Thinking of Adopting a Cat for the First Time – Are you ready?

 

You don’t  really know the reason but you are thinking of adopting a cat for the first timeThinking-of-adopting-a-cat-for-the-first-time

Sometimes,  it is because you find yourself alone and you want some company,  or maybe you have a friend with a cat who told you about the benefits of having a cat (cats are great stress-relievers).  Perhaps you need a pet but you don’t want to wake up early to take him/her for a walk,  or are you an empty nester who is missing someone to talk?

For whatever the reason you are thinking of adopting a cat for the first time, please keep in mind that adopting a cat is a lifetime commitment, so it is important to consider some factors before rushing into a decision that you may regret later.

Think that a cat is not a child or a dog. Cats’ are unique creatures.   Some of their traits may cause frustration because you don’t understand their needs.  If you adopt a cat, it is your job to accommodate those needs in the best possible way.

Adopting your first cat is a huge step, not to be taken lightly. We all know that  cats have a reputation for independent natures which does not equal “no care is necessary.” Before rushing into getting that cute kitten that you fell in love with, take the time to do your homework to understand cats better by knowing why they do the things they do.  It will help you to avoid common mistakes made by new cat owners and even experienced cat owners.

If you do that, be sure that you will have a happy and healthy cat and you will have a  long-term companionship with an awesome creature.

To help you to take the best decision, I have made a list of what I think are the most important points to consider before thinking of adopting a cat for the first time:

7 Points to consider before thinking of adopting a cat for the first time

1) Are you ready to assume the Costs of Responsible Cat Care?

Having a cat will be much like having a new child in the family, you have to be financially prepared to give him/her the best possible care.  It doesn’t mean that you have to spend lots of money.  Even if your budget is tight but you are willing to make certain sacrifices for the sake of having the pleasures of a cat in your life, then you may be able to accomplish that dream.

You have to be prepared for taking care of the cat’s basic needs as well as being prepared for emergencies.  One good advice is to invest in Pet Insurance as soon as you adopt your first cat, as your cat grows, it will help you save money many times.

2) Don’t “Rush”

Many times we are guilty of being “impulse-buyers”.  We can’t wait to buy that new shirt or that new pair of shoes which we can return if it turns out to be the wrong size or simple if we don’t like the way it fits.  There is nothing amiss, the item you return doesn’t suffer from its rejection.

That’s not the case when you adopt a cat.  Adopting a new cat should be for keeps.  If you adopt a cat or a kitten, you are making him/her a family member.  The cat is a living, sentient creature who will suffer if you reject him or treat him poorly.  Please consider carefully if you are thinking of adopting a cat for the first time. 

Contrary to popular opinion,  cats are very social animals who love attention from their humans. Taking at least 10-15 minutes a day to play with your cat and pet him, will make a huge difference between a happy cat and a nuisance.

3) It is essential to Spay or Neuter a New Cat 

thinking-of-adopting-a-cat-for-the-first-timeEvery day and everywhere we read pleas for help from people who failed to spay or neuter their cats.  The overwhelming cat population is a problem that society faces because people fail to spay or neuter their cats.  With so many cats around, there is no reason not to do so.

4) Consider spending  the money necessary for veterinary care

Having a new member of the family always comes with responsibilities and attendant costs.  Think carefully if you want or can spend the money necessary for vaccinations, and veterinary care.

Cats may quickly recover from minor illnesses but they can just as quickly die if an emergency isn’t recognized.  Cats need annual examinations, certain vaccinations and they definitely need and deserve immediate veterinary care if they become sick or injured.

As you would do with your new baby, don’t delay in choosing (and using) a good veterinarian.

5) Declawing Without All the Facts

If you care your furniture more than your cat, chances are that you are not ready to adopt a cat.  Declawing is not a “routine” surgery.  Declawing is the surgical amputation of the first knuckle of each toe, it is extremely painful, dangerous to the cat and patently inhumane.  Declawed cats turn to biting or spraying urine after being declawed. Learn the facts so that you can make an informed decision.

Cats instinctively seek out high places and sharpen their claws because they need scratching exercise, not because they are stubborn and disobedient.  If you are thinking of adopting a cat for the first time, a good scratching post and regular nail clipping are a must.

6) Don’t  “save money” in Cat Food Choices Cat Food Cat-Food-choices

The old maxim, “You get what you pay for,” is particularly true where it comes to cat food.  If you don’t want to spend money and time on veterinary visits, don’t try to save money buying cheap cat food.  Cats are obligate carnivores and need a good source of meat protein.

Even if cats do not need carbohydrates, corn, wheat, and/or rice are used as fillers for both canned and dry cat foods,  as a cheap source of protein.

Studies have shown that cats eat as much as they need to get the nutrients they require. Therefore, you will find your cat may eat less of that generously-carbohydrate-filled store brand to get the nutrients they need in a normal feeding of premium food.

7) Litter Box Maintenance

The cat’s sense of smell is 14 times stronger than ours.  Cats hate dirty, stinky litter boxes, they like it scrupulously clean.  Even if you think that it smells reasonably clean, your cat with his/her discerning olfactory senses might decide that the litter box is not clean enough and may be driven to search for substitutes, whether it be your bathroom, the carpet of a  basket of clean laundry in the closet.

Of course, there are many other things to learn and consider if you decide to adopt a cat but these are what we consider the main starting points to keep in mind if you are thinking of adopting a cat for the first time.  Hope this post helps you to take the right decision.

If you are thinking of adopting a cat and have questions or need some advice, please let me know and I will be glad to help you!

2 Comments

  • Valerie says:

    Thanks for bringing up all these excellent points to consider before adopting a cat. Some people don’t realize how expensive it is, or they don’t see the pet as a family member and worth the cost of getting the appropriate care and then they are left to suffer in pain. A great article that anyone thinking about adopting a pet should read.

    • Martha says:

      Hi Valerie,
      Thank you for your comment. You are right, many people don’t think too much before adopting a pet and they get them as if they were a shirt or a pair of shoes, but they do not realize that they are taking on responsibilities like when they adopt a child.
      The purpose of this website is to help and educate people how to understand our cats and take good care of them 🙂
      Martha

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