This weekend my husband and I went to a local no-kill cat shelter. You would have thought we were adopting a baby. I can certainly understand why they do this. It’s because too many people think they want a kitten and then find out…oh, my goodness, I wasn’t prepared for that. And then they return the kitten. Here are some things for you to consider BEFORE you go pick up that lovable fuzz ball of a TERROR…
* What is your personal history with pet ownership? Did you have gold fish or cats/dogs growing up? Do you really LIKE animals that much? Continue on…
* Have you discussed the adoption with others in your family? It helps for all to be on board with this because you’ll eventually need their help in taking good care of your pet. Pet sitting, vet visits, cleaning out the litter box…
* Is anyone in your house allergic to cats? You say, oh, don’t worry. Just take an antihistamine. Sorry. It doesn’t work that way. I’m allergic to cats but have three. But I can have them only because I am on allergy injections as well as a steroid inhaler for asthma. So, just taking an antihistamine won’t cut it. But I’m also allergic to trees, grasses, molds, mildews, dogs and horses :((
* How much time will you have with your pet? Even cats get lonely. I used to have a Siamese that I left alone over a two night period returning late on the third day. I noticed that his front claws were chewed up. I took him to the vet and he chastised me because he said that by leaving him alone so much he was having anxiety attacks. We got a companion cat. Also, if you’re able or someone in your family can, pay close attention to your cat’s behavior. We found our Maine Coon laying in his litter box. That is not a good sign from a cat. We immediately took him to the vet and he had a blocked urethra. If we had not noticed his behavior, it would have killed him. Also, do you have time to clean their litter box? Cats are fastidious. They like a clean box. If you’re not keeping it clean then you may find they are doing their business elsewhere which you will not appreciate. Trust me…
* Don’t let your children harangue you into getting a kitten. They will always promise they will take care of it. A cat is a lot easier to keep than a dog but kids can be fickle. I hate to tell the sad story of a friend of mine whose children talked them into getting a rabbit. The kids were to feed it. Both of the parents worked. The rabbit was outside in a pen. The kids didn’t feed it and it starved to death.
* Can you financially afford a kitten? Even when getting a pet from a shelter, you’re paying for spaying and shots. We spent $125 on our new shelter kitty. You’ll need food, toys, litter and litter boxes and there will be future vet bills. Can you afford it?
* Do you have a contingency plan in place for someone to take your pet if anything does happen to you? Shelters are full of pets that relatives didn’t want to take after someone died or because of divorce, accident or illness.
* Can your furniture withstand the coming tornado? Because most shelters today frown, I mean FROWN on declawing. Don’t declaw your cat if there are dogs in the house, particularly big dogs. There will be no way for it to protect itself. If you do declaw, DON’T LET IT OUTSIDE! There are feral cats, dogs, coyotes, hawks. Yes, a hawk can grab a kitten and it’s gone. I had this happen to a friend of mine. Awful. I recommend not letting it outside at all. There are feral cats with feline leukemia, rabies, cars, bad kids, getting caught in who knows what kind of webbing. Your new kitten is going to be one moving ball of energy. Mine is already bouncing, literally, off of the walls. Keep this in mind. Kittens want to climb…chairs, drapes, pant legs etc. Their little claws are like razors. I keep my cats’ claws trimmed (easy to learn) and you will need to learn to teach your little one how to use a scratch pad or tree instead of that Louis the 14th chair you treasure. Get a cat “tree”. They also will eat just about anything so you will need to find a list of plants that are poisonous to cats and remove any from your little darling’s grappling hooks.
* I know. I know. If a kitten can be so much trouble why consider two? Well, they will keep each other occupied and will have those snuggling opportunities to give you the opportunity to do your thing. The shelter we went to will not even consider giving one kitten to a family UNLESS there are other animals in the house. Otherwise, two or nada. Hey, it’s like twins. You got one so how hard can a second be?
* Yes, they shed…duh, cat “hair”? I’m a walking hairball. Don’t wear black. They also render up these very short as well as long hairballs. Get used to it…
* They will have accidents. It will take a while for your kitty to get to know where their new bathroom is. Make many trips with them to rub their feet in the litter. Make the litter box very accessible. Don’t frighten your kitty around the litter box. Your cat will love his litter box if he/she feels safe there.
* And finally, if you do have a house with cats in it, introducing your new kitten to the house properly is important. You’ll need a “safe” room for your new kitten. See below for instructions on introducing a kitten/cat into your cat’s home. And trust me on this it is your cat’s home…not yours.
Here are some links that will save you some time: