A Animal Shelter That Does Not Put Dogs To Rest Before Getting a New Kitten or Cat

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Before Getting a New Kitten or Cat

Before you get a new kitten or cat, one of the things you should ask yourself is: Can I properly care for a cat and provide a stable and safe home for its life, which is usually around 15-20 years? Many statistics show that up to 50 percent of all cats change owners at least once in their lives. This is a terrible and alarming statistic.

Can I afford a cat?

The initial purchase price (or adoption fee) of a cat is not the most expensive cost as there will be many other costs over the life of the cat. These costs include food, litter pans, litter, toys, scratching posts and/or cat trees, and veterinary care. Veterinary care (not counting any catastrophic health problems) will cost about $100 – $300 per year. Preventative and consistent care is essential to the overall health of any cat. If an owner can’t afford veterinary care, it’s probably a good idea not to get a cat. Additionally, depending on where an owner lives, there will be a one-time fee of $70 to $500 for the cost of spaying or neutering the cat. Even if the cat is just an indoor cat, it is recommended that it has all of its vaccinations, including rabies (rabies vaccination is legally required in many cities and/or states for cats and dogs), and depending on where you live, there may be other medications that are strongly recommended by the vet on an annual basis (such as a heartworm preventative). Many people believe that because their cat is a domestic cat, it does not need a rabies vaccine. However, consider what would happen to you and/or your cat if it bit someone while in your home? First of all, the authorities will most likely remove the cat from your home and quarantine it for a period of time (at your expense for boarding and care); if by chance your cat shows signs of rabies it will be destroyed. It is highly recommended that a prospective owner check with their veterinarian to find out what vaccinations are required by law.

What breed of cat?

All kittens are cute and most people fall in love with a cat or kitten because of its looks (the cuddle factor). Some people prefer a pedigree cat because of certain breed characteristics, while others prefer a mixed breed cat. If you want a pedigree cat, the breed characteristics of that breed should be carefully considered. For example: how much care will the cat require, how much will it shed, how playful or active is the breed, how big will the cat get? Are you looking for a cat that gets along well with young children or the elderly? Need a cat that gets along with your dog? Do you want a cat that is calm and loves to pet and will sleep with you at night? These are just some of the things to consider before bringing a cat home.

Should you get a kitten or an adult cat?

Many people, when considering whether or not to get a cat, will only consider getting a kitten. Here are some reasons why an adult cat may be desirable:

  • An adult cat has already developed its own personality, so you’ll know exactly what you’re getting;
  • An adult cat is already litter trained;
  • An adult cat should only need annual examinations and vaccinations (instead of the series of vaccinations that a kitten will require in the first 6 months);
  • An adult cat has already passed its “adolescent” stage;
  • An adult cat can “bond” with a new owner just as well as a kitten.

Where to get a cat?

Animal Shelters – While many shelters are no-kill, most are not. Adopting a cat or kitten from an animal shelter can save it from dying. Typically, you should look for a cat that looks clean, healthy, with a shiny coat and clear eyes. Ask to visit with the kitten or cat in a private area to see how it will interact with you. How friendly is it? If the kitten or cat seems lethargic, it may be best to look at another as this one may be sick. Ask the cat or kitten’s current guardians for any information they may have about it. Ask why the cat was surrendered to the shelter. Keep in mind that many people don’t always tell the truth to shelter staff when they surrender their pet. Thus, sometimes the shelter may not be aware that this cat or kitten may have unwanted behavioral traits (eg, not using its litter box) or have some type of major health concern that may expect a very high veterinary bill soon. Many shelters will have spayed or neutered the cat or kitten before going to a new home. If not, they will generally require you to do so within a certain period of time. Do not overestimate adult cats.

Responsible breeders – If you are looking for a purebred/pedigree cat or kitten, it is best to find a responsible breeder. To find such a person:

  • Visit a local cat show, which is a great way to see different breeds of cats, meet breeders and ask questions.
  • The Cat Fanciers Association (“CFA”) has an online directory of breeders that can be searched by breed, location and other search options. (Please note: CFA does not endorse or recommend any particular breeder or animal on the list.)
  • Nowadays, there are many show breeders, as well as hobby breeders, that have websites. To find a breeder in a specific area online, use a search engine (eg yahoo, Google, etc.) and type in the specific breed of cat and the state you live in to get results for breeders in the state or location your special. Some breeders advertise in Cat Fancy or other such publications.

Responsible breeders will (at a minimum) have a written health/genetics guarantee, provide a starter kit that goes home with the kitten or cat (containing type of food eaten, feeding instructions, breed information) , have some provision for (or had already performed) the spaying/neutering of the kitten or cat, provide documentation of origin, pedigree and vaccination records. When interviewing a breeder, listen to your intuition; if something feels “off” about a breeder, DO NOT get one of their kittens. If this happens, it is recommended that you look for and interview another breeder. Remember, a responsible breeder will want to interview you and get to know you as a potential owner as much as you want to interview them.

Pet stores – A responsible breeder would not allow their kittens to be sold to a pet store or other resale outlet where they could not personally interview the buyer to make sure they are aware of the responsibility of caring for a animal. Most responsible breeders belong to breed clubs and sign a breeders code of ethics that prohibits them from selling to retail outlets (pet shops). More often than not, puppies and kittens for sale in a retail store are from commercial, “puppy” mill type operations. Some stores (eg Petco, etc.) have cats available for adoption through a local animal shelter, but are not actively involved in reselling cats and dogs. If you take a pet to the shelter through this type of adoption process, make sure the adoption procedures match that shelter’s normal adoption process.

Private Resources – Sometimes, if an owner can no longer keep their adult cat, they can place an ad through a local newspaper, grocery store bulletin board, or vet’s office. As long as you can meet the person, observe the cat in its home environment, and make sure the cat is healthy, there is no reason not to adopt a cat this way. If it’s a kitten, make sure it’s at least 12 weeks old, properly trained, has age-appropriate shots/worms and looks healthy. (Caution: responsible breeders will not advertise in this manner nor use Craigslist or similar).

Getting a cat is a lifelong commitment of not only the owner’s time, but also their money to keep them in proper food, toys and health. If the ongoing cost of owning a cat is beyond its initial cost (ie, vet, vaccinations, spay/neuter cost, unforeseen health issues/expenses, and more), then it’s probably not time to get a pet domestic.

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