Adopting a cat from a local animal shelter or rescue organization is a most fulfilling experience. It is one of those standstill moments that remain etched in your memory forever. That pleading get-me-out-of-here face you can't resist. And the feel-good emotions you wear as you walk out of the door – after all, you just saved a life.
Let's face it; animal shelters aren't the most upbeat places in the world. When you leave, you wish you could take more animals with you.
Adopting a pet is most often consummated on emotion. Love at first sight. Your heart is ahead of your head, recognizing that shelter animals' time clocks tick for only a short time.
Be Aware of the Limitations
While you are saving a life when you adopt from a shelter, what you see is not necessarily what you get. In the case of kittens, you will probably not get to meet the parents – so you probably won't know anything about the kitten's genetic legacy. You will also know little or nothing about its early life experiences. What happened with his previous family? Why does he appear afraid? Why does he hide when small children are around?
When you acquire a purebred kitten, the chances are that you will be getting him from a breeder and he will be young. At least one of the parents should be nearby, so you can check that parent's temperament and condition. The cleanliness of the facility, the breeder's knowledge of the breed, the stage at which he is willing to let kittens go (it should never be before eight weeks of age), and the kitten's socialization skills should be tip-offs to the quality of the kennel.
Resources for obtaining information about the characteristics of certain breeds include: specific Internet sites, breed clubs, specialty publications, and authoritative books. It is as well to familiarize yourself with breed-specific medical, managemental, and issues of temperament before making to a decision. Look before you leap.