Many people adopt a cat on a ‘spur of the moment’ decision. They may be vaguely thinking about it, or have a friend with a beautiful new kitten, or just be walking past the pet shop when they see this adorable kitten that just can’t be left there. Sometimes it can be a friend who has a litter of kittens to find homes for and many times it is your children saying ‘please, please’ just one time too many.
Kittens are really like children. Absolutely adorable when they are young and playful but then they grow up. And like children, they are a lot of work to begin with when all the training is needed.
However, just like with children, if you treat your cat with love and respect and train it properly, it will give you much joy and love in return for many years.
I have a friend who loves cats. Like me, she is lucky enough to live in a rural setting on a fairly large block of land. However, she has never had any of her cats neutered or spayed and so they keep breeding. And keep breeding. The last time I was at her house there were well over 20 cats of all ages there. It got too hard trying to count them as they never stayed still.
This is her choice so I’m not criticizing her but for me that would be irresponsible. The feeding of that many cats would be way outside my budget, and the vet bills would be prohibitive.
Make sure you know what sort of cat you want to adopt before you go into to that pet shop. How much are you prepared to pay for your kitten. Do you understand the ongoing costs of food, toys, litter, vet bills etc? There are also the ‘start up’ costs such as bedding, litter tray, feeding bowls etc.
You also need to take into account the wear and tear on your furniture, especially at the beginning. You will need to train your cat not to use your favorite couch as a scratching post. We have chairs that have been shredded because we didn’t introduce the scratching post early enough. Funnily enough when we finally bought some new furniture, the cats didn’t scratch it.
Are you prepared to invest the time to train your new kitten and put up with messes and puddles for a while? You also need to have time to play with and bond with your kitten, getting to know each other. The more you can understand your cat’s body language, the better your relationship will be.
If you have children, who is going to be responsible for the day to day care of your cat. It is wise to instill in children early on that a cat, or any pet for that matter, is for life, not just while they’re in that ‘cute’ stage. Teaching children to be responsible for their pet will have life long positive repercussions.
Understanding what is involved in cat adoption before you choose your new pet will not only help you make a truly informed decision, it will also help you deal with problems as they occur.