Maybe you’re a seasoned pet owner who is looking to bring home another furry feline friend. Perhaps you’re a first-time pet parent who is looking in to getting a cat. Whatever your situation, bringing home a feline companion can be very rewarding. Pets can help reduce stress levels and provide companionship. Cats can be easier to care for then their canine counterparts because they don’t require outdoor bathroom breaks. Once you have decided to get a cat or kitten of your own, there are several things to consider.
Will you adopt or purchase your cat? Local shelters are full of kittens and cats that need a forever home. Some are owner surrenders and some were brought in as stray. There are cats of all ages and personalities from which to choose. You may wish to contact your local shelter or visit their website to see adoptable cats in your area. It is also good to meet the cats face-to-face to see if your personalities mesh well. If you choose to purchase a purebred cat, make sure you research the breed characteristics and personalities. You may look to your local cat fancier’s association to see reputable breeders near you. Make sure you schedule a visit with the breeder to see how the cats are living and to make sure the cats are healthy.
Cat or kitten? Kittens are high energy and can seem to get into everything. For a family with kids, a kitten that reciprocates the energy level of a child can be a perfect fit and the kitten and kids can form a bond over the years. For a lower energy household, you may wish to adopt an adult cat who is already litter box trained and is happy to spend the evenings in the warm lap of their humans.
Where will the cat (and its belongings) be staying? Cats typically need a quiet place to get away from noise and stress. A quiet bedroom with the door closed can be a nice retreat for kitty if there are other pets or vacuum cleaners running in the house. Kitty’s litter box needs to be in an accessible place so kitty will not be afraid to use it. If there is a dog in the house, keep the dog away from the litter box if possible to avoid coprophagy. Place food and water bowls away from other pets so the other resident dog/cat don’t steal kitty’s food after they finish eating their own food. If there is a place in the house where kitty is not allowed, make sure to keep doors closed. Make sure kitty has plenty of toys and an appropriate place to scratch so that your carpeting or furniture doesn’t become the scratching post of choice.
Is the home “cat-proofed”? Be sure to put away any chemicals or cleaning supplies so kitty can’t reach them. If you have a display shelf full of fine china, you may want to put it away or close it off with cabinet doors so that kitty doesn’t push the fragile items off the shelf. Wrap any dental floss with tissue before throwing it away so kitty doesn’t try to play with it or eat it. Any dangling strings or electric cords should be corralled if possible so not to entice kitty’s desire to play. If you happen to have any small pets like birds, reptiles, or rodents, make sure there is a securely-fastened enclosure with lid to keep kitty’s prey drive from kicking into overdrive.
Who is responsible for kitty? (Everyday or if you’re going out of town) Kitty needs a caretaker to feed, water, clean litter box, and play every day. If children in the home are older and can handle more responsibility, have the kids take care of feeding (making sure to feed the appropriate amount), watering, and cleaning up after kitty. If kids are younger, they may care for kitty under more close supervision. If you’re out of town, consider a pet sitter or having a neighbor stop by to take care of the cat. Make sure directions are left for the caretaker–location of food, litter boxes and supplies, feeding amount and frequency, and location of water bowls (if more than one in the house). Also leave information for kitty’s veterinarian just in case of an emergency.
Once you consider all that goes in to cat ownership, you will be able to address the necessary aspects and begin preparing for bringing home a new cat. When kitty comes home, there will be a safe and comforting environment for kitty to enjoy with their new pet parent and years of blissful companionship to come.