It’s National Adopt A Cat Month and whether you adopt a shelter cat or find a furry waif on the doorstep, they’re all worthy of love. Right? Here’s my annual tips guide for cat adoption.
Hey, I know that I’m preaching to the choir. But area shelters overflow especially with kittens this time of year—and so do back yards and alleys. June is the purr-fect time to celebrate Adopt-A-Cat Month (sponsored by American Humane Association) and National Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat Month (sponsored by ASPCA). The ASPCA also has help to create YOUR adopt a shelter cat campaign in your community. Check it out here.
PURR-FECT PICKS–WHAT’S YOUR FURRY PLEASURE?
Today there are shelter cats available to suit every taste and circumstance. Boy or girl? Fluffy longhaired or short-and-svelte coat? Does color matter? Do you care what they look like, or is the c’attitude more important? 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. There are even some paw-some non-shelter opportunities to adopt a cat.
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. Despite that fact, there must be a boatload of kittens being adopted–the past 3 weeks my Complete Kitten Care book has virtually pounced off the shelves!
Age matters. While space concerns force shelters to adopt out kittens as early as possible, a shelter 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. Refer to these 10 kitten adoption do’s and don’ts.
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. You can get some tips in the ComPETability: Cats book for introductions and more.
But 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. Besides, healthy adult cats live into their late teens (or beyond) so adopting a four-year-old lovely feline can mean a decade or longer of furry love!
YOU SEXY CAT! CHOOSING YOUR SHELTER CAT
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. How many of y’all have adopted kittens that were the results of a WHOOPS litter? Hey, you know what I mean…:) Every good intention in the world can get thwarted by a determined girl-kitty when she picks the locks with her rabies tag and trysts with that yummy-boy-cat-Romeo.
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. Adopt one of these kitties and you’ll save a life–adopt a bonded pair and you’ll truly be blessed. For help from birth to old age, you can pick up a copy of CAT FACTS: The Pet Parent’s A-to-Z Home Care Encyclopedia.
Old 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. Don’t expect an adult shelter cat 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.
Adopting a senior kitty at age 10 or so could mean another decade or more of furry snuggles. Just look at Seren-Kitty? When she arrived as a baby, we had no idea she’d still be ruling the roost 21 years later!
My Siamese wannabe Seren(dipity) showed up on a friend’s back porch–a dumped kitten–and purred her way into my heart. We shared a pillow for 21 years. And about five years ago, Karma-Kat came to me in the same way, and I hope we’ll have double-digit years together, too. May you be so lucky as to find the cat of your dreams!
ADOPT ANY TIME
You don’t need to wait for a special adoption month. Wonderful candidates of all shapes, ages, and sizes–even some pedigree kitties!–wait for you at area shelters all year long.
What’s your shelter cat “gotcha-day” story? Did you find the kitty of your dreams as a retired show cat? Feral rescue? Inherit her from an ailing in-law? What’s your best advice for those wanting to adopt during National Adopt A (Shelter) Cat Month?
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