Important Things to Consider When Adopting a Cat
Adopting a cat is a very rewarding experience and rescue cats often make excellent pets. Before making the decision, however, to give a home to a cat from a rescue centre, there are some important things to consider.
A Lifetime CommitmentTaking on a cat is a long term commitment. Every pet owner is responsible for looking after and caring for a cat through the bad times as well as the good, and this could include caring for a cat through illness and perhaps ultimately deciding that it is time for a cat to be put to sleep. Cats are generally healthy and robust creatures and many people find that their pet cat has a long and happy life requiring little in the way of special care. Some cats, however, may develop chronic illnesses or become injured and this can be costly as well as time consuming. Considering this before adopting a cat from a rescue centre will help to avoid any nasty surprises later.
Other PetsAnother vitally important thing to consider before adopting a rescue cat is how it will integrate with other pets. It is very likely that an adopted cat will be mature and introducing an adult cat into an established household including other pets can be challenging. Other cats and dogs will already have established a 'pecking order' (and it is not always the biggest or the oldest that is at the top!) and a new arrival may upset things. Generally, however, given that an adopted cat will have gone through a few upheavals, people find them very adaptable and that they settle in easily. The rescue centre should provide any special or relevant information about how a cat will settle with other animals.
LifestyleA new pet of any description is likely to have an impact on lifestyle, particularly if this is the first time that the household has owned an animal. This is particularly relevant when adopting a cat from a rescue centre as to start off with, regular routines are important to help settle the cat into his new home. This might curtail spontaneous activities or mean that more regular working hours need to be kept. In the first few weeks an adopted cat will need to stay in the house. This is so he familiarises himself with his environment and does not get disorientated when outside the house. A litter tray will therefore be essential during the first few weeks. While, with cats that are going to be allowed outside, this will be a short term requirement, the litter tray will need to be emptied and cleaned regularly.
Unknown BackgroundOften adopted cats will have uncertain backgrounds. This might be because they were abandoned or found as strays. As such there may be very little information available about a cat. The rescue centre will be able to give their observations about their experience of a cat, for instance whether he mixes with other cats, however their knowledge will be limited. This means that there is a certain risk when adopting a cat, although many people find the rewards vastly outweigh any potential problems.
Thinking through the issues before adopting a cat can help to ensure that the new pet soon settles into his new home.