What You Should Know Before Adopting a Cat
You’re scrolling through your Facebook page or Instagram, and then you stop. You see a photo of a kitty and think, “That little face, could it be any sweeter?” and then you say, “I NEED one.”
Before adding a purring addition to your home, there are a few things to consider.
- Lifespan: It’s essential to know the commitment you’re making. The average lifespan of a cat is between 13-17 years. On rare occasions, cats can live to their twenties.
- Where Will You Adopt From?: Think about where you’ll adopt your cat. A shelter? Humane Society? Breeder? Pet Store? You have lots of options.
- The Cost: Along with time commitment, comes monetary costs. According to PetCoach, “While the actual cost of owning a cat is highly variable, the average cost to own a cat is $809 per year, with the first year averaging $1,174.”
- What does the initial cost entail? If not already included in the price at the time of adoption, spaying or neutering your cat helps control the pet population and can increase the possibility of good health. Microchipping is a great idea. It’s helpful if your cat becomes lost.
- Cats need regular vet visits. Their vaccinations should be up to date. If they spend time outdoors, flea and tick medication is something to consider, also.
- Cats scratch…it’s in their nature. Declawing cats is discouraged for their protection, and it can cause medical issues. If you’d like your furniture to be sans rips, a scratching post (at least 3’ high) is a must, and a manicure (professionally or by you) is encouraged every 2-3 weeks.
- Cat Personalities: Like people, cats have different personalities. When searching for a new family member, take time to sit with the cat, play with it, give it some snuggles. Is there a connection? Are you smitten? Are they? A loving, healthy relationship is mutual. They need to like you, too.
- You Found a Cat – Now What?: You’ve found the perfect cat, and it’s time to bring them home. They’ll need a few essentials (have them on hand ahead of time):
- water and food bowl (no need to be fancy, but make sure a kitten can reach over the lip of the bowl)
- cat carrier
- litter box and litter
- scratching post (at least 3’ high)
- cat toys
- grooming supplies
- a harness and lead if you plan on walks
- a collar with identification tag and vaccine information
- And when it comes to the all-important litter box…you’re going to need to clean it frequently. Would you enjoy a dirty toilet? Neither do cats. If it’s not clean, they’ll find their own place to go.
- Cat-Proof Your Home: It’s possible cats coined the word, “curious.” With that in mind, cat-proof your home:
- What foods and plants are poisonous?
- Do you have screens on your windows?
- Are there plastic bags all over the floor?
- Hide the thread, ribbon, yarn, and string; some cats will gobble them up.
- Know the number of your vet and the Poison Control Pet Hotline.
- Find a Great Vet: You’ll want to find a vet who will take care of your cat like your doctor takes care of you. Ask friends and family if they have any recommendations and then schedule an appointment. The vet will make sure your new fur friend is healthy and let you know about any vaccinations your cat may need.
Most of all, cats need your love, attention, and patience. They can be loving companions and provide you and your family years of joy. Soon, you could be the one posting cute cat pictures of Facebook or Instagram with others stopping to remark how cute your pet is!