Each year during “kitten season,” thousands of newborn kittens join the millions of cats already in shelters across the country. The same is true of this area and that means that PMFAS has some cute, cuddly kittens in addition to all the mellow, adult cats - cats of every size and color awaiting their new forever homes. The staff at PMFAS is ready to help you adopt your very first cat, or bring home a friend for another beloved feline!
In considering bringing a new furry friend into your household, give some consideration to these ideas and suggestions offered by American Humane (www.americanhumane.org)
- 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. Plus they’ll provide more benefits to you. Cats’ purring has been shown to soothe humans as well as themselves. Also they have an uncanny ability to just make you smile!
- Find a cat whose characteristics mesh with yours. Just as we each have our own personality, cats also have their own characteristics. Staff members at PMFAS know their cats well and can offer advice to help you adopt a kitty that is the perfect fit for you!
- Choose a veterinarian ahead of time and schedule a visit soon after you adopt. This is important to help your vet learn details about your cat’s health, and conversely your cat can learn to feel comfortable at a vet’s clinic. There are a number of things to remember about keeping your cat healthy and happy, including getting a regular physical exam and dental check, and making sure your cat is up to date on all immunizations.
- Make sure everyone in the house is prepared to have a cat before it comes home. Visiting the shelter should be a family affair. When adopting a new cat with existing pets at home, shelter staff can give you suggestions and instructions about how to make a proper introduction. This can help the household stay calm with the new arrival.
- Budget for the short- and long-term costs of a cat. When adopting a pet, it’s important to understand the responsibility and potential costs. A cat adopted from PMFAS will already be spayed or neutered, have initial vaccines, and be microchipped for permanent identification.
- Stock up on supplies before the cat arrives. Be prepared so your new cat can start feeling at home right away. Supplies can include a litter box, cat litter, food and water bowls, food, cat carrier, scratching posts, safe and stimulating toys, a cushy bed, and a brush for grooming.
- Cat-proof your home. A new cat will quickly teach you not to leave things lying out! Food and other items left on the kitchen counter can quickly become a new toy. Be aware of loose items your cat might chew on, and if unsafe, put them out of kitty’s reach.
- Go slowly when introducing your cat to family and friends. It can take several weeks for a cat to relax in a new environment. Until your adopted feline friend becomes accustomed to his new home, it’s a good idea to keep him/her secluded in a single room surrounded with both needed items and comfort measures - a litter box, food and water, toys, and the cat carrier left out and open with bedding inside. This is particularly important if you have other pets. If you’ve adopted a kitten, socialization is very important, but remember – take it slowly!
- 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.
- If you’re considering giving a cat as a gift, make sure the recipient is an active participant in the adoption process. Though well-meaning, the surprise kitty gift doesn’t allow for a “get-to know-one-another” period. Remember, adopting a cat isn’t like purchasing an object. A cat is a real living, breathing, and emotional being and needs a safe, secure, and loving home.
A cat – or even two - can certainly be loving additions to your family. The staff at PMFAS in Northern, Vermont is ready and able to help you select your new furry friends. All felines available for adoption are featured on our website or visit the shelter to spend some time and find your own special kitty. For more information about cat care and cat health, visit the American Veterinary Medical Association at www.avma.org or the Catalyst Council at www.catalystcouncil.org/resources/health_welfare/Adoptacat/