June is Adopt-A-Cat Month with various campaigns related to adopting felines and giving them forever homes. This month marks the height of “kitten season,” when shelters are typically overwhelmed by large litters of kittens brought in by owners who are unable to take care of them.
Adopting a new cat is an exciting prospect and a great opportunity to bring a pet into your home. However, this is not a decision to take lightly. You need to make sure you and your potential fur baby are the right fit for each other. If you’re thinking about adopting a new cat, consider their needs, your lifestyle and the other people or animals in your home. Below are the things you should consider when adopting a new cat.
Age and Health Needs
Kittens are delightful and hard to resist. However, you must keep in mind that they’re extremely energetic and require a lot of playtime and training. It can also be hard to predict a kitten’s future temperament. If you prefer a quiet, affectionate companion with specific temperament traits, you may want to consider choosing a mature cat. Older cats tend to be calmer and already have social skills and litter box training.
Some cats may have pre-existing health conditions or special needs. If your prospective cat has any known health issues, be sure to research the method, length, and cost of treatment before bringing them home. Some health issues are easier than others to manage and treat. It is always best to do your research so you understand the commitment. Contact a veterinary professional with questions and concerns before adopting.
Temperament and Personality
When you visit a shelter, you will likely meet a wide variety of cats with different personalities. Some will be playful and lively, whereas others will be more quiet, introverted, and shy. Some may be overly affectionate, and others will be timid. Talk to the shelter workers about any behavioral needs. Considering the personalities of your future feline companion is important to ensure they fit in with your family and home. It is also crucial to consider compatibility if you have young children, elderly people, or other pets in your home. Always discuss your family’s needs with shelter staff because they know enough about the cats they’re rehoming.
Think about your lifestyle and the commitment you’ll be making when taking in a new cat. Adopting a new cat will be a huge responsibility, requiring you to provide companionship, healthy food, safety, love, and veterinary care for many years to come.
Cats require social interaction, mental stimulation, and exercise. By themselves, they can develop the single-kitten syndrome, which is characterized by clawing and biting problems. If you’re adopting a new cat, you may want to consider taking home two if you can. Two cats provide company for each other and teach each other how to be good cats.
Before adopting two cats, however, consider their age and personality. An energetic and insatiable kitten may be an older cat’s worst nightmare. However, another kitten or middle-aged cat may be more receptive to the kitten’s presence. Additionally, consider the personalities of the cats; a bossy cat may overwhelm a shy cat. If you think you’d like to get a pair when adopting a cat, the best approach is to adopt littermates or a pair around the same age. Shelters often keep pairs together if they get along.
Purebred cats typically have predictable characteristics based on their breed. For instance, you can be certain that a Maine Coon will be affectionate and friendly the same way you can expect a Siamese to be vocal and loud. Bengal cats are energetic and need lots of exercise and mental stimulation. However, the temperaments of mixed breeds can vary widely even within the same litter. Two seemingly identical cats can have vastly different personalities.
Some breeds may also be prone to certain health problems. Others have special needs because of the shapes of their faces. It is important to consider whether you want a long-haired or short-haired cat before you adopt. A long coat will require regular grooming to fight matting, and will often shed more than short-haired cats. Most shelters can send a list of current adoptable cats, use this list to research cat breeds and temperaments before visiting in person. The more informed you are, the easier the process will be.
Preparing for a New Cat
Once you’ve chosen your potential pet, it’s essential to take them to a vet for wellness testing or vaccinations before adopting them. Find a cat-friendly clinic that’s committed to reducing the stress that pets might feel during vet visits. Remember, the cat you adopt will likely be unsure and wary of you for a few days or so.
Make sure your home is all set up to welcome them. In the first few days, give them a quiet space to retreat away from other animals or people. Include a snuggly bed and some interactive toys to keep their mind engaged as they settle in. Some of the necessary items you’ll need for your cat include:
- Food (dry and/or canned) – check with your vet and the shelter to select the best food for them.
- Food and water bowls – ensure the water bowl stays clean, full, and is accessible at all times.
- Litter box and scooper – this should be easily accessible, with a mat underneath for easy cleaning.
- Hard plastic carrier – line this with towels for comfort and security.
- ID tag with your phone number.
- Feline toothpaste and toothbrush.
- Scrub brush and sponge.
- Cat brush or comb.
- Super-absorbent paper towels.
- Pet safety kit.
A little preparation can be a huge benefit down the road, full of adventures and snuggles with your feline best friend.
Naples Coastal Animal Hospital provides quality health evaluations, diagnostics, routine vaccinations, and treatment procedures to help improve your cat’s health. Contact us today to book an appointment or ask us any questions you have about your pet.