Adopting a cat or kitten is a big decision and an even larger commitment. It is an important step and a lot of thought and consideration should go into adding a new furry member to the family.
Everyone involved wants it to be a purrfect fit – for the humans and for the felines. Whether you adopt your new feline from a rescue organization, from a shelter, from a neighbor or from the little girl standing outside of the grocery store, you want to make sure it is a good match for you and the cat.
Before committing to taking home a cat or kitten, there are some questions you need to ask yourself:
Time - do you have the time to care for, play with, and meet your cat's basic needs?
Contrary to popular myth, cats are very social creatures and enjoy and need loving attention. Some cats are more socially needy than others and will demand more of your time. But even the most independent of cats needs interactive quality time with their person every day.
This is particularly true of kittens who have a lot of energy and in addition to play time need discipline and training.
Adult or Kitten – Do you have other household pets whose needs have to be considered?
The age, personality and previous experience with other cats of the resident cat must all be considered.
For instance, people love kittens and sometimes think that bringing home a kitten for an older cat will stimulate it and keep it youthful. In most cases, the older cat thinks you brought the kitten home to torture it.
You should find out the personality of the potential new cat and decide if it would be a good match to your resident cat. If it is allowed, you may want to try a foster to adopt situation to see if the cats do get along.
One or Two – should you adopt a single cat or a pair?
Some cats whether siblings or fast friends are bonded and it would best for them – and you – if they went home together. They will be happier and healthier mentally and physically if they are allowed to stay together.
Truly, two cats are not more work than one and they will keep each other company when you are not home and you get double the love!
Some people insist that a particular cat needs to be an only cat. In many years of working in cat rescue and interacting with thousands of cats, I have seen a limited number of cats that truly cannot live with other cats. And, studies have shown that cats benefit from living with other cats even if they do not form close bonds, sleeping together, etc.
If you are set on living with just one cat, make sure that you chose one that would do well alone. The people offering the cat for adoption should be able to tell you if the cat needs the company of other cats or will be fine just living with people.
Resources – are you able to cover the costs associated with cat adoption like food, litter, bedding, annual veterinary visits, toys/scratching posts, flea and parasite control, etc.?
You have to be realistic about the cost of having a cat, particularly possible vet expenses. If you are concerned about future medical expenses for your cat, you may want to look into getting pet insurance.
Spend time getting to know the cat or kitten you are interested in adopting to make sure that they are indeed a perfect fit for you, your lifestyle and family.
If you cannot commit to giving a feline a loving, healthy and safe forever home because of potential issues in the future, you may want to consider becoming a foster parent instead of adopting.
Many organizations have their own cat foster programs and Furry Foster matches potential foster families with animals from local rescue organizations.
Whatever you decide, enjoy having a feline companion!