National Adopt-a-Cat Month was established by the American Humane Association with the purpose of helping to raise public awareness about the homeless cat situation across our country, as well as encouraging more individuals to open their home and bring a shelter cat into their life. Each spring there are literally thousands of kittens born across the country–kittens that end up joining the millions of cats already living in shelters. National Adopt-a-Cat Month is a perfect time to bring a new, furry, loving companion into your home and help to improve their life, as well as your own. But first you must make sure that you are properly prepared for them.
How to Prepare For Your New Pet
Some individuals consider adopting a new cat or kitten for many weeks or even months before taking the leap, while for others it is much more of an impulsive decision. There is actually nothing wrong with either method, as long as one recognizes that they are beginning a relationship that will last for many years to come, and will depend for its health and happiness on your ability to provide for your new kitty’s physical, mental and emotional needs. To that end, following are five tips to help you prepare for your new cat or kitten:
1. Determine what kind of cat will make a good match with your family. Some individuals are drawn to the idea of adopting an adult or even senior cat, knowing that they are considered less popular and therefore often spend a considerable amount of time in a shelter before being adopted. However, other family members may prefer a kitten that is playful and can bond and stay with the family longer, so an adult or senior cat may not be a good fit. As another example, there may be one family member who desires to put in the time and effort to care for a fearful cat, while others will disappointed not to have a friendly, cuddly lap cat. These sorts of discrepancies can make the cat adoption process more difficult and complicated, and so should be thoroughly worked out beforehand.
2. Learn about cats in general. When you are considering bringing a cat into your home and life it can be incredibly helpful to understand what cats need and how they communicate. Behavioral problems are often easily resolved by owners who understand what their cats need and how to provide these needs. While they may not be able to do the same sorts of tricks that dogs can perform, cats can be trained into desired behaviors so that they are even more delightful than the beautiful, intelligent and sensitive creatures you fell in love with in the first place.
3. Get all of the supplies you will need in order to properly care for your cat. Any cat will have a difficult time with the transition from shelter to new home, and will appreciate if this transition is not further complicated by a stop at the pet store to buy supplies. It can also make the entire process less stressful for you to know that you already have everything needed to care for your new kitty. Some basic supplies to research and purchase in advance include a litter box, a litter scoop, litter, food and water bowls, food, a scratching post, interactive and solo toys, hideaways, a grooming brush, and a cat carrier. You may want to wait until you adopt your kitty before getting their collar and i.d. tag, but you should make sure to do this as soon as possible after their adoption.
4. Kitty-proof your house. Oftentimes an individual doesn’t realize how much a curious kitty can alter the appearance of their home until they bring a kitty home. Prior to adopting, go through your home and look for things that will undoubtedly attract your new friend’s attention, like loose wires and cords, small items that are easily swallowed, insecure window screens, open garbage cans, cleaning products and household chemicals, medicines, toxic houseplants, food items on counters and other similar things.
5. Choose a veterinarian. One of the most uncomfortable experiences a new cat owner can go through is trying to find a veterinarian in an emergency. Before adopting a cat you should ask for veterinarian referrals from friends and neighbors, and then make a personal visit to recommended facilities. You want a veterinary office that is clean, technologically up-to-date and staffed by friendly, professional individuals.
Adopting a cat is a wonderful, life-changing experience when undertaken with the proper advance preparation. In return, a well-prepared owner will be rewarded with a long, loving relationship that often enhances their own life even more than they hoped or dreamed.