When you want to be sure you are getting a healthy, purebred cat, you should buy it from a reputable breeder. Another option that might be even more rewarding is adopting a cat that needs a new and caring home.
Buying a cat from a breeder can be quite expensive, or there might be no reputable breeders in your location. Also, sometimes we fall in love with cats found in shelters, or in some cases, on the street.
That’s when you know you would rather take that cat than any other, and getting another cat is no longer an option. Still, there are so many things for you to consider when adopting a cat from the shelter or street. As someone who has done it several times, I can tell you more about what you can expect.
My Personal Experience on adopting
For a start, I want to share my own experience. The first cat I ever had was a gift, and when she had her first kittens, I kept the kittens too. She is no longer with us, and only one of her kittens is still around.
However, I didn’t stop there. I also adopted several cats from a shelter, and one of my cats simply came to my home from somewhere. I didn’t have the heart to refuse its pleas for food and a home.
One of the cats I adopted from the local shelter is Mishka. Mishka is an orange-white female cat that’s approximately one year old. When I first saw her, she was around two months old, but she was so skinny and malnourished that she looked much younger.
She had the tiniest and cutest cat voice I had ever heard, and when she saw she got my attention, she rolled and showed me her little belly. That was the moment I knew I would take her home.
She showed no fear when I took her into my hands. It was as if she was waiting for me to come and save her. I could feel her spine and ribs right under her skin; that’s how hungry that poor baby was. This is how she looked on our drive home.
As you can see, her fur was dirty, and she had something under her eye that looked like a scab or something like that. When we arrived home, she immediately noticed some uneaten dry food from my other cats.
She started eating it like there was no tomorrow, and she was clearly amazed by how much food there was. Poor thing probably never saw that much food in her whole life.
My other cats were curious, and after several sniffings, they quickly accepted her. Mishka showed her playful and cuddly nature right from the start. Soon enough, she became the most adored, spoiled, and pampered cat ever.
However, the thing under her eye was not a scab. It was actually some sort of secretion from her eye. I took her to the vet soon after I got her to make sure she is dewormed and vaccinated. This is extremely important when you adopt a cat, especially a stray, to take it to the vet as soon as possible.
The vet told me she had a compromised respiratory system and that she would always be prone to infections. Such infections also show on her eye, and she will never be completely cured. Still, I could try and keep her condition(s) under control through regular checkups and treatments.
That’s exactly what I did. I took her to the vet more times than I can remember. Sometimes, she would seem completely healthy, and her eyes would get 100% clean. Then, she would start sneezing, coughing, and drooling, and that mark under her eye would appear again.
Despite this recurring issue with her respiratory tract, Mishka is one happy cat. I spoil her like a princess. That little kitten that was happy to eat leftovers from other cats is long gone. Today, Mishka won’t eat anything that’s sitting in her bowl for longer than 10 minutes.
This is her today, playing with her favorite toy. She has more toys than I did growing up, but I like seeing her happy and enjoying life.
Since I got her, I have put so much time and effort to protect her and make sure she gets well. I don’t even want to think about the money I spent on her. Still, I think it was worth it, and I will always fight for Mishka and her well-being.
After all, I have no better companion than her. She is always by my side, providing company while I work, or simply sleeping somewhere near me. Sometimes she gets mischievous, but that’s part of her charm.
She is still showing her belly when she wants to cuddle or when she does something bad and wants to appease me. I have to admit, it works every time! Once I see that cute belly, I can’t be mad!
Could you be mad at this cute face? I don’t think so!
Potential Issues To Expect When Adopting A Cat
As you can see from my experience with Mishka, adopting a cat is a rewarding experience. Nonetheless, it also comes with many potential issues. Health issues are the most common.
Cats you can find in shelters or on the street are at much higher risk of contracting and carrying various diseases. Since their parents are often unknown, you can never know if they can have some inherited disease.
Most shelters will do full check-ups on cats they take in, but after adopting, it is still recommended that you take your cat to the vet once again.
Shelter cats and strays might be hard to deal with in terms of behavior. Such cats have often been victims of abuse and neglect, and they won’t be as trusting as cats born and raised by breeders.
Just like new kittens, adopted cats will often need some time to adapt to their new home. If they had some negative experiences with humans, they might not be so cuddly and playful. Instead, they will be more distrustful and wary around you.
Still, there are exceptions to this rule, and if you are lucky as I was, you could find a gentle and sweet cat just like I did. Looking at Mishka and how outgoing she was, no one could guess she was once separated from her mother, discarded, and left in a shelter that was already overcrowded.
Today, she shows no signs of those rough times. She likes to play with other cats and humans, even if they are strangers (although she doesn’t really like children). With little patience and love, your cat can become like that too!
Positive Aspects Of Adopting A Cat
Adopting a cat from a shelter or street practically saves lives. Many shelter cats or strays would otherwise spend their lives suffering loneliness and fall victim to untimely deaths if someone doesn’t adopt them.
While it may come with some quirks and issues, an adopted cat can be just as good a pet as the one you bought straight from the breeder. Their lives are equally valuable, and they deserve all the love that you would give to the cat you bought.
If you adopt a cat from the shelter you also help all the other animals in that shelter. More resources will remain for other animals in that shelter. Sadly, you can’t adopt all shelter animals, but even when you adopt only one, there will be more food, medicine, and other necessities for the remaining animals.
What to consider when Adopting A Cat From A Shelter
First, you need to decide if you are ready for the commitment. Caring for a cat takes time, energy, money, and patience. Be sure you are able to provide all that your new pet will need before making the adoption decision.
The Most Important Steps Before Adopting
Do your research. There are many different types of cats to choose from, so take some time to learn about the different breeds and personalities. This will help you find the perfect match for your lifestyle and family.
Your local shelter probably doesn’t have a wide selection of different cat breeds, but it is still useful to learn more about different cats and their needs before you decide to adopt one. Some shelters provide basic medical care to the animal. You should check with the person that was responsible for your cat if they ever took it to the vet, how frequently, and whether the cat was vaccinated.
Choose an adoption option that is right for you. There are many different ways to adopt a cat, so choose the option that best fits your needs. For example, you can adopt from a local animal shelter, rescue organization, or even directly from a breeder.
Prepare to pay an adoption fee. Adoption fees vary depending on the facility or organization but typically range from $50-$200. This fee helps cover the cost of care for the animal and provides money to support the organization’s future rescue efforts.
Making Everything Ready For the New Cat
Get everything ready for your new arrival. Before bringing your new cat home, be sure to have food, water, litter, and toys readily available. You may also want to purchase a scratching post or cat tree to help your feline friend feel comfortable and at home.
If the cat wasn’t taken to the vet or missed some vaccines and other necessary treatments, make sure to bring it to your local vet, who will provide the needed treatments and medications. This way, you will ensure that you did everything in your power to keep your new pet healthy.
Adopting A Cat From The Street
If you frequently see cats walking around your neighborhood, you have probably felt the impulse to take one of them home. However, not every one of them is a stray cat; in fact, most of those cats probably belong to someone.
How To Know If a Cat Is Stray?
You will know the cat belongs to someone if it is well-groomed, well-fed, and it has a collar. However, even if the cat looks shabby and kinda skinny, it doesn’t mean it is a stray, it might just be old or sick.
One sign that a cat could be a stray is that it is hungry and begs for food. Still, anyone who owns cats knows how greedy cats can be, even if they are fed regularly. If you ever met my cats, you would certainly think they are strays when they start meowing and begging for food.
If unsure, you could always ask around your neighborhood about a particular cat. Your neighbors will probably know if the cat in question belongs to someone, or you can take it. However, keep in mind that some cats can travel long distances when they go out to play and explore, and just because none of your neighbors owns that cat doesn’t mean that it has no owner.
If you notice that the cat in question is always on the street or nearby, then you can assume it is a stray, especially if you live in a place where stray cats and/or dogs aren’t so uncommon.
Finally, if you can catch it, you can take the cat to the vet’s office, where the vet will be able to assess their medical condition and whether they are chipped. If they have a chip, you might be able to find their owner.
Taking a Stray Cat Home
In the end, if you are 100% certain that the cat belongs to no one, you can take it. In that case, you will still need to take it to the vet in order to have it vaccinated. The vet will probably give it some deworming medication, check for fleas as well as give it antibiotics.
When you take this cat back to your home, give it some time to adjust. Leave food and water in a place where they will be able to reach it, as well as the litter box. Most cats have natural instincts to look for appropriate toilets, and your new cat will probably quickly learn how to use the litter box.
Ensure to provide a scratch tree, cat bed, and toys to your new cat. If it spent most of its life on the streets, adjusting to life indoors will require some time. However, with a little bit of patience and lots of love, your cat will soon forget its struggles and enjoy its home!