What should I put on my cat adoption checklist?

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While it is often tempting to spontaneously adopt a cat from a shelter, at an adoption event at a local pet supply store or even from the streets, it is vital to not make a rash decision. After all, this will be your pet for a long time, so choose wisely and with purpose. It is important to find the right adoption source, and match your new pet with your desires, expectations and home situation.

Here is a list of criteria to consider before adopting your next cat:

  • Do you want a specific breed of cat? Typically, shelter cats and kittens are domestic short hairs or domestic long hairs. If you are looking for a specific breed, but are flexible as to age or specific characteristics of the animal, you can check the various breed-specific rescue organizations. Rescue organizations take in and place lost, abused or unwanted animals of the specific breed which they serve. If you are interested in a show cat or show quality cat, a breeder may be your best choice for finding an elegant or award winning animal.
  • Do you want a kitten, young adult or an older cat? The appropriate age of your adopted cat can be a big decision. When making the age decision, you should consider:

– Your age

– The time you have to spend with the cat

– Your ability to not only cat-proof, but kitten-proof, your home

– The ages, needs and desires of other family members who will have daily contact with the animal, including other pets

– The amount of money you have to spend on initial and ongoing health care

  • Do you have access to the cat’s health and origin records? All breeders, and more often, shelters and rescues, will have some health and origin records about the animal. Health and origin records can tell you if the pet has or is at risk of having a contagious disease that might be costly to treat or put existing pets at risk. Additionally, you may want to consider opening your home to a special needs cat.
  • Does the cat look healthy? There are some very specific questions potential pet owners need to ask before adopting a cat that could pose a health risk to their home.

– Are the eyes, ears and anus clear, clean and free from discharge?

– If recently spayed or neutered, does the incision appear clean and infection free or is it red, bumpy or hot?

– Is the cat scratching its eyes, ears or other parts of his body?

-Does his fur smell good or neutral or is there an odor?

-Is he walking unimpeded, and able to pounce when offered a toy?

-Does the cat periodically groom itself?

-Does the cat respond to visual and aural stimulus?

  • Have you observed the cat’s temperament? You should take some time, over a period of several days if possible, to assess the cat’s personality. Is he happily interacting with other cats or hissing at them? Is he confident and friendly toward you or shy and withdrawn? Does he appear calm, playful or agitated? These are all important questions to have answered before going through with an adoption.

If you approach cat adoption as you would any major life or financial decision, you will be more likely to find the pet who matches your life, lifestyle and becomes your friend and companion for years to come.

Here are some places you can find Adoption Essentials:

[highlight]For Cats[/highlight]

[highlight]For Dogs[/highlight]




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