June is Adopt-A-Cat Month, in part because it marks the height of “kitten season,” when large litters of kittens are born and often end up in animal shelters. While many of the kittens at the Sumter County Animal Shelter are not yet adoptable because of their age and need for medical care and services, there are still plenty of cats that would love to get that purrfect home. Sweet cats such as Tinkerbell, Tumble, Momma and Whiskers are looking for good homes.
Thinking of adopting a cat? Here are some helpful tips.
If you’re thinking about adopting a cat, consider taking home two. Cats require exercise, mental stimulation and social interaction. Two cats can provide this for each other. In addition, they’ll provide benefits to you. Cats’ purring has been shown to soothe humans as well as themselves. However, if you already have a cat or just want one, adopting one cat is no problem.
Find a cat whose personality meshes with yours. Just as we each have our own personality, so do cats. In general, cats with long hair and round heads and bodies are more easygoing than lean cats with narrow heads and short hair, who are typically more active.
Pick out a veterinarian ahead of time and schedule a visit within the first few days following the adoption. You’ll want to take any medical records Animal Services provides you on your first visit.
Make sure everyone in the house is prepared to have a cat before it comes home. It’s always best to adopt a pet as a family. When adopting a new cat with existing pets at home, discuss with your vet or Animal Services how to make a proper introduction.
Budget for the short- and long-term costs of a cat. Understand any pet is a responsibility and there’s a cost associated with that. A cat adopted from a shelter is a bargain.
Stock up on supplies before the cat arrives. Be prepared so your new cat can start feeling at home right away. Your cat will need a litter box, cat litter, food and water bowls, food, scratching posts, safe and stimulating toys, a cushy bed, a brush for grooming, a toothbrush and nail clippers.
Cat-proof your home. A new cat will quickly teach you not to leave things lying out. Food left on the kitchen counter will serve to teach your new friend to jump on counters for a possible lunch. Get rid of loose items your cat might chew on, watch to ensure the cat isn’t chewing on electric cords, and pick up random items.
Go slowly when introducing your cat to new friends and family. It can take several weeks for a cat to relax in a new environment. It’s a great idea to keep the new addition secluded to a single room (with a litter box, food and water, toys, and the cat carrier left out and open with bedding inside) until the cat is used to the new surroundings; this is particularly important if you have other pets. If you’ve adopted a kitten, socialization is very important. But, remember – take it slow.
Be sure to include your new pet in your family’s emergency plan. You probably have a plan in place for getting your family to safety in case of an emergency. Adjust this plan to include your pets. Add phone numbers for your veterinarian and closest 24-hour animal hospital to your emergency call list.
It’s also best to keep your new cat indoors. Newer cats are often unfamiliar and uncomfortable at a new home and may wander off. While it’s always best to keep a cat indoors, this is especially true until your family and the cat have bonded, so the cat knows your home is his or her home, too. Plus, it’s also safer and healthier for your cat to be indoors.