Animal shelters are good sources of domesticated pets. Most shelters have cats and dogs for adoption. There are shelters that include other household pets such as birds and small mammals. Adopting pets from shelters can be rewarding. Many people find joy in saving the life of a shelter animal. The animal benefits the most by having a new loving family and nurturing surroundings.
In the United States about 4 to 6 million cats and dogs are euthanized each year in animal shelters. Shelters are often overpopulated with displaced animals. These animals often make great pets with love, safety and a little training. Many of them were once cherished members of the owner’s family. Others were born to strays and have never known a safe and loving home.
Traits and temperaments
Cat shelters have a mix of adoptable breeds. Some can be purebreds. Others have unique features. They can be of different sizes and ages. Many prefer to adopt an older cat that fits well into their lifestyle. Many prefer to know what they are getting into. Since the cat’s size and personality are already mature there will be no surprises.
Adopting a cat from a shelter is cheaper than going to a breeder or pet shop. Keep in mind that the real cost of a furry pal is not only about with its initial cost. There are other sosts to consider such as feeding, grooming, health care and equipment. If you want to have a household pet, be sure that your budget is enough to provide for the basic needs of your cat.
Basic medical care
Not all shelters are alike. Some are no-kill shelters. Although their poilicy is to keep the animals alive, they do have a cap. They can’t take in new ones until older residents have been adopted. Some shelters keep animal health records and histories when available. Before adopting a pet, ask if they have those.
Many shelter pets are there because their family cannot care for them anymore. Their owner has passed away, moved to a place that does not allow pets or a family member has become allergic. Some animals come to shelters in good health and all are grateful for a good home.
Many shelters spay and nueter cats before adoption. Others ask you to pay a discounted rate for the surgery undergone by your chosen feline. Most of the cats have already had their vaccines. Many cats are already house broken. They behave well and get along with children and other house pets.
Adopting with a purpose
Adopting a cat from a shelter helps solve the overpopulation problem of displaced pets. Shelters are not focused on profits of selling cats. They do want to be sure that the pet is going to a good home. Some ask for references or do a background check. Some ask you to wait a few days until the background check clears. This is to make sure that the animal will get the care it needs. Shelter cats have good training enabling them to mingle with other animals with ease. They are not agitated by other pets and enjoy the company.
Training an older cat
An older cat is a good choice if you want them to come already trained. Many worry that cats in shelters are there because of behavior problems. Many came from loving homes where past owners just do not have the means to provide for their basic needs.
A cat used to affection may become stressed by the sudden change in living conditions. It may not be used to staying in a cage with little exercise. It may have the tendency to look for its previous owner. Many are sad and missing their previous owner. You will need to be very patient until it comes around. Give the cat affection, guidance and an ample time to adjust to a new environment.
Building ties with shelter cats
Cats in shelters are experiencing a certain level of stress. Cages can be a new venue for them. They may miss their previous home and owner with whom they have built trust and familiarity. Moving to a new place brings stress for the pet. Sometimes they bond with the shelter caretakers and other animals. It can be difficult to leave so many familiar things behind. Bonding with your new pet cat is essential to establish a good relationship. Play with it as your feline friend explores its new surroundings. Let it sleep in your room or prepare a special location where the pet can rest.
Having a well-spaced cage for your new cat is an option. A clean cage is like a den for your pet. This will keep it safe when you are away and make sure it doesn’t get into trouble. Once the cat feels safe in it’s new environment it may enjoy leaving the cage. Some cats are so glad to be out of a cage that they don’t want to go in. Cats are adaptable. Just be patient and supportive.
Consider the physical health of your pet. Some cats may be fat while others may be undernourished. Some owners fed their cat too much or lower quality food. Others were not fed enough. Cats can be finicky so ask the shelter’s caretaker what food they use. Give that to your new kitty at the start. Do this for a week or so until your pet has adjusted. Changing its diet is fine, but best if done gradually. Try mixing the new food in with the old until your cat eats the new food.
Grooming and training cats
Your pet should have a bath and grooming before leaving the shelter. Most shelters have limited time and facilities and may not offer this. If so, take some time to bathe and groom your new pet. Trim it’s claws and comb it out. Make this an enjoyable experience. This can be a start of a better bonding and trust.
When teaching tricks or any activity, provide a structured training. Take your time. Your new cat has many adjustments to make. Be patient, show affection, and be firm. It’s important to be consistent when giving instructions to your pets. Family members should use similar commands and reward systems.
Research and references
Adopted cats have special challenges. You should read up on the best tips and tricks of raising a shelter cat. Take time to read before and after adoption. This way you will know what to expect before making this decision. You will also know what to do once situations arise.
Cat shelters offer safe havens for feline pets. These give them an opportunity to have a second chance with a loving owner. Planning and research go a long way in making sure that the adoption is successful. Remember, many of these cats are homeless by no fault of their own. Adopting a cat from a shelter gives you the satisfaction of saving a life. Sharing your time and affection with an abandoned pet is priceless. Invite a homeless cat into your life and you will have a friend forever.