There is nothing quite like a cat. Not only do they offer love and companionship – they’re also amazingly entertaining!
Shelters are full of wonderful cats just waiting for someone to love. If you’ve been thinking about giving a fur-ever home to one of these felines, you no doubt realize that it’s a big decision. With so many cats out there in need of homes, how can you pick the one that will be right for you?
Questions to Ask Before You Visit the Shelter
Choosing the purr-fect cat involves a lot more than walking in to the nearest shelter and coming home with the first cat that catches your eye. If you and your new cat are really going to make each other happy for life, you need to make a few decisions before you start the adoption process.
What kind of personality are you looking for?
No two cats are exactly alike. They all have their funny quirks and unique personalities. And some people and cats are just much more suited for each other than others. Before you visit the shelter, decide what it is that you are really looking for in your new cat.
Are you looking for a lap cat, or one who is content simply being in the room with you while he does his own thing? Would a “chatty” cat tickle your fancy or grate on your nerves? Is your family more suited for an active kitty, or one who spends the majority of his time cat-napping? Are you ok with a loner, or do you need a cat that will get along with children or other animals?
Do you want a cat or a kitten?
There’s no doubt about it: kittens are adorable. But they are also energetic, curious, and mischievous. Kittens require much more time, attention, and training than older cats. They also may not be the best choice for a family with young children. Understandably, kids are fascinated by kittens, but they may not have the skills to handle them without risk of hurting them or getting hurt themselves.
Adopting a kitten is also a little less predictable in terms of the kind of cat you eventually end up with. You never know exactly what they are going to be like once they outgrow their little kitten personalities. If you have a very strong preference for a certain temperament, you may want to consider an older cat.
Do you prefer short or long fur?
This is much more than deciding whether you like sleek or fluffy kitties. Cats with long fur need regular grooming sessions or they become matted. If you envision yourself spending evenings curled up on the couch with your cat and a brush, then go ahead and bring home that gorgeous long-haired beauty. If you don’t have the time to devote to keeping a kitty’s fur brushed, a sleek short-haired cat is the choice for you.
What to Do at the Shelter
Once you’ve narrowed down your options, it’s time to visit your local shelter to find your new furry family member. Remember to look beyond appearance and try to really see the kitty inside. Here are a few tips for a successful shelter visit:
- When you arrive, take a quick walk through the cat room without stopping to visit any particular cat. Take note of how the cats react to you as you walk by. Do any seem especially interested in meeting you? These are probably the ones you want to learn more about.
- Next, go back and spend some time with the ones who caught your attention. Don’t expect them to immediately climb into your lap and relax — they may need a few minutes to warm up to you.
- Pet and pick them up to see how they react. A cat who bites or swats after being handled for a short time isn’t a good choice for families with kids or anyone who is looking for a cuddly lap cat.
- If you have children, make sure you get a chance to see them interact with any cats you are considering. Either bring them along on the initial visit or once you’ve narrowed your choices down to one or two kitties. A good “kid cat” will be patient and interested in them and will move away without attacking once he’s had enough.
- Ask lots of questions. The staff at the shelter have spent lots of time caring for the kitties you are visiting and can answer any questions you may have about their personalities, as well as medical issues such as vaccinations and spaying or neutering.
National Cat Day
Every year, October 29 is National Cat Day, making it a great time give your cat a little extra love or to rescue a kitty in need of a home. Just make sure before you adopt that you’re really ready for the commitment of caring for a cat.
Once you’ve spent some time at the shelter and have brought your new family member to his fur-ever home, you may look back on the experience and realize that you didn’t really choose him — he chose you!
You’ll want to do all you can to keep your purr-fect kitty happy and healthy. Follow my “Cat Health” board on Pinterest for some great tips!