Thinking About Adopting A Cat?

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Charlie in grassBy Elaine DeCarlo

To decide that you would like a cat in your life and then the experience of going to your local shelter and falling in love with a beautiful cat and taking them home, is a very exciting undertaking!!

Or perhaps you have a purebred, like a Ragdoll cat, in mind and want to go to a breeder.  Please remember that there are many purebreds in shelters across the county too. 

Being an animal rescuer I have seen firsthand many purebred cats and dogs in overcrowded large city shelters. Many are young and there are always kittens and puppies as well.  And sadly, large city shelters will see 100s of them coming to their door each week.  So they are in jeopardy of being euthanized along with older and mixed breed cats and dogs.

Here are a few things to keep in mind once you have decided that YES you need the companionship of a beautiful feline.

  1. First you must realize that a cat can live to be 15-17 years.  In fact, many live into their 20s!! Purebreds that do tend to live to be quite elderly are Russian Blues,  Maine Coons, Persians and other similar breeds.  So you must realize that you will be sharing your life with another for at least 13+ years. This is a responsibility.
  2. How old are the household members in your family? If you have children under 7 then you will not want to get a kitten under 6 months of age, because they can be very playful with their teeth and claws. This can cause injury. With small children, you are better off getting an adult cat.  Between 2 – 6 yrs old. Still young enough with play energy in them. But tactful and knowing “social graces”.
  3. Cats need fresh water and to be fed twice a day high quality foods.  By feeding them higher quality foods you will maintain their good health.
  4. You must realize that your kitty will need to go to the veterinarian once a year and kittens require a series of shots within their first few months. 
  5. A clean litter box should be maintained.  Litter boxes should be cleaned at least twice a day.  If more than one kitty in them home, then three and four times a day.  And you should have a litter box for each cat in the home, plus one spare one. This will keep them happy.  So that they are not constantly sharing the same litter box.  This will help to avoid outside the box “accidents”.  Also, be sure that you pick a litter box that is big enough for the kitty to perform its elimination ritual of sniffing, digging, squatting, and turning around to cover up feces.
  6. Scratching is an innate behavior.  Therefore I recommend you provide your kitty with at least one scratching post. The scratching post should be so tall that your cat can fully stretch out his or her front legs on top of it.
  7. Cats also need to be bathed every few months and applied with flea/tick medicine. They also should be brushed regularly.  Brushing them at least once a week will prevent fur balls from forming.
  8. How much do you travel? Well, most cats do not mind spending some time alone, but you will need to have someone check in on them putting out fresh food and water.  As well as cleaning their litter box.
  9. Cats do not need to go outside.  Indoor cats live much longer than outdoor cats.  They do like stimulation so you must think of this and give them toys and a stimulating environment to live.  A room with a window for them to sit in is always pleasurable for a cat.
  10. Cats, just like all pets, need a certain amount of love and attention.  So by spending quality time with your kitty, you will develop and deepen your relationship with attentiveness, physical closeness, play and trust.
  11. Cats thrive on comfort, security and familiarity of the environment.  Change stresses them.  Let your cat explore all the nooks and crannies in your home.  This will ensure that he or she will feel safe and secure. 
  12. And lastly, do not pick a cat or dog for looks or breed only.  Spend some time with a cat or dog that perhaps by looks alone does not appeal to you.  You maybe surprised to find that their personalities are just perfect for you!!  You might even find your soul mate in an unlikely one.

And as an animal communicator, I will add that if an animal is meant to be in your life, they will.  No matter what!   There is a way, a plan for them to be with you.  All you have to do is look into their eyes and you will know.  The connection will be there.

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