Acquired: Rescue / shelter organization
Posted Oct 30, 2013
There are many, many cats in shelters that need homes. A shelter is where I got my first cat and I still have her 6 years later. I have rescued a male cat from a shelter as well that now belongs to a friend who fell in love with him. If you are thinking of getting a cat, there are many things to consider. First, adult cat or kitten? I chose a 4 year old adult cat. I did not want to have to train a small kitten at that time. Adult cats already know how to use the litter box and are much calmer than a kitten. Kittens are fragile, inquisitive, and full of energy. They will want to play with everything and climb everything. You will need to kitten proof any areas your kitten will be. Also, kittens, especially those from shelters, may have kitten diseases that could kill them early on in life. You must take them to a vet to have them thoroughly tested and checked for diseases. I have had kittens die at 1 year and his sister die at 3 years from a kitten disease. It was extremely heartbreaking. I found these 2 kittens in a parking lot at 4 weeks old, dying and emaciated. I helped nurse them back to health after a life saving visit to the emergency vet. Still, they did not live long lives. Many mother cats pass diseases onto their kittens. You must be prepared for this. This isn’t to say do not adopt a kitten. It is alerting you of what problems could arise. Many adopted kittens can and do live long, healthy lives, especially with proper health care.
Second, male or female? This is personal preference. I have noticed female cats are much cleaner, calmer, and more independent than males. Males are more affectionate, playful, and messy. However, each cat has its own personality. Some may be more aloof, others more demanding of attention. Some may be shy and some outgoing. If you spend a little time alone with one before you get it, you can probably get some indication of what its personality will be like. It is important to know not all cats are independent and low maintenance. Some people have this misconception and think their cat will be fine being alone all the time. Not true.. I have a cat who cries at the door if it is shut and he isn’t around any people.
Third, consider your home life. If you live in an apartment, a cat may be the right pet for you. This is because cats do not need yards to roam around in, they can be content inside with toys and things to climb. Cats love cat condos. These are great investments for your cat. However, cats can scratch at the floor carpet or your furniture. If this will bother you, maybe a cat isn’t the right pet for you. They do make sprays that repel cats from scratching furniture. I have never used them personally. Some people may choose to declaw their cat, but this is a bad idea because if they are outside they have no way to climb or defend. Next, do you have other pets? You will have to introduce them to the cat. It may take time for the animals to adjust to each other. Also, consider allergies. Many people are allergic to cats. Do you travel? Keep in mind it is more difficult to travel with a cat than a dog. Many hotels do not allow cats for fear they will damage something. You may have to kennel the cat at a vet or pet hotel while you are away.
Fourth, be prepared for expenses. Especially with a kitten, you will spend a lot on vaccinations, tests, and exams. All cats need to see the vet annually, and if they are sick, they will need to see the vet of course. You will always need to have litter, and clean it daily.
Cats can live up to 15+years, so make sure you can make this commitment. If you want a shorter commitment, consider adopting an older cat. I highly recommend adoption because there are so many different types of cats in shelters, you are bound to find one that you like there. Always be sure to spay and neuter if they aren’t already! Not only will it help the overpopulation of cats, but it is healthier for the animal.
Overall I would highly recommend having a cat for a pet if you have considered everything. If you want a cuddly, loving companion that you do not have to take outside to use the bathroom or for walks, get a cat!