Do you . . .
If you answered yes to these questions, you could be a perfect cat owner. And now is the perfect time to become one. June is the American Humane's (AH) Adopt-A-Cat Month®. But before you add a loving feline to your family, consider the following questions:
What Kind Of Cat Do You Want?
There are about 35 cat breeds, plus all the wonderful mixes. This variety in cats gives you plenty of things to take into account when making your decision.
Other Family Members
Discuss the needs, concerns, fears and medical issues – namely allergies – of everyone in your household. Does everyone want to have a new cat? Is everyone looking forward to loving and caring for a new member of the family? Decide how much time each family member can spend with the animal and the responsibilities each will have.
Visit your local shelter first!
Throughout the spring and summer, animal shelters throughout the country are inundated with hundreds of homeless cats and dozens of litters of kittens. Tragically, about 71% of these animals will have to be put to sleep because there are not enough loving homes. For this reason, the American Humane Association recommends checking out your local shelter or breed placement group first. Along with benefitting from the lifelong gratitude and devotion of the cat whose life you saved, you'll also find that shelters provide the greatest number of options (long-haired or short-haired, kittens or older cats, purebreds or mixes), as well as assistance in choosing a cat who will fit in well with your family and lifestyle.
The Adoption Process
Once you've answered these questions and decided to take on the fun and love of cat ownership, be prepared to be screened yourself. If you adopt a cat from a shelter, adoption counselors will want to determine your commitment and ability to care for an animal. If you rent an apartment, you may be required to present a copy of your lease or other proof that your landlord accepts pets. Also be prepared to answer questions about your home and lifestyle and about your expectations and concerns about owning a pet. Keep in mind that adoption counselors are always impressed with people who have thought about what they want in a pet before being asked.
It's easy to lose your heart at an animal shelter. There are so many adorable animals vying for your attention that you may find yourself wanting to take them all home. Of course, all the animals deserve good homes. But how do you find that special companion animal that's the best fit?
Feline Temperament Testing
If the one that captures your heart is an older feline, here are a few suggestions from animal behaviorists on how to perform a temperament test in the shelter.
Another thing to keep in mind is that cats are very sensitive to the scent of other cats. Consider changing your shirt and washing your hands thoroughly before visiting with another cat.
Don't think you have to adopt an animal on your very first visit. This is a big commitment, so take your time. It may require many visits to find the right pet.
When you have decided to move ahead with the adoption process, it's time to prepare your home for kitty's arrival. You will need:
If you already have a cat and will be introducing a new one to your household, be sure you have a room to put your new cat in. You will need to separate the cats for about a week to ensure no illnesses are passed between them and to give them time to get to know each other.
Keeping Your New Friend Safe
Once home, it's important to protect your kitten or cat in her new environment and to safeguard your belongings.
In the kitchen and bathroom:
In the living or family room:
In the garage:
Adding a cat to your life is not only enriching, but also entertaining. Consider adopting a cat in the month of June and welcome a furry, feisty friend into your family.
About American Humane
Founded in 1877, the American Humane Association is the nation's only organization dedicated to protecting both children and animals. Through a network of child and animal welfare and protection agencies and individuals, American Humane develops policies, legislation, curriculum, and trainings to protect children and animals from abuse, neglect, and exploitation. The nonprofit membership organization, headquartered in Denver, raises awareness about The Link® between animal abuse and other forms of violence, as well as the benefits derived from the human and animal bond. American Humane's regional office in Los Angeles is the authority behind the "No Animals Were Harmed…"® End Credit Disclaimer on TV and film productions, and American Humane's office in Washington, DC, is an advocate for child- and animal-friendly legislation at the state and federal levels. Visit www.americanhumane.org to learn more.