Consider more than one cat. Cats require exercise, mental stimulation and social interaction. Two cats can provide this for each other.
Find a cat whose personality meshes with yours. In general, cats with round heads and bodies are more easygoing than lean cats with narrow heads and short hair who are typically more active.
Schedule a veterinary visit within the first few days after the adoption. Make sure to bring along any medical records you received from the adoption center. Getting your new kitty to your veterinarian early will help make sure there are no underlying illnesses or injuries and allow you to develop a plan to help your new pet live the happiest, healthiest, longest life possible.
Make sure everyone in the house is prepared for a new cat. Visiting the shelter or animal control facility should be a family affair. When adopting a new cat to join your existing pets, discuss with the adoption facility or your veterinarian how best to introduce everyone.
Budget for both short-term and long-term costs. A cat adopted from a shelter may be a bargain, considering many shelters provide spaying or neutering, initial vaccinations, and a microchip. Please make sure you’re prepared for the routine expenses you’ll incur throughout the cat’s life–veterinary care, emergency care and those important “incidentals” noted below.
Stock up on supplies before the cat arrives. Try to create a homelike environment for your new cat immediately. You’ll need a litter box, litter, food and water bowls, food, scratching posts, safe and stimulating toys, a cushy bed, brush or comb for grooming, a toothbrush and nail clippers.
Cat-proof your home. A new cat will often teach you not to leave things lying around and out for them. Food left on the kitchen counter will teach your new kitty to jump on counters for a possible meal. Get rid of loose items your cat might chew on, make sure the cat isn’t chewing on electrical cords or cords for your blinds, etc. Pick up random items like paper clips, yarn, string, dental floss or other items kitties may swallow.
Go slowly when introducing your cat to new family and friends. 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 in a single room with all of its supplies until it’s used to their surroundings. Socialization is important, but remember to take it slow.
Include your new pet in your family’s emergency plan. Add phone numbers for your veterinarian and closest 24 hour animal hospital to your in-case-of-emergency call list. Be sure to have a several day supply of cat food, water for all pets & people and any specific medications your pets might be taking.
Think carefully before giving a cat as a gift. It’s a nice thought–surprising someone with a cat. But it doesn’t allow for a “getting to know one another” period. Remember, adopting a cat isn’t like purchasing a piece of jewelry or some appliances. This is a living, emotional being and its important that we choose our own companions.
Feel free to call us if you have questions or for recommendations on area shelters or rescues. We have a pet adoption board in the office and frequently have information about needy pets looking for a home, so stop by to check it out!
West Hills Pet Clinic offers a free complete physical exam and office visit with proof of adoption from shelters, the humane society or local rescues. Ask us for more details!
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