Adoption is a big deal. It’s a commitment to offer your love, your personal space, your time, and your daily attention, for life. It’s a willingness to become educated about the latest dog and cat research because most of what we understood as truths when we had pets as kids are now debunked old wives tales and myths. Offering up your home as a forever home is a decision you shouldn’t take lightly. It requires a budget for regular vet visits, an investment in training, and a willingness to invest in a nutritionally sound diet (because not all dog and cat foods are created equal). Most of all, it means carving out the time to understand and meet the specific needs of your new fur-baby, whether because of their breed, their personality, their life experiences, or their preferences.
Sound overwhelming? It doesn’t have to be. If you see guardianship as a responsibility, and you want to give a dog or cat a loving home (which is more than the impulse to have something fuzzy and cute to cuddle and play with), then you are far ahead of the average adoptive parent. For many, the toughest part is deciding which animal has the makings for the best companion. It’s hard to know what their personality will be like and whether they’ll really fit in with your family when you only get to see them in a holding and maybe play for a bit. Here are some of the top tips we should all consider when choosing to add a new cat- or -canine companion to our homes and families.
What to do when adopting a cat:
- We should know what age cat we want. Do we want a kitten, an adult, or are we willing to bring home a senior cat? Many people are all about kittens because they’re cute, but the choice should really revolve around the best choice for our lifestyle and household. A kitten will be higher energy and will have different needs, such as lot’s of daily time set aside for play and keeping them engaged. An adult or senior cat will still need mental stimulation but will require less attention and time. For those of us with a full-time working household, it’s recommended that we pass on kittens. We don’t have the lifestyle necessary to provide a kitten with all the full-time nurturing and attention a kitten needs.
- Short or long hair, purebred or mixed breed? Fewer than 10% of the worlds cats are purebred, but we find a little bit of everything in shelters. However, length of hair can play a role in how much and the type of grooming that will be necessary. The longer the hair, the more work grooming will be.
- We should observe and pay attention to behavior and personality. Cat’s that are excessive-anything should only be adopted by experienced cat guardians. Excessively shy, demanding, or aggressive, are not for novice adoptions. Cats should be fairly calm and mellow, purr when held, and somewhat playful, if they are going to a home where there are inexperienced cat guardians, children, or other fur-babies.
What not to do when adopting a cat:
- We should not adopt on a whim or because the cat is cute. While we should always pay attention to cats that draw our attention, we shouldn’t forget that our lifestyle and household can only fulfill some needs for most cats. It’s more about finding the right match. If there’s more than one person in the household, bring them to the shelter so everyone can agree on the best new household companion.
- We should not let our new kitty run free throughout the house for the first few days. Joining a new home can be overwhelming for people and for paws. We need to consider limiting kitty to one room or one floor for the first few days. We can let them spread their territory as they get used to their surroundings and build their routines.
- We should not adopt a cat without having a house that cat-friendly and ready for kitty. They need a safe zone away from kids and other pets, a bed, scratching post, at least one little box, but two is better, toys, and pet pantry staples like food, first aid, and supplements. Making sure these are ready to go mean we don’t need to leave kitty alone while we go shopping. And we don’t have to worry about the first day for kitty being hectic while we carry him or her around a loud, scary store.
At Vet Organics, we carry supplements that are important for cat- and canine- health. EcoAllergy, EcoImmune, and EcoDigestive offer added protection that’s especially important during the adoption process, which can be especially stressful for cats, which lowers their immune system or make it difficult for them to digest their food. Pet Pantry and first aid items many people forget about are solutions like EcoEars and the EcoSpot formula. Infections and irritation can be a normal part of life for many cats. Keeping all-natural solutions that really work, on-hand at all times can provide fast relief.
Adoption is a beautiful way to share our lives with someone special. And while guardianship carries heavy responsibilities, it is also one of the more rewarding experiences of many people’s lives.
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