Spring is on its way out, but if visions of wobbly-headed, blue-eyed kittens are still scampering through your head, you might be interested to know that June is cat adoption month. Before you go scouring local animal shelters looking for “the one,” make certain you and your family are ready for the commitment and are not just bewitched by the cuteness avalanche that inevitably accompanies kitten season. If you’re sure you’re ready, arm yourself with knowledge and prepare to plunder those shelters!
1. You know that popular trope that decrees all cats are lazy and antisocial? Ignore it! PetsVet.com advises that personality and activity level differ drastically from cat to cat; this is where being mindful of your own characteristics comes in handy. Are you rambunctious and energetic, with loads of free time? Get a kitten! Mellow and laid-back, with an independent streak? Go for a full-grown cat.
2. Can you afford consistent vaccinations, food and litter, and other kitty essentials? Cats are low-maintenance pets, but the American Humane Society suggests creating a budget anyway to ensure your cat’s short-term and long-term needs are met.
3. Cat-proof your home before your new cat even sets a paw in it. Bar access to toxic plants, electrical cords, and tight spaces. According to PetsVet.com, sheets of aluminum foil and wire cooling racks will deter cats from walking on priceless furniture. If nothing else, you could always spring for a pet furniture cover!
4. Schedule a vet appointment too, before you even get your cat home. The sooner you catch any potential medical problems, the better.
5. When you get your new cat through the door, confine him or her to a “safe room,” with food, water, and a litter box. The American Humane Society proposes only gradually introducing him to the landscape of his new home—as well as to new people and pets.
6. Finally, a fair warning—your cat is going to scratch! PetsVet.com submits that scratching not only feels good, it’s a way to leave behind olfactory messages for other cats. It’s an instinct that is nearly impossible to deny. Find a nice scratching post and position it next to the arm of that chair he loves shredding to pieces. Sprinkle the post with catnip or dangle a feather around it to get your cat in the habit of using the post instead.
Adopting a stray is a commendable feat in and of itself. But before you do, make certain you are fully prepared for the latest addition to your family. Your cat’s first impression of you and your home will have a lasting effect on him for the rest of your time together, so make it count! Happy adopting!