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Adopting a Cat:
What you need to know
Adopting a cat is always exciting and can sometimes be confusing and overwhelming. Here are a few things to know and consider before you make that adoption. First and foremost, please be a responsible adopter and adopt for life, for better/for worse. Remember that there are expenses that go along with your new furry family member so make sure you’ve considered the commitment and make sure you can provide for your baby so that your new furry pal will always have a loving home with you!
Now on to the adoption checklist on what you need to know!
-Where & Who To Adopt. First decide where you’ll be adopting and what age range and type of cat you’re looking for and consider adopting two that already get along. Cats need exercise and companionship and having two can also make it less stressful for both kitties! But don’t take on more than you can handle. If only one
cat is in the cards for you, then one cat is great! There are many different types of cats and just as many cat personalities, so be sure to pick one that matches you and your lifestyle. For example, if you’re idea of having a cat is snuggling up and watching movies and you have a calm and quiet home and prefer it that way, don’t run out and get a cat that’s hardwired to be super active, like a Bengal kitten, look for an older cat that’s a little calmer with a more relaxed personality. There’s a cat personality out there for every person personality, so when you do go looking for your new furbest friend, make sure to keep an open heart!
As for where you’ll be adopting, do some research into the shelters in your area and explore any other adoption avenues. There are lots of cats, and other animals for that matter, in desperate need of forever loving homes via social media, high kill shelters, regular shelters and sanctuaries. When deciding on what age you're looking for, please consider the senior cats and special needs cats that have tons of love to give and would be so happy to have their special forever loving home with you! Remember that sometimes the right cat will choose you, even if the special ball of fur isn't what you thought you were looking for, so keep your eyes, mind and heart open!
-Find Your Vet. Locate a vet that you like nearby so that you can make an appointment for you new addition just to make sure everything is as it should be. Make sure that you get all your new cat or kitten’s medical records from where you adopt and bring them with you to your first vet appointment. If everything appears to be ok with your new cat, then you can make the appointment for a week or two after your baby has had some time to adjust to his new home with you. If something seems off, or you know there is a problem then by all means, make the appointment as soon as possible. You can ask friends that have pets if they have vet recommendations and the place you adopt from may also have a suggestion or two if you’re unsure.
-Your Living Situation. Make sure if you have roommates or housemates that everyone is onboard with your decision to get a cat. You don’t want to bring your new baby home only to find out someone is allergic to cats or doesn’t want to have cats.
-The Perfect Cat. When that perfect cat does come across your path, and you've made arrangements to adopt, then it's time to make sure you have all the necessary cat accessories before you bring your new addition home. Because cats are extremely sensitive when it comes to their surroundings, it’s always a good idea to get a few pheromone plug-in diffusers to place around your house as soon as you can and before bringing your fur ball home. This can help reduce stress in your new kitty and help make the transition to his forever loving home smoother. If at all possible, plug the pheromone diffusers in a few weeks prior to your cat’s arrival. If your cat will be coming home sooner, then just plug the diffusers in as soon as you can.
-Cat Proof Your Home First. This may sound weird, but it is an important thing to consider. Those that have cats and are adding a cat to their clowder will understand this step. Those who are getting their first cat may need some input as to what cat proofing is. Think of it like child proofing. Cats jump, so if things are left on countertops they may be considered fair game for your new fluff! You’ll want to be sure any breakables are secured or put up out of the way, just so that you can get a feel for your new cat before. Cats chew, so make sure cords, string and anything that they may find to chew on are up and out of cats reach. Cats can easily become ‘clogged up’ by something that wasn’t supposed to be eaten by cat and require an emergency vet visit. Plants are also important to consider. There are plants that are cat safe, but there are many plants that are poisonous and even lethal to cats, so make sure any plants you have are safe for cats or that they are put far out of cat reach. We have a short list on our Plants & Cats page, but you can always google your plants to make sure, one way or another.
-Basic Essentials. Now let’s look at what basic essentials you need to stock up on before you bring your fur baby home!
Food & Water Bowls (traditional bowls or the techie kind)
Food (cat/kitten food, wet, dry or a combination, your choice)
Size appropriate litterbox (kittens need smaller, lower sided boxes)
Cat litter (kittens are best w/kitten litter)
Cozy cat/kitten bed
A few cat/kitten toys
Size appropriate cat tree
Scratching post and/or cat tree
-Food & Feeding. When looking into food and feeding/water bowls make sure to get bowls or feeders/waterers that are wide and allow for a cat’s highly sensitive whiskers. Get bowls/feeders and waters that give their whiskers plenty of room. As for what food your cat should have, cats are obligate carnivores, which means meat is a Must for cats! Always make sure you feed them a high quality food that has high amounts of animal protein, keeps fats to a medium and limits the number of carbohydrates. You can also mix up their diet a bit to create some variety, and while dry food can be convenient, do keep in mind that wet and raw food do provide a great source of hydration, as cats don’t always drink enough water and can become dehydrated. In the ‘wild’, cats get the majority of their hydration from the food they catch, so do keep this in mind. If you do go with a dry kibble, check with a trusted source as to what type is best and maybe supplement with some wet food for dinner. Otherwise, always make sure your cat is drinking water by monitoring the water sources available.
-Litterboxes & Litter. Keep in mind that not all cats have the same preference when it comes to litterboxes so finding the right one for your cat may be a trial and error process and the same goes for litter. Also, kittens do need low sided smaller boxes until they can grow into the bigger regular sized boxes, and large cats will need larger or extra large boxes. The same goes for litter, as not all cats will like the same litter. Trial and error applies here, as well, so if you have a preference, start with what you think is best. If that doesn’t appeal to your new furry friend, try a different type of litter or style box.
Location of the litterbox is also important so find a place that isn’t too obscured and also make sure that you have several boxes for kitty to use. If you have a two-story home, have a box on each level and the basic rule of thumb for number of boxes is a box for each cat on each level of your home plus one. If you have one cat and a two-story home, it’s recommended that you have a litterbox on each level, plus one more. Two cats on a single level home, have a litterbox for each cat (so 2 boxes) plus one, with a total of 3. Cats do prefer a clean place to do their business, just like we people do, so scoop each box at least once every day, preferably twice a day if you can. This will make litterbox problem less likely and keep your cat healthier and happier, too!
-Successful Transition. To make sure everything goes well, and to set your cat up for a successful transition into their new forever loving home with you, be sure to give your cat plenty of time and space to acclimate to their new surroundings, especially if your new furball is a little on the shy or timid side. All cats are different so be patient and go with what seems right for your new cat!
If you have other cats or animals at home, we have our ‘Cat Introductions’ page coming in the next few days that will be full of suggestions and tips on how to introduce your cat to other members of the household and vice versa. It's very important to make sure you introduce other cats and animals to your new cat correctly in order to set everyone up for a successful and happy life together, and to make sure no one gets hurt!!
Be sure you set aside enough playtime for your new addition (as well as any resident cats that you may already have) every day for long term success. This will help keep them mentally and physically stimulated and can avoid possible weight problems and behavior problems down the line. And finally and most importantly, enjoy and love your new kitty as much as she needs you to, keeping her safe, happy and healthy throughout her entire life! Remember your new furbaby isn't just a cat, but a new family member!
As always, if you have questions, we’re here to help whenever we can! Feel free to email us at: