Are you considering adding an adopted cat to your family for the first time? Not sure what you’ll need to do to prepare and what care will be needed?
Read on to learn 5 tips for adopting a cat to make sure you and your new feline friend get off to a good start.
1. Consider if a Cat is Right for Your Family
Hopefully, you’ve spent at least some time around cats, so you know you (or any family member) are not allergic. If you have young children, make sure they’ve learned how to interact with pets calmly and safely.
If you have children younger than 5 years old, a young kitten is most likely not the best choice to adopt. Look for a calm and sociable adult cat instead.
2. Choose a Cat That Fits into Your Lifestyle
When looking for a cat to adopt, consider their personality and how it will fit with your and your family’s.
Kittens are adorable but also very active and curious. If your lifestyle doesn’t afford you a lot of time to play with and exercise your kitten, consider an older cat (or adopt two kittens so they can entertain each other).
3. Know Your Budget
An important consideration when adopting any pet is your budget. Shelter cats will usually be vaccinated and spayed or neutered before adopting, but there are other lifetime expenses. Can you afford the costs of routine care as well as treating illnesses or injuries? Looking into pet insurance is always a great idea, there are many good plans available.
4. Get All of Your Supplies
When you’ve chosen a cat to adopt, prepare your home. Some basic supplies you’ll need include:
- Litter boxes and litter: You may need to experiment with the type your cat prefers after they arrive. The number of litter boxes you need is one per cat plus one more. Litter boxes should be placed in quiet, easily accessible areas, and away from food and water dishes.
- Food and water dishes: Adult cats should ideally not be free-fed, so avoid self-feeders that provide food continuously. Water fountains are an option that some cats love.
- Food: Choose a food that provides complete and balanced nutrition for your new cat’s life stage.
- Collar and ID tag: Your cat will hopefully come to you already microchipped. If not, this is the best way to ensure that your cat is returned to you if they escape your home. A collar and tag let people know if they see your cat outdoors that s/he is owned, and you can be contacted.
- Scratchers: Scratching is a normal and necessary behavior for your cat, so provide things s/he can go to instead of your furniture. Cat trees with scratching areas are a great option. A cat’s environment includes vertical space as well as horizontal, so a tree allows them to climb and be above ground as well.
- Grooming supplies: A brush or comb is helpful, no matter what length of coat your cat will have.
- Toys: Have a few toys of different types, such as wands, balls, and stuffed toys.
5. Choose a Veterinarian for Your Cat
Choose a veterinarian ahead of time and schedule an appointment for your cat. Even if they’ve been vaccinated and altered by a shelter or rescue, a health check to establish care is always a good idea.
Your vet can discuss diet, vaccine schedules, parasite prevention, and basic care in more detail.
Are You Ready to Adopt a Cat?
Cats can be amazing companions and enrich your life. Hopefully, these tips will get you and your new cat off to the good start of a happy life.
If you would like to receive personalized expert advice on adopting and caring for a cat, you can book an appointment to speak with a veterinarian.