Who can resist these furry little creatures? Remember that ‘puss in boots’ in Shrek. Every time that he gave Shrek that innocent googly eyed look, even the mean old ogre forgave the fact that puss was hired by the king to murder him! Well we’re just human, and the sight of a kitten is irresistible to just about all us. Yet, very few kittens are taken into warm families and loving homes. Most of them join the millions of stray alley cats or end up in animal shelters.
But no matter what, the decision to adopt a cat or any animal for that matter should never be impulsive. Cats do not require as much maintenance as dogs but still felines too require a good deal of commitment from you to provide for all of their needs. Here are the few things you must consider before adopting these incredibly cute and furry monsters :
1. It’s a long term commitment
Cats generally live 15 years, so it is very important to know whether or not you can take over this responsibility for that long. Things may change much in 15 years and you need to be sure that you can take care of this pet under any circumstances. You may get married, have kids, change your residence – all of those factors should not influence your care towards your pet in a negative way.
2. Annual expenses
This includes costs of food, veterinary care, including vaccinations etc. Not to mention the the ongoing costs of supplies like dishes or bowls, litter boxes, scratching posts, carrying case, grooming tools, toys etc. The annual expenses may be as much as $1500 for a indoor cat.
3. Litter box cleaning
This is one thing no likes to do. But every rose has its thorn. Cuteness comes with a price, just like changing diapers for your child! Cats require a litter box which should be provided to them for their and your convenience. You will need to clean out the litter box daily and scrub it clean every once or twice a week. Cats keep themselves very clean and if they find filth in their litter box, they’ll find some other place to excrete and it’ll only increase your troubles.
4. Attention and care
Cats require a lot attention and care. If you have a Bedouin lifestyle where you have to travel much for work related issues or else, you may want to reconsider having a pet. Otherwise, you need to make sure that there is always someone else home who can take care of your cat. Cats need someone to provide them fresh food, milk and water every day. And they also need a regular gentle cuddling.
5. A cat is not a gift
Do not gift your loved one a kitten or a pair of kittens in basket. It may be cute for the moment but it is likely not to turn out so on a long term basis. The person you gift a cat to may not be responsible and caring at all. A lot of people like to cuddle and hold cats, but they do not like the duties that are involved with petting a kitty. Many shelters do not adopt out pets as gifts for this reason.
6. Let your cat get acquainted
When a cat is brought to a new place e.g your home, you need to give it some time to get acquainted with it’s new surroundings. For this reason you’ll need to provide your pet a small room and confine him/her there for a few days. Provide all the necessary supplies like food, water, a litter box, scratch post, toys etc and let him/her stay there. The cat should get the feeling that it’s his/her territory and should be walking around the room confidently.
It is always recommended to get in touch with a veterinarian before adopting a kitten or any pet for that matter. A veterinarian should be in contract with you to take care of your pets health. At the pet shelter or adoption center, you will be asked to make an appointment with a veterinarian for a physical exam of your would be pet. This procedure will also enable the vet to get familiar with your cat as well as keep you informed.
8. Annual vet visits
Not much unlike dogs, cats too need annual physical checkups as well as annual booster shots once they turn a year old or so. And of course, there are the unforeseen medical occurrences. Because some times your pet cat may fall sick or have other health related problems as they get older. This will definitely mean some additional costs for vet visits, surgery, medication and any other extra care if required.
Getting a proper ID tag for your pet is mandatory in many countries. In case your pet is lost or run away from home, you would require the ID tag to re-claim it if found by municipal authority. Many pet owners take it to another level by attaching a microchip or by tattooing their pets as further precaution.
10. Providing supplies
Cats as well as other pets require two types of supplies – everyday supplies and durable supplies. Among the everyday supplies come food, water, clean bowls and plates etc. The durable supplies include litter boxes, scratch posts, toys, bedding etc. And like mentioned before you need to clean the litter boxes regularly and provide food on a clean plate. Scratch posts may wear and tear of everyday scratching, you would need to replace one every 3-6 months. Carriers are to keep them tucked while transportation and trust me, cats hate traveling in cars.
11. Grooming and cleaning
You don’t need to bathe your cats regularly, as a matter of fact you shouldn’t bathe them regularly at all. Cats catch cold and fall sick if soaked in water too much. Cats keep themselves clean by licking. But they do require brushing or combing on a daily basis. Regular brushing will keep your pet’s fur clean and reduce fur shedding. Sometimes cats too catch ticks, you’ll require flea powders to kill the ticks. Consult your vet for good flea powders.
12. Communicating with your cat
Forming a bond is not only a very important aspect of having a pet but it’s also a very intriguing one. First of all pick a name for your pet and call your pet by the name from the very beginning. For your cat to learn it’s name and respond to it, a little training is required. This is called rewarding – call your kitty by the name frequently and whenever you get a response in a approaching manner, reward your kitty with food and affection.
Animals communicate using body language and sounds, so learn to recognize them. Here are a few example to help you out –
a.Purring: Happy, mostly done while looking for affection or getting cuddled.
b.Hissing/Lashing or twitching tail and/or back arched and fur and tail fluffed up: Angry or afraid.
c.Loud or constant meowing: Seeking attention– it can be hunger, boredom, loneliness etc.
d.Ears raised forward: anxious to know or curious.
e.Rubbing up against leg: Welcoming or accepting presence.