If you have decided to adopt a pet cat from the shelter than kudos to you because you’re helping a greater cause! A life is being saved by this amazing decision and this life is going to mean the world to you. However, it is not enough to have a heart full of love for your soon-to-be pet. There is significant preparation and research that needs to be done on your end before you go to rescue the pet cat of your dreams. Most of these needs to be done before your pet arrives at your home; so I would suggest you take a careful look at the list below.
Assess Your Needs
The first things that you need to determine are your needs and requirements, identifying lifestyle factors such as;
· Children and their ages
· Work hours (away from home)
· Your personality
· Living space
· Outdoor area
These factors are important for determining the personality and best breed type of a cat that will be a perfect member of your family. Homes with smaller and multiple children should adopt older cats as they are calmer and less likely to engage in destructive behavior. They are also less likely to be aggressive and have fully developed personalities making it easier to identify their traits.
Consult the workers at the shelter and the internet before you go about adopting because if you are an easy going introvert that cannot handle clinginess, then having a siamese might not be the best option for you as they are opinionated, talkative and very affectionate. A Persian is a better option for you as they are easy going and do not require a lot of interaction.
Cats are not called fur babies for anything, they are literally babies just four-legged and fanged! If you plan on adopting a kitten from the shelter this is an extremely crucial step that must not be missed! Especially if you want to avoid future heart attacks and save the hours you’re going to spend looking for your kitten. Cover up all the small unreachable places especially any pipes and holes that your kitten can get into. Remember cats are flexible inquisitive creatures and a new cat is going to conduct a very thorough exploration of your house.
Other things that need to be taken care of are as follows:
· Remove or secure out of reach, any and all poisonous chemicals.
· Secure any expensive electronics such as televisions, monitors etc by mounting them to the wall.
· Take care of all loose wires and stow away all chargers if you do not want them to be chewed on.
· Take care of all the things that dangle; decoration pieces, wall hangings etc.
· Put away all the breakable items such as lamps, decorations, and mirrors that can topple over and break or possibly fall on your new kitten.
· Cover the sides of expensive furniture with tape to avoid getting them scratched.
Cats are quite territorial and private creatures as part of their inherent nature. Hence a new cat is going to be stressed due to the displacement and the journey making it want to retreat into a private corner. You initially need to confine your cat in a secure room that is small and quiet, so as not to overwhelm them with too many new things at once. A quiet hiding spot like a cardboard box with a hole or a completely covered cat bed or the crate that you brought your cat in will be the ideal den for your pet. This private retreat will serve a dual purpose as the hiding place or home for your cat, and confining them will also help keep them separated from your other pets (if you have any). It is a bad idea to introduce your shelter pet to other house members on the very first day as they might harbor hidden diseases or viruses, as well as be frightened by the new environment. They should not be allowed to mingle with your other pets, and you should be cautious with physical contact too before your new cat has had a chance to visit the vet. Set up an appointment before you adopt your cat to make the transition and adoption as smooth as possible.
The thing that you need the most when adopting a shelter cat is not money or toys, it is patience. Most pets have had traumatic experiences or aren’t properly trained to handle human connection or contact, making them extremely shy and sometimes aggressive. Adult cats especially need to be introduced with extreme caution and patience. Do not force affection on the cat, wait for it to come to you, count the small victories; a peek from under the bed, a brush against your leg or even a simple meow. Eventually, they will come to you and the bond that is formed with patience and resilience will be a deeper one. However, kittens need to be handled differently than the adult cats. They need more affection and hands-on love so they can get used to human contact and handling. The lack of a mother also makes it crucial that a lot of physical affection is displayed to the kitten so it can thrive and develop in your home.
Feeding and Defecation
The stress factors of moving and increased human presence around the cat will make it have irregular eating and defecation habits. It might not eat or poop at all for the first few days but if your cat is not drinking water either that is a cause for alarm. Whatever the case may be keep a close eye on your new cat and monitor their intake. Even if they do not seem to be eating keep the food and water readily available. An Automatic Litter-Robot III Open Air and some Premium Clumping Litter from Cat Evolution can be a great assist especially if you have more than one cat, as it rids you of litter cleaning duty so that you can pay attention to the new baby properly.
There may be a thousand ways your cat can surprise you despite thorough research and utmost preparation. Do not fret and keep your vet on speed dial ;). The love that you are going to receive in return will be worth all the worries, effort and patience in the end, I promise!