Roslyn adopted Lily because she meowed louder than any cat in the room. Why did you choose your pet?
It’s kitten season, and all across the country, shelters are being flooded with cats. June is also Shelter Cat Adoption Month, so now’s the perfect time to adopt a rescue cat. Here are 5 things for a first time cat owner to consider before bringing a new furry family member into your home.
1. Analyze your lifestyle & home dynamics. Start by asking yourself a few questions about why you want a cat. Are you ready to commit to owning a cat for the next 10-20 years? Should you adopt a kitten or an older cat? Do you have other people or animals in your home? Will they get along with the cat, and will the cat get along with them? Cats are awesome companions and are very easy to take care of, but they do require a few things. Clean the litterbox regularly, provide food and water, and keep them safe.
2. Do some research. Did you know that cats are crepuscular, meaning they're most active at dawn and dusk? And that they really shouldn’t drink milk? Or that cats were originally desert animals? This means your cat might bat around crinkle balls or start meowing for breakfast when you’re still in bed. And you might find they only drink from a dripping faucet. Know what to expect before bringing a cat or kitten into your home, and embrace their personality quirks. You could also consider adopting a special needs cat, just as long as you’ve done your research and can commit to taking care of them.
3. Buy cat supplies.
- The essentials: litter, litterbox, litter scoop, food, food bowl, water dish.
- Basic cat care: scratching post, brush, nail clippers, carrier
- Fun stuff: bed, toys, treats, collar, ID tag
Making your cat feel at home includes making your home cat-friendly. Go into every room of your house to “pet proof,” making sure everything is safe for the new kitty. Cats are smart; some can get into cabinets, open doors, and chew through cords. You’ll need to keep an eye on your new cat at first and watch for dangerous behaviors. If you have a dog or children, you might want to get a pet gate or baby gate to give your cat a private room or floor of the house until everyone’s adjusted to the new addition.
4. Choose the right rescue group. Adopt a cat or kitten from a reputable animal shelter or rescue group. There are several reasons to adopt from a shelter rather than from a pet store or breeder. Most shelters assess their cats’ behavior and health, and often give them more chances to be socialized.
A rescue cat's adoption fees usually include some or all of their shots and their spay/neuter procedure. And, of course, you get to save a life. Mixed breed cats, also called Domestic Shorthairs (DSH), tend to be healthier than purebreds, but if you are looking for a specific breed, it’s estimated that 25% of animals in shelters are purebred. There are also tons of breed-specific cat rescue groups.
5. Let the perfect cat choose you. When many people tell the story of how they adopted their cat, they speak of how that animal chose them. The first time I went to the shelter looking for a rescue cat, Lily chose me by meowing louder than any other cat in the room and rubbing against the cage as I walked by.
My dad’s cat pawed him through the cage as he was walking by, and it was love at first sight. And my fiancé chose one of his cats because his sad, lonely expression said to him, “Please pick me-- no one else will.” Sometimes, all that planning for the perfect cat gives way to fate or chance when you finally find “The One.”