But choosing which cat to adopt can be a tricky matter! After all, there are so many cats to choose from, all with varying backgrounds, breeds, pedigrees, ages, and temperaments.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to adopt your first cat:
Decide on the age of cat you want
Although kittens are cute, they are still developing and it’s hard to know what kind of personality they will have once full grown. Not to mention kittens are very high energy and require a lot of supervision. If you do have your heart set on a kitten, keep in mind they need to stay with their mother until they are at least 12-15 weeks old.
Older cats are far more predictable as they have already matured and their personalities are apparent. They are fewer “start-up” costs with older cats as they will have already been neutered/spayed and be up to date on their vaccinations. They are also most grateful to be saved from the shelter!
Evaluate demeanor, not appearance
Cats are like people and all have unique personalities that will either blend or clash with yours. Don’t choose a cat just because they’re pretty or cute. They need to fit in with your lifestyle.
For example, if you just want a cat around to keep you company, but looking for a low maintenance cat who doesn’t need attention all the time, then that beautiful but aloof Siamese might be a good fit.
But if you are looking for an affectionate, friendly companion? Not so much.
Also consider the environment your cat will be living in. If they are skittish or shy, a home with small children with lots of household activity and noise will not be a good fit for them.
On the flip side, if your house is very quiet, a highly energetic and athletic cat could become bored and anxious if you aren’t prepared to keep them stimulated.
Although the staff at the animal shelter can likely tell you a bit about each cat’s personality, you should arrange for some one-on-one time with the cats you’re interested in to get a taste of the their personality first hand.
Consider adopting two cats!
Although often considered independent creatures, cats need socialization too.
There are some wonderful benefits to adopting two cats at a time. If the two cats are siblings or were already socialized with each other at the animal shelter, adopting them together can make the transition to their new home easier for them.
If you’re not home a lot, your two cats can keep each other company which will prevent them from getting anxious and misbehaving. They’ll groom each other and keep each other entertained.
Having two cats doesn’t cost much more than having one either, so all the more reason to save two lives for (close to) the price of one!
Prepare Your home
You may need to do some “cat-proofing” before bringing your new feline friend home. Keep plants and breakables out of reach, and take measures to protect your furniture from your cat’s claws. A scratching post is a must!
It’s a good idea to create a space specifically for your cat where they can retreat to when they want to be alone.
Invest in a few choice pieces of cat furniture to make your new pet feel comfortable. You can choose some beautiful pieces from this handy cat lover gift guide which has a number of stylish beds, feeding bowls, and cat toys...and perhaps snag one of those hilarious cat shirts too, you are a pet-parent now, after all!
Plan for an adjustment period
Your cat’s demeanor may change as soon as you bring them home. Even if they were sociable and friendly at the shelter, they may go into hiding as soon as you let them out of the cat carrier. Most cat’s don’t do well with new environments so they will want to remain hidden until they start feeling more comfortable in their new home.
This is totally normal, and you can expect this phase to last up to two or three weeks.
During this time, let your cat be and just let them come out and visit when they feel like it. As they grow more confident, you will start seeing that winning personality you fell for when you met them at the shelter!
This blog post was written by our friends at Tuft and Paw You can find out more about them here https://www.tuftandpaw.com/