There is about no difference between owning purebred cats and your average tabby, except for a bit of panache. Adopting a cat from a shelter, as opposed to buying a fancy cat breed from a pet shop or breeder, could save a creature’s life. When you consider all the strays and feral cats out there who will never know the warmth of a window seat or the security of regular meals, it’s clear that adopting is the humane choice. So how do you go about adopting shelter cats from pet shops?
What to Expect at the Animal Shelter?
All animal shelters are different. Some have a room full of cats who wander free and interact with one another. Other shelters have small kennels stacked on top of one another. Being confined in a shelter can be a traumatic experience for a cat. They may become reclusive, anxious, or aggressive. Give them some time to burn off steam and get comfortable before making a final judgment.
- DO. Adopt a cat from a kill shelter whenever possible. You may save a life.
- DO. Consider adopting an older cat. Kittens tend to be scooped up first, and older cats may be left to perish. Adopting older pets is a much-needed kindness.
- DO. Ask shelter staff about the history of an animal you’re interested in. In many cases, it’s known whether the cat has health problems, if they have trouble using a litter box, or if they are or aren’t good with children or other animals. If the cat was a surrender given up by a previous owner, ask why.
- DO. Ask the shelter to provide you with one-on-one time to get to know a kitty you may like. Many shelters will have isolated spaces where you and your future cat can get to know one another.
- DO. In your one-on-one time, check out the kitty’s eyes, ears, and nose. There should be nothing gloppy anywhere. Eyes should be clear and not runny. The ears should be pink and clean. The nose should be slightly moist and, again, not runny. Keep an eye out for sneezing or coughing. If you observe any abnormalities and you’re interested in adopting, see what the shelter has to say. They may offer to treat the cat (for ear mites or bordetella, for example) before you adopt.
- DO. If you already have one pet, ask to bring them in to visit. You may want to see if your cat of choice will get along with your dog, for example. Most shelters will try to accommodate requests like this.
- DO. Visit a few times. Make sure you and your future pet “click” before bringing them home.
- DON’T. Never return a cat to a shelter. Be sure you can commit to the responsibilities of having a pet before you take them home. Bouncing around from place to place can be traumatic for a cat. Returning a cat to a shelter after bringing them into your home can create anxiety-related behaviors that could ruin their chance for future adoption.
- DON’T. Never adopt a cat until you’ve made a heart-to-heart connection. Get to know the cat you like. Most adoptive pet parents say the same thing: you’ll know when it happens. Don’t settle, and don’t feel as though there’s a rush.
What to Bring to the Shelter
Adoption requirements are different from shelter to shelter.
- Some shelters require proof of age, so bring two forms of identification along.
- In some areas, you may need to prove that pets are allowed at your residence. A letter from the landlord, or a copy of the lease, should suffice.
- Most shelters and rescue organizations will ask for a donation or adoption fee. These fees go toward cat food, medical care, cat supplies, and upkeep of the facilities. Most shelters operate on a shoestring budget and rely on adoption fees and donations to remain operational.
Before Bringing Your New Cat Home
Many shelters offer to spay or neuter your cat before bringing them home. That can save on expenses later. So, inquire about your options. If your cat will be allowed to roam outdoors, spaying or neutering is a must.
Before adopting, especially if your kitty was previously feral, you should ask if they’ve been tested for common illnesses, like feline HIV or feline leukemia. If your kitty does have one of these ailments, do your research to see what this will mean for your future. Feline illnesses can be expensive and challenging, and you should have all the information before committing.
You should also treat your cat for fleas before bringing them home. Cat flea treatment does not cost much. You can also use flea medications like Advantage for cats.
Bringing Your New Family Member Home
After adopting, get to a veterinarian as soon as possible. They’ll provide first-stage vaccinations if the shelter didn’t already take care of that. They should also do a full workup to catch anything the shelter veterinarians may have missed.
When you first bring your kitty home, they’ll likely want some space of their own. You may wish to confine your cat at first until they’re a bit more acclimated to their new environment. Some go for a sizable closet, a laundry room, or a bathroom. Be sure to introduce them to their cat litter box, their food, and their water. Leave a carrier box open nearby, with something comfy inside. They may wish to hide in there or under the bed until they’re more comfortable in their new home.
Gradually, allow your new cat to roam more freely. Introduce your cat to small children and other pets slowly in a controlled environment. Before long, your new cat will be ruling the roost.
Look out for fleas. If you notice your cat itching itself, keep it away from the others in the house. You can then treat it using the Capstar for cats flea medication.
Reasons Why Adopted Cats Get Returned to Shelters
An alarmingly large number of cats get returned to animal shelters. An adopted home for most cats cannot be considered a forever home. There could be some reasons like a senior cat not fit for a house with young children. The list of reasons could also include the new owner not having the mindset to give the kitty any chance to adjust. If you are thinking of adopting a cat, you must know why cats are returned to the shelter in the first place. If you know the issues, then you can prevent them.
Cats, like humans, have unique personalities. A few cars are social and affectionate, and others are solitary, independent, and reserved. Many owners return cats to shelters due to them being aloof. Most people prefer a cuddly and playful pet. They do not like an aloof cat. The other most quoted reason is scratching. Felines must scratch. It is embedded in their minds and their bodies.
The cats scratch to file claws and mark territory. It also stretches their bodies. Cats like to scratch inappropriate places like walls and furniture. Many owners return their cats to save their belongings. The problem in such cases is not the cat but the poor planning of the feline owners. It happens if the owner does not provide the cat with sufficient scratching areas, or the scratching area could be small. If you are a cat owner, and considering returning the cat due to this behavior, then you and your cat should visit a veterinarian for the best advice.
Many owners return sick cats. All owners like to adopt healthy kitties. Injured or sick cats could be hard to take care of, and the costly veterinary bills could be prohibitive. That is why it is vital to comprehend all financial responsibilities before owning a cat. Adopt a cat only if you have the financial strength to sponsor their needs.
A few owners return their cats, finding out that the cat does not gel well with the family. Although each cat is unique, it is hard to estimate the kitten's nature in the future when it will grow up to be an adult cat. A few cats coexist happily with children, and others are afraid of them. There is a chance that a cat may need some time to be left alone before she warms up to the household members. If you see your kitty be frightened, it means the cat does not like loud and boisterous behavior. Cats are also brought back to shelters due to new housing regulations which forbid pets from living within the gated complex.
A few owners return their cats as they find out that the cat does not gel well with the family. Although each cat is unique, it is hard to estimate the kitten's nature in the future when it will grow up to be an adult cat. A few cats co-exist happily with children, and others are afraid of them. There is a chance that a cat may need some time to be left alone before she warms up to the household members. If you see your kitty be frightened, it means the cat does not like loud and boisterous behavior. Cats are also brought back to shelters due to new housing regulations which forbid pets to live within the gated complex.
More on Bringing a Pet Home
9 Questions to Ask When Adopting a Cat
How to Choose a Litter Box and Kitty Litter
Make a Comfy Hideaway for Your Cat