Guide to Adopting: Cats

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Congratulations! You’re about to become a new cat parent. Few things are as rewarding as adopting and caring for a kitty. But a cat’s personality can run the gamut from a fuzzy fur-ball who wants to sit in your lap 24-7 to one who prefers to be admired from a distance. Here’s a quick guide to finding the perfect cat for you.

  1. Finding the right personality. Cats can have such different personalities that sometimes it’s hard to believe they are the same species. Some cats are cuddly and allow people to pet and hold them. Other cats like to be petted only on their own terms. Some cats are calm and spend most of their time napping. Other cats will race around the house all day, looking for bugs and adventure. Some cats are very vocal and meow frequently, while others tend to be quiet. If you’ve always imagined snuggling with your cat, be intentional about adopting a cat that seems cuddly from the get go.
  1. Decide whether you want a kitten or an adult cat. Like puppies, kittens can be a lot of work. While most kittens learn how to use a litterbox without too much trouble, they require serious supervision and patience. Kittens will get into everything they can get their paws on. You need to keep a close eye on them to keep them safe. Also, it’s important to know that a kitten’s personality can change a lot as he grows up. When you adopt an adult cat, there usually aren’t any surprises. A cuddly, playful adult cat will probably stay that way.
  1. Think about who else lives in your house. Young children don’t understand how to properly pet a cat and tend to grab their ears or tails. Children also might not understand that some cats don’t like being hugged. If you have young children, you’ll need to monitor their time with the cat. Also, some dogs may not tolerate a new cat moving into their home.
  1. How much fur can you handle? Long-haired cats are beautiful but they need to be brushed regularly to prevent matting and hairballs. The issue isn’t so much the brushing itself, since a few minutes a day is fine. But some cats hate being brushed so you’ll need to teach them to endure their daily brushing. If you can’t brush them and their coat gets matted, they might need to be shaved by a professional groomer.
  1. What’s your lifestyle like? Independent cats who entertain themselves are great options for people who work long hours. They don’t need to be let out to use the bathroom. However, all cats require daily care. They need fresh food and water, and even cats who don’t love being petted still need companionship and play.
  1. Are you prepared to modify your home? Cats love plants and flowers. But some plants and flowers don’t love them back. Many plants and flowers can be lethally toxic to cats. When you bring home a new cat, whether he’s playful and adventurous or a couch potato, you have to be prepared to remove anything that could hurt him. And remember, unlike dogs, cats can climb high and jump almost anywhere.
  1. Rely on the experts. Most animal shelters have adoption coordinators or other people trained to help you find the right match and adopt the perfect cat. Use this free service!
  1. Adopt or Rescue! Always adopt or rescue, never buy. People tend to get cats from more sources than dogs. Many people still get cats through word of mouth or even off the street. But as long as you aren’t buying a cat, it’s all good

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