If you are ready to welcome a new kitten or cat into your home, there are two ways to go about finding the perfect match for your family. If you have your heart set on a particular purebred kitten, you can purchase one from a reputable breeder. If you are indifferent as to what the kitty looks like, then it would be best to adopt a cat from your local shelter or cat rescue organization.
Research Before Purchase
If you admire the distinctive appearance of a particular breed of cat, it is imperative to do some research before you make the decision to buy one.
First, you should learn as much as possible about the breed. Do not purchase a Bengal kitten solely because you are drawn to the feline’s wildcat physique and coat pattern. Upon reading about the breed, you may find that the personalities of Bengal cats require more demands than your lifestyle or schedule will allow. Learn about the temperaments, typical behaviors and care needs of the breed that has caught your eye, and be sure that this is in fact the type of cat that you are prepared to share your life with for at least 10 to 20 years. Once you have confirmed your choice, you will need to research breeders and find one that is reputable. The Cat Fanciers’ Association and The International Cat Association websites are good starting points for gathering such information.
Wanted: Forever Homes
Every year, more than one million cats are euthanized in shelters across the United States in order to make room for the constant influx of new intakes. No-kill facilities are often filled to capacity with kittens and cats for adoption, which means that they must turn away additional intakes. Those that are turned away either end up abandoned or admitted into kill shelters. Adopting a cat or kitten from an animal shelter saves a life and provides that cat with the loving forever home that every animal deserves. Local cat rescue organizations do their part to take in homeless and abandoned cats in order to keep them out of the shelters. These groups either house the cats in their own facilities or enlist the help of foster homes to care for the cats temporarily until they are placed in permanent homes. Like the shelters, they are often overburdened by the number of cats in need of their help. Adopting a cat or kitten from a rescue organization saves a life because once you take a cat off of the group’s hands, you have created an opening for the next cat that needs their care.
How to Adopt a Cat
If you have decided to adopt a cat or kitten, there are a few things that you should expect. Whether you opt to visit your local animal shelter or fall in love with a rescue cat that you met at the pet supply retail store, you will be asked to fill out an application for adoption. The goal of shelters and rescue organizations is to find loving, permanent homes for the cats in their care. They hope that once the cat is adopted, they will not see it return. You will be asked questions regarding your living arrangements in order to determine that you are not renting your home from a landlord that bans pets from the premises. You will be asked about any other pets that you own or have owned, and you will be asked to furnish the contact information for the veterinarian that you have used in order to confirm that you will be an owner who provides the proper level of health care to your pets. You may be asked how many hours your cat will be left home alone during each day. You may also be asked to provide personal references. Lastly, you will probably be asked whether or not you intend to keep the cat strictly indoors and, if the procedure has not already been performed at the time of adoption, whether or not you intend to spay or neuter the cat at the proper age.
In addition to the adoption application, some rescue organizations require a home visit so that they can observe the kind of environment in which the cat will be homed. Conversations with the animal shelter or rescue group staff will be helpful in ensuring that the right match is found for your household. For example, a timid cat will not be an ideal housemate in a noisy home or in one with boisterous young children.
The New Arrival
Once you have been approved to adopt a cat, be sure to gather the necessary supplies that every cat needs, including a litter box, litter, food and water bowls, a bed, a scratching post, toys, treats and cat food that is nutritionally balanced for the cat’s age. You should select a quiet, isolated room in which the cat can be safely sequestered with these amenities for the first few days as it settles into its new home.
Most shelters and rescue groups are nonprofit organizations that operate on donations and adoption fees. There will likely be a nominal adoption fee that you will be expected to pay upon receipt of your new furry friend. When the big day arrives, you should also make sure that you have a secure cat carrier in which to transport the kitten or cat home safely.
Whether you buy or adopt a cat, it is a good idea to have your new addition examined by a veterinarian to determine that the cat is healthy and to establish a patient record. If you have acquired a kitten, it will probably require additional vaccines. Once you bring the cat home from the shelter or breeder, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian a few days later so that the cat has a chance to become comfortable with you first. With proper care and plenty of affection and interaction, your cat will offer the reward of companionship that will endure for years to come.