Are you spending hours scrolling through the “cats of Instagram” hashtag? (Don’t worry, we don’t judge!) If you are, you might be thinking about adopting a feline friend of your own – your own cute, cuddly companion. Bringing a cat into your home can be an amazing and welcoming change to your lifestyle. You now have a new family member – a new friend to spoil, keep you company and provide endless laughs! But, keep in mind that with a cat or kitten, your routine and day-to-day activities will change. In fairness to your new furry friend and yourself, you should be prepared. Here is a list of important things to consider and ask yourself when adopting a new little furball.
While cats are typically lower maintenance than dogs, there is still a significant financial commitment to owning a cat.
Here’s a list of some expenses to consider:
Petfinder, one of our fave kitty adoption resources, offers a comprehensive list of expenses associated with owning a cat.
Need yet another reason to adopt instead of shop? When adopting a rescue, initial shots and vaccines, as well as a spay or neuter, are often covered with your adoption fees.
How is your home environment? Are you in a studio apartment or a single-family home? If you are in an apartment or condo community, are pets allowed? Most cats can quickly adapt to smaller spaces. If you have a studio apartment that you want to fill with some extra kitty love, space should not be an issue. (Just make sure that you do have enough space for all of kitty’s belongings, especially the litter box.) On the flip side, cats also thrive in larger homes. Still, they can feel lonely in bigger spaces when they do not have as much stimulation or activities to keep them occupied. In larger homes, try to keep kitty engaged with cat trees, toys throughout the house, window perches, etc.
Are there young children or babies in your home? Or maybe a K9 fur baby? Both can have a significant impact on adopting animals, especially cats. Kittens can be a lot of work and require a lot of attention when first brought into a new home – they, too, are babies! If you have young children in your home, you might want to consider adopting an adult cat that is good with children. Many shelters and rescues have older cats that have experience being in a home with youngsters. Of course, as with any animal, it will take time for the cat to adapt to its new environment. Still, prior experience with children is a definite plus.
Perhaps you have another animal already in the home, another cat or a dog. It will take some time and patience to introduce these two new furry friends. Again, rescue shelters will share as much as they can about the background of the cat. They might be able to tell you whether or not your potential adoptee is good with other animals or thrives best as a single pet – be sure to ask those questions. For kittens, it’s best to keep the little tike separated from your other pet, with gradual introductions and supervised play times before letting the siblings interact and roam free.
Many of us invest in our home – furniture, carpets, bedding and more. But our feline friends may have other ideas about your beautiful decor. “Is that a HUGE scratching post just for me?” Yes, cats scratch. Cats shed. And, ultimately, it may pose a threat to some of your belongings.
In the past, owners often thought declawing their cats was the only way to avoid furniture frustrations. However, now the practice is considered cruel and inhumane by many veterinary specialists and shelters/rescues. Why is it inhumane? Declawing is actually the surgical removal of the first knuckle on each toe. When adopting from a shelter or rescue organization, you will most likely have to sign a document stating that you will not declaw your cat. If you still are unsure how to maintain your furniture, here are a few options:
Related: See Rescue Pop’s list of Recommended Kitty Furniture Savers.
Do you often travel for work or do you work long hours outside your home? While more independent than dogs, cats still require attention, cuddles and playtime. And, being alone can cause them stress and maybe even a little spite upon your return. Remember, cats are a creature of habit and thrive in a stable living environment. If you travel frequently, this might not be the best time to adopt a cat, especially a kitten. If you work long hours, you may want to consider adopting two bonded adult cats so they have company! If you do find yourself away from home, be sure to make arrangements with a cat sitter to come and give kitty some attention while you are out of town. There are a variety of sites you can use to find help. For example, Rover (despite the name!) has some great options for kitty sitters.
Are you ready to make a commitment? It’s not a marriage, but it is close! Adopting a cat can be a 10-15-year commitment. It requires a loving home, patience, and welcoming this animal as part of your family. You may face some learning curves and adjustment periods when adopting a cat. You should be prepared to be patient and understanding. You are committing to this cat for the entirety of its life. That means if you plan to move, you’ll want to be sure you bring kitty with you. If you plan to add other members, human or furry, to your household, consider how it will impact your kitty. There will be work required and patience needed, but the unconditional love this animal will have for you and your family will be the ultimate reward and bring countless smiles to your day!
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The Ulti-Mutt Guide for Rescue Pets and their Pawsome Pet Parents.