Have 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
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
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 problems.
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. The ASPCA maintains a list of poisonous plants.
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 chewing).
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.