Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Adopting a Shelter Cat

Before you go to the animal shelter to adopt your new cat it is best to get your home and the cats safe room ready.  The safe room is where you will keep the cat while they get acclimated to your new home.  It is not wise to release a new cat into your home and expect every animal to welcome them.  It takes time and it is less stressful on everyone if you socialize the new cat with home and other pets. 

 What Cat is Right for You
Decide on the type of cat that would be best for your family.  Do this by reading cat magazines and cat breed books.  Familiarizing yourself with the many breeds of cats, by learning more about the cat's characteristics and mannerisms you will be able to adopt the cat that is suited to your lifestyle.  I adopted a blue point Siamese cat.  This cat is sweet, loving and I was able to teach to retrieve a toy mouse.  The cat has a lot of energy and his characteristics and mannerisms may not be a good fit for all families.   The animal shelters have all breeds of cats as well as alley cats so it is best to read up on cats before you adopt a cat from a shelter.  Another thing to consider is the hair length of the cat.  A long haired cat will need to be brushed on a regular basis whereas a short haired cat does not need as much care.

Choosing a Shelter Cat
When you arrive at the shelter tell the worker what type of cat you are looking for; particular breed, age of cat, color, hair type.  If you want a kitten then you will be taken to the kitten room.  If you want a mature cat that tends to sleep more than play then the worker will show you where you can find this type of cat.

Approach the cats in the crates slowly and refrain from talking loudly.  The cats know that you are there, there is no need to announce your presence.  Stand directly outside of the crate and speak softly to the cat.  Watch to see if the cat comes to greet you.  Does the cat rub on the bars?  If so pet the cat through the bars and continue to talk softly to the cat. Does the cat purr?  If so then this cat likes you and would like to bond with you.  Ask the shelter worker if you could get a closer look at the cat.  They will take the cat and put them in an area where you can interact with the cat.

Shelter Cat Checklist
Before you adopt the cat or kitten from the shelter, check the cats medical records.
Has the cat been tested for Feline Leukemia and other contagious cat viruses.
Is the cat current with vaccines?
Does the cat need to be wormed for intestinal parasites?
Does the cat have fleas, ticks or ear mites?
Does the cat need to be spayed or neutered?

Make an appointment for a wellness check up for the new cat.  All new cats must be checked by veterinarian before you socialize them with your pets. Bring the cats paperwork from the shelter with you and give to your veterinarian.  This paperwork will help your veterinarian to determine what medical care is needed for the adopted cat.

Notes from SGolis:
The cats in the back of the crates that will not look at you may be afraid of humans or they may be lonesome for their previous owner, take in consideration that these cats may have been surrendered by a lifelong master that may have had to go to a nursing home.  Read the chart on the cat to learn more about the cat.  The cat may be shy because they are lonesome for their master.

I have adopted a mature cat that had been surrendered by the family when the cat's master had died.   The cat was mourning the loss of their master.  I took the cat and socialized it for 30 days.  The cat was sweet and loving and was the perfect match for my friend who had recently lost her cat.  Cats may suffer from heartache however they do have the ability to forget the loss and they will love again.  They just need time to acclimate to their new home.

Whenever I bring a new cat into the home I will set up a safe room and treat the room with a Feliway diffuser.  I plug the diffuser into electrical outlet and it emits a scent that is soothing to the cat.  It is a good way to keep the cat happy and comfortable in new home.  

Adopt the cat that chooses you, they will do this by rubbing on you, purring and talking to you.  Cats are good judge of character and they can sense the type of person that you.

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