“Please take meowwweeeeee HOME!” Image copr. Amy Shojai, CABC
This post is sponsored by Hill’s. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Hill’s® Food, Shelter, & Love® Program, but BLING, BITCHES & BLOOD only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. is not responsible for the content of this article.
Spring has sprung, and the birds and bees (and other critters) celebrate this time of year in typical creative fashion, with a bumper crop in animal shelters of needy adult cats and adoptable kittens. June is the purr-fect time to celebrate national Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat Month, and Hill’s® Food, Shelter, & Love® Program helps shelters give these furry waifs a great start in life.
Image courtesy of Hill’s Pet Care
Since 2002, the Hill’s® Food, Shelter & Love® program has donated over $280 million worth of Science Diet brand foods to nearly 1,000 animal shelters, helping over 8 million pets find a new home…and counting. Healthy pets are more adoptable pets and all pets deserve proper, balanced nutrition. The Program also provides a free bag of Science Diet® pet food or a $5 off coupon to the pet parent for each adoption to further ensure a smooth and easy transition for pets to their new
Kitten & Cat Adoption–How to Choose?
Boy or girl? Fluffy longhaired or short-and-svelte coat? Does color matter? What about age? Today there are cats available to suit every taste and circumstance. For a lifetime of love, use both your head and your heart to do some kitty match-making so your lifestyle fits the cat of your dreams, and vice versa.
Even siblings can look very different, and include longhair, shorthair, and a variety of color coats and patterns. Image copr. Amy Shojai, CABC
It’s kitten season, and nothing beats a kitten for cute-icity! There’s no doubt you’ll find your pick of the kitty litters right now. These pictures were taken at a local kitten adoption event, and there were FIVE TIMES the number of furry waifs you see here.
Kittens and cats often choose us. Rather than picking the “prettiest” baby, try this: Sit on the floor quietly in the adoption room, and let the kittens come to you. Roll a wad of paper to see which one pounces (or hides). You want the Christopher Columbus Kitten eager to explore new things–s/he will be healthier and less prone to stress compared to a Shrinking Violet kitten. And of course, get a vet check asap–you want to see bright clean eyes, clean fur, ears and bottom, and playful energy.
While kittens can be non-stop fun, they’re also works-in-progress–and you cannot accurately predict adult temperament. Most kittens love to lap-sit, but many outgrow this behavior. So if you want a lifelong feline lap-snuggler, choose an adult cat with an established personality so you know what you’re getting. You’ll already know that the cat likes or dislikes dogs, other cats, children, lap-sitting, and playing.
Many shelters offer a discount for adopting pairs of kittens. Instant friendship! and they’ll target each other instead of your ankles, win-win for everyone! Image copr. Amy Shojai, CABC
Short fur sheds just as much as the long fluffy kind, but won’t tangle or require as much care on your part. Those longhaired beauties like Persians need combing every single day.
All kinds of speculation abounds regarding behaviors associated with coat color or pattern. None of it has been proven one way or another. However, it is a cat “rule” that dark fur lands on light-colored clothing while light fur magnetically attaches to dark trousers. When a cat has both light and dark fur, like my Seren, owners learn to live with hair and consider it a condiment.
Be prepared for cats to act different once you bring them home. Give shy kitties time to adjust. Image copr. Amy Shojai, CABC
Boy cats tend to grow bigger than girl cats, but as long as they’re spayed or neutered (you’ll want to do this!), the behaviors tend to be similar. Intact males want to baptize everything with sprays of urine, and intact girl cats bring more furry babies into this world after yowling and pestering owners to death.
Sure, the youngest kittens may have cute-appeal, but don’t overlook older kittens or even adults. This is Karma, a few days after he arrived–at 8 months old, he probably wouldn’t have been chosen if at a shelter, since he was “so old.” Image copr. Amy Shojai, CABC
Age matters. While space concerns force shelters to adopt out kittens as early as possible, a cat will have far fewer behavior problems if he stays with mom-cat and siblings until at least twelve weeks old. If you adopt a kitten younger than this, you should either have a friendly adult cat in the house prepared to teach Junior how to be a proper cat–or you yourself must attempt to give these lessons. Cats learn from watching other cats how to groom themselves, use the litter box, scratch the right object, and inhibit clawing and biting during play. Humans fall short as teachers.
Lovely adult cats often get overlooked, but they’ve already learned these basic lessons and make outstanding pets. Due to the overload of animals, too many shelters have arbitrary age limits for euthanasia. Cats aged five and above may be euthanized automatically, even though they could be expected to provide a decade or more of companionship to a loving human owner.
Seren was non-stop fun when she arrived at 4 months old. I never would have imagined we’d still have her–now at age 18! and these last 10 years have been the sweetest of all. Image copr. Amy Shojai, CABC
Older cats tend to be more sedate than kittens, and less inclined to climb curtains, attack toes, or conduct gravity experiments by knocking breakables off high spots. At the shelter, don’t expect adult cats to “sell themselves” the way a kitten would. Remember that they’ve likely just lost their home, are scared and sad, and wondering what they did to make a beloved human go away. They need people to take a second look.
Every Christmas, I received emails and phone cals from folks looking for holiday kittens–at a time of year when furry babies are scarce. Now’s the time to look since a bumper crop abounds and you’ll be saving a life by adopting a cat.
“Happily ever after….” Image copr. Amy Shojai, CABC
You don’t need to wait for Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat Month. Wonderful candidates of all shapes, ages, and sizes wait for you at area shelters all year long. Nineteen years ago, my cat Seren showed up on a friend’s back porch, and purred her way into my heart. And a year ago, Karma-Kat decided to adopt our Magical-Dawg when he tried to dig his way through the patio window. May you be as lucky as my family to find the cat (or three) of your dreams!
Image courtesy of Hill’s Pet Care
Does your shelter work with the Food, Shelter & Love Program? Use this link to find a shelter partner in your area!
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