Before you adopt your next cat, be sure that you are prepared prior to the adoption. Have you shared your home with a cat previously? Do any members of your home have allergies? Is everyone in agreement of adopting a cat? Who will be responsible for scooping the litter-box, taking the cat to and from veterinary visits, feeding the cat? Where will your cat sleep? There are a litany of questions to consider prior to adoption. When you adopt a cat (or any pet for that matter), you want to be sure you are making a lifelong commitment to your new pet. They depend on you to take care of them and in return they will loyally give you their heart. Indoor cats live an average of 14-16 years- are you prepared for the commitment? Do you have the funds for veterinary visits if a medical issue should arise? It is important to remember that cats are living creatures and like humans, they can come down with illness or injury which may need medical attention. Pet Insurance is one possible option, or placing aside funds in a separate account could be a solid option for you and the care of your new pet.
So how do you know if you should adopt a kitten or an adult cat? What about senior cats? It's important to look at the activity level of your household. Do you have small children? Do you prefer a cat that likes to play or would you rather a cat curl up in your lap while you read a good book? Kittens are typically more active in their youth, while adult cats tend to be more of the snuggle-type. Nevertheless, it is important that when adopting, if the rescue cat has been fostered in a volunteer foster home, be sure to ask the foster parent/volunteer the following questions:
-Does the cat do well with other cats? Dogs? Small children?
-Is the cat already spayed/neutered?
-Is the cat up to date on vaccinations? Will I receive a copy of their vet records to share with my vet?
-Is the cat indoors only? Are they litter-box/housetrained?
-What type of food has the cat been eating?
-What type of litter box and litter brand have they been using?
-Do they have a favorite toy?
Whether you are adopting your cat from a shelter or a rescue organization, it is important to know that you can never know everything about a cat prior to adoption. Volunteers can help in sharing their experience in terms of what they have witnessed with the pets personality- but some things will be let for you to learn after the adoption. Be sure that you are willing to be flexible and work with any potential issues that may arise. Remember, when you adopt a pet, you are making a lifelong commitment to them.
Don't overlook senior cats! Most cats who are 8 or older are entered into the "senior" category- but that doesn't mean they are not worthy of adoption. Check with your local pound/shelter/rescue and see if they have a Seniors to Seniors adoption program- many programs offer this wonderful service which provides a reduced (and sometimes none at all) adoption fee- helping senior pets find the homes they deserve. Senior pets tend to be more laid back, mellow and can fit easily into your home. They have a lot of love to share and will be forever grateful for your love!
Once you have adopted a cat, it's important to help with the transition process. Imagine if you were plucked from a group facility and taken to a new home- you wouldn't understand where anything is or what the expectations were. Give your cat time to adjust. Time is the key- and patience. Generally it takes cats 2-4 weeks to adjust to their new homes. It is different for every cat, the important thing is that you give them the time they need.