2001-Wed Jun 28 17:10:49 EDT 2017
Vetstreet. All rights reserved. Powered by Brightspot.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
It's impossible not to be achingly smitten with a cute, fuzzy kitten, so it's understandable that people seek them out for adoption. But the demand for kittens comes at a cost: They have an advantage against even the sweetest, prettiest, most well-mannered adults.
Overlooking older animals at the shelter is bad news for cats, of course, but it's also a missed opportunity for potential owners. In many cases, an adult may be a better choice than a kitten. Sure, kittens are cute, but they need extra time, extra training and extra tolerance.
You know pretty well what you're getting with a grown cat in terms of activity level, sociability and health. It's all been established. Given a loving environment, a grown cat forms bonds that are just as profound as a kitten's.
With an adult cat, knowing a little of the animal's background is important, especially if your family has other pets or children. (A cat who has never experienced them may have a more difficult time adjusting to a new family that includes either.) You can ask questions directly about the cat's background if you're adopting from the original owner, and most shelters or rescue groups provide some basic background information on their animals.
What if the information isn't flattering? Give the cat the benefit of the doubt and decide if you have the time and patience to work on the problem. And remember, you don't know the contributing factors. Pee problems? Maybe the litterbox was never cleaned or was left in a spot that was convenient for the owner but disconcerting for the cat.
If at all possible, take each adult cat you're considering away from the caging area of the adoption center. Sit down with the animal in your lap, alone in a quiet place and try to get a feel for the cat as an individual. Shelters are stressful places, so the cat may need a few quiet minutes to collect herself. A calm, confident and outgoing cat will respond pretty readily to your attention by relaxing in your lap, pushing for strokes and purring.
Be prepared to give your new pet time to adjust once you take her home. No matter how promising the initial meeting, remember that cats don't react well to change. Experts advise starting out your cat in a small, enclosed area — a spare bathroom or small bedroom equipped with food and water, litterbox, toys and a scratching post. A few days of quiet seclusion with frequent visits from you will relax your new pet and re-establish litterbox habits.
If you're considering bringing a pet into your life, why wait? There are enough of them around to give you a great chance to bring home a pet you'll absolutely adore.
More from Vetstreet:
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.