sure to spend time with the animal outside of its cage to get an idea of its temperament. Engage with the cat to find out if it has high energy, doesn’t like to be pet or cries often. Those are some of the traits that may be a turn off to you, so take the time to find the right feline and learn about its personality.
VISIT TO THE VET
Schedule a visit to a local veterinarian within the first few days of your cat's adoption. Ask for opinions and read reviews to help decide on a veterinary office before adopting. A visit to the vet is particularly important for kittens, who are more prone to health issues at a young age. Bring with you any medical information provided by the shelter on your first visit.
Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to cats, especially those coming from a shelter. You cannot force their affection, and you need to give them time to adjust to their new surroundings. You experienced this yourself if you have ever moved, so pay your cat the same courtesy. It can take a cat several weeks to adjust and feel comfortable, so be slow with its introduction to the house. Start with seclusion in one room and gradually expand your cat’s exploration until it is comfortable everywhere. Once it is secure in its surroundings, it will open up to more members of the family as well as friends and visitors.
PREPARATION BEFORE ADOPTION
Preparation is key when bringing a cat home. You need food and water bowls, a litter box, cat litter, a grooming brush, a scratching post and nail clippers. You may want to hold off on buying toys until you can see what entertains your cat. Many times, a piece of string or a ball of aluminum foil is enough. As previously mentioned, everything should be set up in one room. Your cat should be secluded from the rest of the house until it has time to adjust. Once it has done that, then you can move the bowls and litter box to wherever you would like them in your house. Keep in mind that a litter box is best kept in a well-ventilated area. Contrary to popular belief, you may need to train your cat to use it.
INCLUDE RECIPIENT, IF GIVING CAT AS A GIFT
In general, giving pets as a gift is a bad idea. A pet cat is a huge responsibility and one that many people do not want or cannot handle. If you are considering adopting a cat for someone else, spoil the surprise and get he or she involved in the process. Include the recipient in trips to the animal shelter and choose a cat together. Their lifelong pal should be a cat that pleases them, not you.
Next: How to Kitten-Proof Your Home
NOT LOOKING TO ADOPT?
If you have made the decision not to adopt a cat, there are still other ways to help. Animal shelters and local rescue organizations are always in need of foster homes and volunteers. If adopting is not for you, then consider becoming a foster parent, which has many of the benefits without the full commitment of adopting. Donations are also welcome for the support of shelter cats, and the ASPCA as well as local organizations are always looking for volunteers if you prefer a more hands-on approach. Consider volunteering to help socialize the cats at your local shelter, and enjoy the pets and purrs that a furry friend can offer!