2001-Fri Jan 19 00:45:17 EST 2018
Vetstreet. All rights reserved. Powered by Brightspot.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
I am always in favor of pet adoption; there are so many wonderful animals currently in shelters who need loving homes. As a trainer, however, I’m adamant that people not adopt on a whim. This comes from firsthand experience witnessing the problems that can arise when a pet is adopted without proper planning.
During college, I volunteered at a local shelter. The community had notoriously high rates of surrender and abandonment of animals, especially in the spring when school ended and students packed up to leave. They would be unable to take their pet home with them or would be starting a job that made it impossible to care for the pet or moving into a new apartment where pets weren’t permitted. Because they failed to think through the commitment they were making when they adopted, their pet found its way back to the shelter again.
If you are thinking about getting a cat, I would encourage you to adopt. But understand this: Adoption is a permanent commitment. There are a number of things to consider before you make the choice to bring a cat home from the shelter. The first step is to make an honest assessment of whether a feline is a good fit for your current living and family situation.
It is important to consider the financial commitment you will be making by adopting a cat. The ASPCA estimates the cost of the first year of owning a cat to be $1,035. Costs may be much higher if your cat has health problems or other issues. You will also need to plan for ongoing health care for your cat. Your veterinary care budget should include the cost of annual vet exams, as well as an emergency fund or pet insurance plan to cover unanticipated costs.
Adopting a cat also means rearranging your living space to make it more feline friendly and investing in toys and cat furniture to keep your kitty busy and happy. You will need to devote some areas of your home to the cat, for structures like climbing spaces and scratching posts. And, of course, you will need to create a space for a litterbox. And while you are thinking about how to make your current living space work, consider any future changes to your housing situation. If you are likely to find yourself sharing space with roommates who may have allergies or may not love cats as much as you do, or if you are moving into an apartment or house that doesn't allow pets, it may be better to postpone adoption until you are able to guarantee your cat a permanent, stable home.
The financial and physical investments are just the first step though; you will also need to commit time and effort to help your cat settle into his new home and bond with you and your family. Cats don’t automatically know the rules; you will be responsible for teaching your cat what behaviors are and are not allowed, including the proper place to potty, where to scratch and how to interact with people or other animals in the home.
Despite the myth that they are self-sustaining, independent creatures, all cats require time and attention. In fact, many felines crave social interaction and may become stressed and anxious if not given enough attention. Even if a cat is okay with being alone during the day, it’s important their family spends quality time with them when they are home, otherwise problem behavior may occur. Even the more aloof felines need devoted time from their humans to set up their environment in a way that helps them feel relaxed and safe.
Certain cats may demand an even bigger time commitment. If you adopt a kitten, he will need to be socialized, which is a big job. Cats with special needs may require consistent, patient interactions and a predictable, controlled home environment to help them settle in. High-energy cats require creative physical outlets and lots of playtime.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Bartonella is a type bacteria that can be transmitted to cats, dogs and humans from exposure to infected fleas and…
Want to give your pup yummy, low-calorie treats? We’ve got the skinny on which foods are OK to feed him.
Not sure about food puzzles? Our veterinarian reveals why the payoff for your pet is well worth any extra work.
With these simple dental care tips, you can help keep your canine’s adorable smile shiny and healthy for life.
The friendly and inquisitive LaPerm has an easy-care coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.