THINKING OF ADOPTING A CAT?
You’ve made a wise choice: A cat is a lovable, charming pet that offers endless fun and entertainment. But cats may only be lovable and charming if you treat them the way they should be treated, the way you yourself would want to be treated.
Prior to searching for Mr. Right, facing cage after cage of homeless cats, consider your needs and expectations. If yours is a full-time working household, I recommend passing up kittens and adolescents (2 -18 months old) in favor of a more low-key adult whose energy needs will be easier to meet. If you are a novice cat owner, stay away from “excessive” cats – excessively shy, aggressive or demanding – for they may provide too great a challenge for your first experience. Your best bet is the friendly, outgoing cat who nudges an outstretched finger offered through the cage bars and who nuzzles and purrs when you hold him in your arms. This profile is a particularly good choice for families with children younger than seven years of age.
Is coat color or pattern important? By all means, choose a cat who attracts you, but remember that the gorgeous calico hiding at the back of her cage may well go into prolonged hiding once she is released into your home. A cat who is social and relaxed at a shelter usually has the aplomb to meet the stresses that life throws her way. Consider the whole cat, not just one element.
So, if you’re thinking of adopting a cat, keep in mind these 10 tips about how to keep him healthy and happy
1. Like dogs, cats need to be fed good, nutritious food regularly, at least once a day. 2. Cats also need plenty of cool, clean, fresh water. Adult cats do NOT need milk, which might make them fat and give them diarrhea.
3. Keep your cat inside your home with you. But keep him in a separate room from birds and fish, which cats will attack. Also keep him away from house plants, which cats may destroy. Certain plants are also poisonous to cats.
4. Do NOT automatically have your cat declawed. Declawing has been compared to removing your fingernails. Would you like it? To prevent your cat from scratching or tearing your furniture, trim his claws regularly and provide him with a small rug or scratching post. Verbal scolding can also work wonders.
5. Unlike dogs, cats do NOT need to go outside. Cats are almost always naturally housebroken and will use a litter box even at an early age. Allowed outside alone. cats often get lost or hurt and sometimes get killed. Also, don’t leave your cat alone in a room with an open window.
6. Make sure your cat always wears identification, even if you never let him outside. Agile and clever, cats sometimes manage to get outside by themselves. Provide the animals with a comfortable, expandable collar and an attached identification tag with your name, address and phone number on it. Consider purchasing a dog license for your cat. Also consider having your cat tattooed by a qualified veterinarian.
7. Unlike most dogs, cats do NOT need to be bathed. A healthy cat keeps himself clean and well groomed.
8. Make sure your cat gets good veterinary care, including all necessary examinations and shots. 9. Have your cat spayed or neutered by a veterinarian or at the ASPCA once the animal reaches maturity (usually after six or seven months of age). Your cat will enjoy a longer, healthier life, there’ll be fewer strays on the streets and you’ll be spared the hassles of a cat in heat.
10. Give your cat plenty of love and affection. Though cats are more independent than dogs, they thrive on your companionship.
A cat in your life can add warmth, humor and peace of mind. A cat can teach your child empathy for others while keeping her secrets. If you can make the commitment, a cat is waiting to enhance your life in ways only a kindred spirit can.