you been thinking about adding a cat or two to your family? Wondering
if you are ready?
First and foremost, make sure you are prepared to care for your
new pet for its entire life – 15 to 20 years on average for
an indoor cat. Hundreds of thousands of cats end up in local shelters
each year because their owners did not carefully consider the responsibilities
associated with having a pet. Many of these cats never make it out
of the shelters alive. Do not let your cat become another sad statistic,
make sure you can provide a loving home for the entire life of your
cat before adopting.
While cats are usually thought of as low maintenance pets, there
are still some lifestyle changes that need to be made when adding
a cat or kitten to your household.
you make the necessary time commitment to your new pet?
While cats are considered to be independent, they still need love
and companionship from their people. Before you commit to the long-term
care of a cat or kitten, evaluate whether you have the time to devote
to your new pet. An hour or so a few evenings during the week and
part of most weekends is generally enough time to allow you and
an adult cat to develop a caring bond. Kittens, on the other hand,
require more care and attention.
you make the financial commitment
to properly care for your new pet?
When adopting a cat, there are certainly more expenses to consider
than just the fee paid to the shelter or rescue agency. Initial
and ongoing, supplies, medical expenses, and care while you are
out of town all need to be factored into the economic decision of
whether or not to adopt a cat or kitten.
If this is your first cat, you will need to consider the cost
of the following essential supplies:
scoop and litter box(es)
quality cat food as well as food and water dishes
supplies – brush, claw clippers, etc.
posts of varying textures and design
factor to consider is that vet care is generally more expensive
for kittens than adult cats. Adult cats generally only require annual
exams and vaccines – rabies and distemper shots. Cats are very
good at hiding illness, though, so it is very important that your
cat be examined by a vet each year in order to detect disease early
and improve chances for recovery with treatment. Once the signs
of illness become visible to you, it may be too late.
Kittens generally require more initial visits to the veterinarian
than adult cats – in part because kittens need a series of
vaccines in their first year. Additionally, kittens have less developed
immune systems and are more likely than adult cats to get sick.
Young kittens need three distemper shots, each 3-4 weeks apart,
and then a rabies vaccine between 14 and 16 weeks of age. Between
four and six months, your new kitties will need to be spayed or
neutered. This surgery is important for the long-term health of
your new pet – kittens spayed or neutered before reaching sexual
maturity have a significantly lower risk of dying from reproductive
cancer. Spaying or neutering your pet is the single most effective
method to help avoid the development of hormone driven behavior
your house adequately prepared?
While cats do not require a lot of space – they are often touted
as the ideal pets for apartment living – you will need to make
some changes before bringing kitty home. Make sure potentially dangerous
items are put safely away, out of your cat's reach – rubber
bands, string, moth balls, curtain cords, poisons and shopping bags
with handles. Also, be sure to make yourself aware of which household
plants may be poisonous to your cat.
Until you are familiar with your new pet's habits, you will need
to take additional precautions to ensure his safety and well being.
Be sure to put breakable items in a location where your cat cannot
reach them (remembering cats can jump). Some cats like to chew,
so you may need take additional steps to protect wires with plastic
coverings or bitter tasting spray (specially designed to deter pet
As you can see, the decision to adopt a cat or kitten should not
be taken lightly. There are many important factors that should be
considered when you are thinking about bring a new furry friend
into your life. After weighing these and other factors, if you do
decide to adopt, you will know that you are doing a beautiful and
responsible thing by providing a life long home to a cat who, in
turn, will be your devoted companion for many years to come.