When Adopting Cats, Consider Two

Here are two questions/answers which appear in my Tribune Media Services syndicated columns, both tying into the American Humane Association's Adopt-A-Cat Month.

      Q: I'm thinking of adopting a new cat. I've had cats all my life, and this is my first period being 'catless.' In the past, cats have just showed up at my door. Any suggestions? -- B.J., Cyberspace

    

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Help these guys to break out, in pairs

A: There's nothing worse than being catless. In fact, what you really need are two cats. Animal shelters are never catless.

The most efficient method of finding a new cat may be to let your mouse do the work at petfinder.com. Search the enormous database for shelters and/or individual animals by geographic location. Visiting the cat you pick in person (bring the whole family) is strongly suggested before adopting. If you can take two cats, look for two adults living together (in harmony) or two littermates.

As the American Humane Association's Adopt-A-Cat month comes to a close, it's important to know that thousands of shelter cats are available for adoption year-round.

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For tips on cat care, check out CATegorical Care: An Owner's Guide to America's No. 1 Companion, available free at .catalystcouncil.org. (I was primary editor on the guide, published in conjunction with the American Humane Association, CATalyst Council, American Veterinary Medical Association, and the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators.)

      Q: Fourteen years ago, I adopted three cats from our local humane society. Within the past nine months, I lost my youngest and oldest cat. Remaining is Hunter, my 17-year-old. He seems lost, or lonely. Or maybe old age is just creeping up on him. Initially, he didn't seem to care that the other cats died. I'm conflicted. Do you think adopting another playmate would help him? -- W.C., Eagan, MN

     A: This is always a tough call. First, have Hunter checked out by your veterinarian, not only for disease but also (based on your saying he seems lost or lonely) for cognitive dysfunction (similar to Alzheimer's disease in people).

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So many cats need a home - you can help. It's not their fault they are there; they have done nothing wrong

Sometimes when profound changes occur in their lives, cats don't wear their emotions on their sleeves.

If Hunter checks out and is reasonably spry, consider adopting a pair of kittens. If you take in just one, the tyke might drive your seasoned cat crazy. Two kittens would have one another to play with. If you're lucky, Hunter might even join their play, but if not, watching them might be enriching. Note: Introduce any newcomer(s) to your existing cat very gradually.
© Steve Dale, Tribune Media Services

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