You’ve decided that you want to adopt a cat. However, before you run out to the shelter to select your “forever feline friend”, there are a few things you need to think about first.
“A lot of thought should go into picking a “forever friend”. A potential adopter needs to ask themselves if they can provide the best possible home for that kitty forever and that could be 15-20 years!
[Potential adopters should also consider whether they can handle things like the medical expenses that over a cat’s life (shots and treatment if it gets sick).] Cats for the most part are very versatile and adaptable but at the same time, certain cats require certain lifestyles. For instance, a long haired cat may be high maintenance because of his grooming needs and may not work for a busy, hectic lifestyle. Very small kittens may not be the best choice for very small kids because generally children tend to want to hold and pick them up and kittens prefer to be bouncing around rather than being held, thus scratching the children can occur. An older cat, tried and true with children, may be more desirable or an older kitten who has calmed down and enjoys being held,” said Chris Margo, of K.I.S.S. (Kitties In need of Someone Special) in Hopatcong. K.I.S.S. is a rescue that holds adoption days at the PetSmart at Rockaway Mall.
Margo notes what that most important thing, whether a family selects an older cat or a kitten, is that the family loves the pet. A cat is not just a passing fad.
Also, when selecting a cat, you must not only consider the make-up of your human family, but that of your existing pet crew.
“In searching for a new cat it’s imperative to also consider the dogs, cats and any other animals that live in your home. All prospective adoptable cats and kittens should be tested for their tolerance to other cats and dogs. The shelter staff can give you tips on how to introduce your new cat into your home and make the transition easier for your new kitty and the rest of your furry family, “shared Dr. Michelle Hewett, DVM, who practices at the Tranquility Veterinary Clinic in Tranquility.
What if the person looking for a cat is a senior citizen?
“Kittens are not good choices for elderly people. But in a situation where a relative is close by and there to help, especially when the elder cannot take care of the cat anymore, it can turn out fine. Not all kittens go “underfoot”, but most of them do and even the steadiest on their feet can trip over a kitty! An adult whose PURR-sonality is known …. ie, lap kitty, very laid back, would be the best choice for an elderly person. As cats get older, many of them become great “companion” cats, meaning they will hang out with their owners and sit with them most of the time. Senior cats can work very well for senior people,” said Margo.
Speaking of senior cats, as Margo noted, cats can live 15-20 years. Many times, people don’t take that into consideration and pass on “older” cats when looking to adopt.
“Unfortunately senior cats often get overlooked, but they make wonderful pets for a loving family, single adult or particularly senior citizens. Senior kitties “know the ropes” and are generally easy keepers which make them wonderful companions. Like people, cats are living longer lives and it is not unusual to have a cat live 18-20 happy, healthy years, so often that 10 year old cat that is considered a senior citizen is often actually still pretty young. Shelter employees have a wonderful ability to match cats and kittens with prospective owners and can help you find just the perfect kitty for your family, “said Dr. Hewett.
There are many cats out there waiting for homes. Adopting a cat can be one of the best things you can do for a lucky feline …and for yourself.