In summer, animal shelters are often at peak capacity, so there’s no better time to consider pet adoption. Of the approximately 6.5 million companion animals who enter animal shelters nationwide every year, 3.2 million are cats, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). You could save a life this summer by choosing to bring a cat or kitten home.
 
Here are a few tips and advice to consider as you make your plans...

Think Ahead

Are you and your family cat ready? Or are you looking to expand your pet family? Shayna Meliker, editor at VetStreet, has some pointers as you begin planning for your new addition.

  • Socialization. Cats are often misunderstood as being loners when in fact they’re eager to be with people. Take time to ensure they’re well socialized and feel part of the family. When introducing cats to other family pets, remember that smells are much more important than appearances, so you want to get your pets comfortable with each other's scent before they meet. For more tips on a smooth transition visit HumaneSociety.org.

  • Make time for exercise. Just like us, cats need mental and physical stimulation to stay healthy. Whether playing games (automated laser toys) or going for a walk (yes, you can walk a cat on a leash!), be ready to be active.

  • Commitment. Cats often live into their late teens or even their 20s. Understand that your new pet will be an integral part of your life for the years to come and bring you many happy memories.

  • Find a shelter in your area that you feel good about. AdoptAPet.com and PetFinder.com are two good resources.

  • Cat-proof the house (more on this later!).

How Do I Choose?

When visiting a shelter, it can be overwhelming to pick from so many adorable cats and kittens. Consider what’s the best fit for you, your family and your home. The team at Princeton Veterinary Hospital has this advice:

  • How much time do you have? While all cats need attention, kittens require extra time and energy, so decide if an adult cat might be better for your schedule and lifestyle – or if you’re ready to raise a youngster.

  • Tour the facility before deciding on any one cat to see which one shows interest in you. Once you visit with them, see how they interact. If they try to swat or bite when petting them, this might not be a good match, especially if you have young children at home.

  • Looking for a lap cat? Then steer clear of cats that don’t like being picked up. 

  • Ask questions! Like how the cat or kitten arrived at the shelter, medical history, behavior traits, types of people they like to be around – there are no wrong questions when it comes to choosing your ideal cat match. 

Your Vet Partner

We think carefully when it comes to choosing our own physicians, so why not do the same with our pets? The American Veterinary Medical Association shares some key tips:

  • Select a vet ahead of time. Get referrals from friends, family, breed clubs or special interest groups. Read online reviews to see what others in your community are saying.

  • Find out what services they offer, including early or late hours, boarding and emergency care.

  • Is the staff helpful and professional? Are doctors and technicians easy to talk to and understand?

  • See how they interact with other ‘patients;’ ask questions and communicate your needs.

  • Bring your cat in for a wellness visit with the vet within a week of being adopted. If you have a record of immunizations from the shelter, take it with you.

Accessorize!

Have all the basics on hand before your new arrival. Some suggestions…

  • Toys, a scratching post, bed and cat tree, if possible. Have a mix of items they can enjoy on their own and interactive ones for playtime.

  • Litter box, litter scoop and good supply of litter. 

  • Separate food and water bowls. For transitioning into their new home, start feeding cats what they’re accustomed to unless your vet recommends something else.

  • Cat carrier for trips and travel, whether around town, to the vet or heading out on vacation.

  • ID tags, so a wandering kitty finds her way home in the event she strays. 

Around the House

There’s baby-proofing, and then there’s cat-proofing. Any time new animals are brought home, there’s usually a few prep steps, especially for a curious cat.

  • Put away medications, household cleaners and other risky items a cat might be curious about.

  • Protect your furniture. A cat’s claws need to be worn down, and they’ll do this themselves by scratching on things. Consider Indoor Shields® Solutions and provide them with an alternative for scratching like corrugated cardboard and scratching posts.

  • Decide where to put your litter box, away from the feeding area. If other family members are helping out, create a cleaning schedule to avoid squabbles.

  • Ensure cats can safely explore their new outdoor environment with trusted products like Invisible Fence® Brand’s Boundary Plus® Technology, giving them maximum yard space while not feeling restricted. Weighing only one ounce, the featherweight MicroLite® Computer Collar® Receiver is the smallest and most advanced collar, making it easy and comfortable for felines. 

There are so many cats that need a loving home. Check your local shelter or animal rescue organizations to find one that’s right for you. And if you aren’t in a place to adopt, consider these other ways to make a difference.





 

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