Leading National Animal Organizations
Two Feline Friends Are
Better Than One
Humane Association, American Veterinary Medical Association,
Council, and Petfinder Offer Top 10 Checklist for Cat Parents and Parents-To-Be
Millions of Americans will heed the national call to visit their local shelter
or rescue center during Adopt-A-Cat Month this June, and leading national
animal organizations are encouraging families and individuals interested in
adopting a cat to take home not just one kitty, but two.
This is among the "Top 10" suggestions
from American Humane Association, American Veterinary Medical Association, CATalyst
Council and Petfinder. The four organizations collaborated to create a Top Ten
Checklist to help navigate the weighty decisions that come with the awesome
responsibilities of pet adoption. They have also created an online resource
center - available at for use by shelters, veterinarians,
individuals and anyone who wants to ensure the well-being of cats.
TOP TEN CHECKLIST FOR ADOPTING A CAT
you're thinking about adopting a cat, consider taking home two. Cats require exercise, mental
stimulation and social interaction. Two cats can provide this for each other.
Plus they'll provide more benefits to you. Cats' purring has been shown to
soothe humans as well as themselves - and they have an uncanny ability to just
make you smile. A great place to start your search is online. Sites like Petfinder.com
let you search numerous shelters in your area simultaneously to help narrow
your search and more quickly find the match that's right for you and your new
a cat whose personality meshes with yours. Just as we each have our own
personality, so do cats. In general, cats with long hair and round heads and
bodies are more easygoing than lean cats with narrow heads and short hair, who
are typically more active. Adoption counselors can offer advice to help you
match the individual cat's personality with your own.
"Shelters and rescue groups have all
kinds of cats - from playful kittens to mellow seniors - making them great
places to find your perfect match," says Betsy Saul, founder of Petfinder.com.
"And as a bonus, by adopting, you're saving a life."
Pick out a veterinarian ahead of time and
schedule a visit within the first few days following the adoption. You'll
want to take any medical records you received from the adoption center on your
first visit. Due to their immaturity, kittens in particular should accompany
you to make the appointment - even before the exam itself - so staff can pet
the cat and tell you that you've chosen the most beautiful one ever and the
animal will have a positive association with the veterinarian's office.
"Regular veterinary care is critically
important to the health and well-being of your cat," says Dr. Larry Kornegay,
president of the AVMA. "Getting your
new cat to a veterinarian early will help make sure there are no underlying
illnesses or injuries, and your veterinarian can work with you to
develop a plan to help your new pet live the happiest, healthiest, longest life
sure everyone in the house is prepared to have a cat before your new pet comes
home. Visiting the shelter or animal control facility should be a
family affair. When adopting a new cat with existing pets at home, discuss with
the adoption facility how to make a proper introduction.
for the short- and long-term costs of a cat. Understand
any pet is a responsibility and there's a cost associated with that. A cat
adopted from a shelter is a bargain; many facilities will have already provided
spaying or neutering, initial vaccines, and a microchip for permanent identification.
Plus, shelters and rescue groups are there to offer guidance and assistance as
you acclimate your new family member.
up on supplies before the cat
arrives. Be prepared so your new cat can start
feeling at home right away. Your cat will need a litter box, cat litter, food
and water bowls, food, scratching posts, safe and stimulating toys, a cushy
bed, a brush for grooming, a toothbrush and nail clippers.
your home. A
new cat will quickly teach you not to leave things lying out. Food left on the
kitchen counter will serve to teach your new friend to jump on counters for a
possible lunch. Get rid of loose items your cat might chew on, watch to ensure
the kitten isn't chewing on electric cords, and pick up random items like paper
clips (which kittens may swallow).
slowly when introducing your cat to new friends and family. It
can take several weeks for a cat to relax in a new environment. It's a great
idea to keep the new addition secluded in a single room (with a litter box,
food and water, toys and the cat carrier left out and open with bedding inside)
until the cat is used to the new surroundings; this is particularly important
if you have other pets. If you've adopted a kitten, socialization is very
important. But remember - take it slow.
"Cats are social animals and like to live
in groups, so adding a new feline friend to the household can increase
enjoyment for everyone," said Dr. Jane Brunt, CATalyst Council Executive Director.
"Making introductions gradually is important, as scientific studies show that
some cats can become upset with even a minor change in their environment. So
for fast friends, go slow."
9. Be sure to include your new pet in your
family's emergency plan. You probably have a plan in place for
getting your family to safety in case of an emergency. Adjust this plan to
include your pets. Add phone numbers for your veterinarian and closest 24-hour
animal hospital to your "in-case-of-emergency" call list, and be sure to have a
several-day supply of your pet's food and medications on hand.
sure your pets will be safe in an emergency situation is a critical part of
ensuring the wellbeing of your entire family," said Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane Association. "By having an emergency plan
for the animals in your house, you could literally be saving lives - your pets,
your own, and those involved in rescue efforts - and will make it easier to
return to a normal life after the emergency is over."
10. If you're considering giving a cat as a
gift, make sure the recipient is an active participant in the adoption process.
Though well-meaning, the surprise kitty gift doesn't allow for a "get-to know-one-another"
period. Remember, adopting a cat isn't like purchasing a household appliance or
a piece of jewelry - this is a real living, breathing, and emotional
Tags: adopt a cat month, adopting cats, American Humane Associaiton, American Veterinary Medical Association, animal shelters, Betsy Saul, cat adoption, cat litter, CATalyst Council, cats are social, Dr Larry Kornegay, Dr. Jane Brunt, kittens, kitty litter, microchipping cats, Petfinder, petfinder.com, purring cats, Red Star Emergency Services, Robin Ganzert, spay/neuter, Steve Dale archives, vaccinations for cats