We chat to The Mayhew Animal Home, and discover their seven essential tips for responsibly adopting a new kitten or cat…
1. Consider the commitment you are about to make
Cat ownership requires commitment and a responsible attitude, and should never be entered into lightly. Just like welcoming a new baby, you will have to make adjustments to your life so think long and hard about whether your new cat will suit your personality and lifestyle. Make sure to think about these questions:
– Are you willing to make a long term commitment?
Cats can live for up to 20 years, can you make a lifelong commitment to your cat?
– Is your home suitable?
Cats will need access to a garden or outside space to roam around. If your home doesn’t have a garden or you live on a busy road, you may need to consider adopting an indoor cat who is more than happy to stay inside.
– Will owning a cat suit your working hours?
Although cats are independent, if you work long hours, it is advisable to adopt a pair of cats to keep each other company whilst you are at work. Cats can become lonely, bored and depressed without stimulus and care, so committing to a kitty will mean putting in the hours to shower them with love and play.
– Would you like a kitten or an adult cat?
Kittens need a lot of stimulus and interaction and should not be left alone for long periods. An older cat is as equally entertaining as a kitten and will make a fantastic companion.
– Can you afford to keep a cat?
In addition to the initial cost of getting a cat, it is estimated that ongoing costs such as food, veterinary fees, treatments and pet insurance are approximately £10 a week. The rewards of having a cat in your life greatly outweigh the costs, but make sure you have the pennies to spend before committing to caring for a new pet.
2. Do your homework on how to care for a cat
You will have full responsibility for your cat’s welfare. Although your rescue centre and vet will provide you with information on how to properly care for your cat, you should research how to keep your cat happy and healthy. This will include feeding, grooming, play time and keeping vaccinations up to date. The Mayhew produces an in-depth Cat Care guide to find out all you need to know about keeping a kitty happy.
3. Find a rescue centre
Your local telephone directory, or websites such as catchat.org, can help you find a rescue centre nearby. It is a common misconception that rescue cats have ended up in shelters through some fault of their own, such as bad behaviour. The vast majority of cats end up in rescues because of unexpected litters or lack of commitment. The Mayhew, in North West London, will happily provide you with a wealth of information about the adoption process and the cats in their care, to make sure that the adoption is a perfect match.
All cats and kittens that are adopted from The Mayhew will have been thoroughly vet checked, fleaed, wormed, microchipped, neutered and received their first set of vaccinations. Adopting a cat this way means you can be assured that your new feline companion is in tip top shape and healthy.
4. Visit the rescue centre
Be prepared to answer questions about yourself, where you live, your previous cat experience and what you are looking for in a cat. The rescue centre may ask these questions to make sure they match you with your perfect feline partner.
Keep an open mind when choosing a cat and do not rush the process. If it’s possible, ask to interact with the cats so you can assess their personalities more.
5. Home visit
Once you have found “the one”, the rescue centre may carry out a home visit. This is to ensure that the cat is homed in an environment where they will be happy for the rest of their lives. The rescue centre will be able to point of things which you may have overlooked, such as fireplaces and removing plants that are toxic to your pet.
6. Taking your cat home
When you open the carrier containing your cat, make sure all windows and doors are closed. Place the carrier in one secure room and open the door. Your cat may be a little overwhelmed so don’t try and coax them out. Instead, allow your cat to explore its new home and wait for it to approach you and other members of the family. Be patient, your new furry friend will soon be happy and settled.
7. Post adoption care
Within the first month of bringing your cat home, you should register them with your local vet. It’s your responsibility to make sure your cat receives its annual booster vaccinations, flea and worming treatments.
Look out for any changes in your cat’s food consumption, drinking and toilet habits. Keep your eyes open for evidence of fleas, ticks and other parasites. Regularly examine your cat’s mouth for signs of disease. Check your cat’s eyes, ears and coat for any abnormalities.