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Cats - Adoption

If you are planning on adopting a cat there are quite a few things that you should consider. You have to make sure that you can financially support the cat by providing food, litter, ongoing veterinary care (including spaying/neutering), possible surgeries, dental care, and vaccinations. There are other ongoing costs associated with cat ownership including litter boxes, dishes, toys, scratching posts, bedding, and grooming. Make sure that you are adopting a cat for the right reasons and not for someone else as a gift. Pet ownership is a very personal decision so it is important for that person to choose the cat them self.  Although you might think the cat is perfect for someone, let them come along so that they can see which cats they bond with and like the best. Cat ownership includes a commitment that can last anywhere from 12-18 years so it is important that you make sure you are ready to take on the responsibility.

Where to Adopt

Unfortunately, due to overpopulation, many cats do not have homes and are currently living in shelters or as strays. Adopting a cat can add a lot of value and love to your life and there are many different places to adopt from. There are open access animal shelters that take in all stray animals. The Humane Society has adoption centers all over the country. The Humane Society consists of private facilities, some of which are open and others are limited. Foster groups are also a great place to adopt from: they are usually run by volunteer foster parents and there is not a physical location. There are also kill and no-kill shelters. A no-kill animal shelter refers to a shelter that does not put down healthy pets that could be adopted no matter how long they have been there. These shelters only use euthanasia when it is absolutely necessary, like when an animal is ill or dangerous. In 2008, the Humane Society of the United States estimated that approximately 4 million pets are put down yearly in shelters, although many suspect that this number is closer to 5 million. No-kill shelters are intent on trying to reduce this issue by increasing the demand for dogs and cats from shelters. These pets come spayed or neutered for very little money, if not free. It is estimated that in the United States only 20% of pets are adopted with the rest coming from breeders or other sources. Adoption is an excellent alternative, giving the animals a second chance at life while preventing the cycle of overpopulation from continuing.

Choosing The Right Cat For You

When going through the adoption process look at what kind of traits in a cat would best suit your routine and lifestyle. Keep in mind that different breeds may be more active and require more care. Cats are known for their very distinctive personalities and can make a very easy to care for pet, but you need to make sure you choose the right one.

Cats require daily attention and care. Domesticated cats also require some sort of routine. Cats require fresh food and water daily, and their litter box should be cleaned out at least every 2-3 days. Cats also require a veterinarian for checkups, vaccinations and another other medical procedures. If possible, ask for your cat’s medical history when you adopt, this way you will know of any pre-existing health conditions and the best way to treat them.

Making Your New Cat Feel at Home

Don’t be discouraged if your new cat seems shy or nervous when it first gets to your home. It will take patience for your cat to become comfortable with its new surroundings. When you first adopt your cat you should keep it nearby in a sectioned room just so it can become familiar with it. This will prevent your cat from becoming overwhelmed with the new scents found all over the entire house. Cats are very sensitive to smell so allow it to sniff around and ask the shelter about possibly bringing something with that holds the scent of the shelter. Make sure to provide comfortable bedding for your cat to rest, as well as a litter box in a conveniently placed area. Your cat will also require clean drinking water and food at least once a day. A scratching post and toys are also a good way to help your cat become comfortable in his new home and will prevent your belongings from getting damaged. Your cat will let you know how it is feeling through body language and vocal cues. Your cat will signify that it is happy or content by purring. Your cat will also signify happiness by having his tail straight up with the tip turned over or gently swishing its tail. If your cat is hissing, has its fur up or a lashing tail it is angry or afraid. If your cat begins to meow loudly he is trying to get your attention either to let you know it is hungry, wants to go outside or is bored. These cues may vary from cat to cat, but you will see that your cat is very expressive about what it wants. One in three pets are reported lost so it is important to have your cat either micro- chipped or wear proper identification of where you can be reached. This will allow for your cat to be returned home safely to you so it is not placed back in a shelter.

Once you have everything in place the adoption process is very rewarding. You will receive a very loveable pet at a fraction of the cost of purchasing from a breeder. You could also prevent the cycle of unwanted kittens in the future by having your cat neutered or spayed. Once your cat feels comfortable in its new home, it is time for you to get to know and love your new family member.