Monday, May 21, 2012

What to Expect - The Search for a Kitty

You're ready to welcome a pet to your family and have decided on adopting a kitty. Do you know how to begin your search and what to expect? You may wonder "Will I find the perfect furry friend, or will my new friend find me"?

Searching through the maze of shelters and rescue groups may leave your exhausted and confused. Before you begin your search it is important to have a plan and know what to expect.

First, you have some decisions to make

Baby kitten, Young, Adult or Senior Cat?

Kittens are so tiny, cute and playful how can you resist? You need to remember that kittens need a lot of extra time and care. It will be necessary to "kitten-proof" to rid you home of dangers that your curious baby kitty will be sure to get into. Kittens need supervision and will not be able to be left alone for long periods of time.  They will need assistance to get accustomed to using the litter box. 

Do you hope your new friend is outgoing and playful? Quiet and shy? Maybe you would prefer a loving lap cat.  Personality develops within the first 6 months of a cat's life so by adopting young cat (6 mo - 1 yr old) you will better be able to see their personality.  

Looking for a loyal companion to spend quiet time with? Consider adopting an adult or senior cat.  Older cats are often overlooked at shelters and one of them may be the perfect new friend you are looking for.

Other Pets

Do you have other pets in your home? Their needs must be taken into account.  If there is a male cat in the home introducing a female into the family will be more accepted since they will not be seen as a threat to their territory.

Second, Begin your search

After these decisions have been made start by searching for shelters and rescue groups in your area.  Rescue groups may either have their adoptees in designated areas in pet stores or in foster care.

When you first visit a shelter or contact a rescue group you will be asked many questions, that may include:

Reason for adopting a pet
Availability of references (both vet and personal)
Prior pet experience
If you own or rent your home 

I have even been asked about what flea preventatives I choose to use on my dog and why.  These questions may seem overwhelming but are part of your journey to your new friend.  Use this opportunity to ask questions as well.  Important questions to ask include:

What information do you have on the background of each cat?
Have they been tested for FIV and FeLV?
Have they had all their required vaccinations?
Have they been spayed/neutered? 

Visiting a shelter will allow you to see many cats of various ages together in one spot. You may find this helpful.  However, if you find this to be overwhelming, visiting cats in foster care may be a better choice. Rescue groups who have their kitties in foster care will first speak to you about the type of cat you are searching for. They will then match you up with their available kitties and make appointments for you to visit them. 

Finding the perfect new addition to you pet family may take some time, thought and effort but the results will be a friendship and memories that will last a lifetime. It's best to remember that while you are searching for your new furry friend, your new friend is also searching for you.

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