Sep 06 2011

Adopting a new cat

This is the year of the cat according to the Vietnamese Calendar, and many animal shelters have adopted this theme to promote awareness of cats. The American Humane Association published a top 10 list to consider when adopting a cat, and it is presented in an abridged fashion below:

1. If you’re thinking about adopting a cat, consider taking home two. Cats require exercise, mental stimulation and social interaction. Two cats can provide this for each other.

2. Find a cat whose personality meshes with yours. Just as we each have our own personality, so do cats. Shelters and rescue groups have all kinds of cats – from playful kittens to mellow seniors. Many of these groups assess their cats prior to adoption, enabling them to help you match the individual cat’s personality with your own.

3. Schedule a visit with your veterinarian within the first few days following the adoption. Don’t forget to take along any medical information you were given. Getting your new cat to a veterinarian early will help make sure there are no underlying problems, and your veterinarian can recommend an appropriate health care plan for your new friend.

4. Make sure everyone in the house is prepared to have a cat before your new pet comes home. Visiting the shelter or animal control facility should be a family affair. When adopting a new cat with existing pets at home, discuss with the adoption facility how to make a proper introduction.

5. Budget for the short- and long-term costs of a cat. Understand any pet is a responsibility and there’s a cost associated with that.

6. Stock up on supplies before the cat arrives. Be prepared so your new cat can start feeling at home right away. Your cat will need a litter box, cat litter, food and water bowls, food, scratching posts, safe and stimulating toys, a cushy bed, a brush for grooming, a toothbrush and nail clippers.

7. Cat-proof your home. Food left on the kitchen counter will serve to teach your new friend to jump on counters, and most cats will play with small items like paper clips or string, that can be easily swallowed.

8. Go slowly when introducing your cat to new friends and family. It can take several weeks for a cat to relax in a new environment. It’s a great idea to keep the new addition secluded in a single room (with a litter box, food, water, toys and a cozy sleeping spot) until the cat is used to the new surroundings, especially if you have other pets.

9. Be sure to include your new pet in your family’s emergency plan. You probably have a plan in place for getting your family to safety in case of an emergency. Adjust this plan to include your pets. Add phone numbers for your veterinarian and closest 24-hour animal hospital to your “in-case-of-emergency” call list, and be sure to have a several-day supply of your pet’s food and medications on hand.

10. Don’t give a cat as a surprise gift. A better idea would be to give a gift certificate for a local shelter, so that the recipient can be an active participant in the adoption process. Remember, adopting a cat isn’t like purchasing a household appliance or a piece of jewelry – this is a real living, breathing, and emotional being.

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Caution: These news items, written by Lifelearn Inc., are licensed to this practice for the personal use of our clients. Any copying, printing or further distribution is prohibited without the express written permission of Lifelearn Inc. Please note that the news information presented here is NOT a substitute for a proper consultation and/or clinical examination of your pet by our clinic veterinarian.

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