Have you been thinking about getting a pet lately? Starting off the new year with a new furry companion? Well, that’s a great idea! Having a pet around is good for you. It can make you happier and healthier. It can make you feel more relaxed. If you are thinking about getting a cat, and need a little encouragement, you have come to the right place. Following are a few tips to help make adopting a cat a positive, life-changing experience!
First of all, if you are getting a cat, the best place to go is your local no-kill animal shelter or humane society. They have a wonderful assortment of cats, and usually charge a nominal fee, in the vicinity of $75 to $100 for adoption. Generally, this fee means that they have been spayed or neutered, have been de-wormed, and have been tested for Feline Leukemia and/or Feline HIV. They have probably also had their first round of shots. Policies vary from shelter to shelter, though, so after adoption, be sure to bring your pet’s medical records to your veterinarian, so they can go over it to make sure your pet is properly vaccinated.
At the shelter, you will be able to select from cats and kittens. My personal suggestion is to try a full grown cat, or even a senior cat. These older pets have a lot of love to give, and they already have their personality in place. No surprises! They will likely already be litter trained, and will know how to act around people, without having to start from “scratch” (ha ha, pun intended), like kittens. If you see a cat you like, that warms to you, spend some time with him. Get him out of his cage and down on the floor, and see how the two of you interact with one another. Play with him, rub him, and spend as much time with him as possible, until you find the right one. Believe me, you’ll know when you have the right one. Cats often pick their owners, rather than us picking them.
Now, you’ll take your cat home. Often, the shelter will supply you with a cardboard box cat carrier, free of charge. This is nice for one-time use, but you may want to buy a plastic cat carrier in advance. You can put a towel in the bottom of it, and you are all set! This is a great way to transport your cat, and keep your cat in one place while traveling in the car. It is not a good idea to let your cat roam free in the car while driving. When they are in their carrier, they feel more secure, and they do not become a driving hazzard to you.
Once you get your cat home, you will want to set things up for him. Find a nice, private area to place a litter box, and fill it with unscented clumping cat litter. This works great to fight odors, and your cat does not need the extra scents of scented litter. There are also some great new litters out on the market today that cost a little more, that are made from different products like recycled paper, pine, and ground corn. I am using the ground corn now for the first time, and so far, I like it, because it is nearly 100% dust free. That is a big plus!
You’ll want to set up a food area for your cat, preferably a nice distance away from the litter pan. A fresh bowl of water is a must. Then, a bowl of high quality dry cat food to munch on at his leisure. Some people feed their cats at certain times of the day. This is great if you can stick to that schedule. I can’t, so I leave food out for my cats. This is a good system and has always worked well for myself and my cats. A beautiful thing about cats is that they pace themselves on eating.
The final and most important thing, now, is to bond with your cat. Set up a quiet kitty bed, or napping spot for him to call his own. Sit with him, rub him, brush him gently, and talk to him sweetly. Put a soft blanket on your lap and place him on there. He is sure to find that nice and cozy. The rest will come naturally.
Having a cat as a pet is a wonderful experience that will greatly improve your life. It is a fabulous way to start the new year. You will thank yourself as the years go by, for adopting your furry companion, and he will thank you with his love and soft, sweet purrs.