Wednesday, July 13, 2005

What Advice Would You Offer to New Cat People? -- FAQ

Today marks exactly nine months since the day we brought Arthur and Beowulf home with us. My fiancee Liz and I adopted the boys on November 13th, 2004, but we spent several weeks pondering and planning for our adoption experience before that.

Before adopting the boys, I read a lot of articles for new cat parents. Now, I'm a small-time advocate for cats, because I keep trying to convince people I know to adopt. If you're considering cats, here are my two cents:

  • Do it: Really, you will love living with cats. You will make sacrifices for them; they may even make the occasional mess, but about a week after you adopt, you will forget how you ever lived without them. When your cats purr for you, you will fall in love.

  • Be Choosy: A lot of people adopt a cat that someone else offers them or go to just one shelter and adopt the first cat they see. But remember that cats can live more than 20 years. Even if you get an adult cat, you're entering a long-term relationship. So choose your cat wisely.

    If you have your heart set on a male gray kitten, keep going to different shelters until you find one that you can bond with. It's not selfish to want a particular gender, color, age or personality of cat. Remember, you'll be saving a life no matter which cat(s) you adopt.

    By the way, don't be put off if the cat you want is not friendly to you in the shelter. I almost made the mistake of adopting a different pair of cats because my boys were not friendly to me when I played with them at the shelter. As soon as I got them home, we started bonding. The way a cat acts in the shelter is no indication of how he'll act when you adopt him. However, you can get a general sense of whether a cat is skittish, playful, or curious. My boys were very curious but not playful or affectionate with us in the shelter. As soon as we got them home, it was a whole different world.

  • Get Two: Two cats are much better than one. Kittens, in particular, need company. It's no fun being an only child; I know this from experience. If I had only one cat, not only would be lonely but I'd miss out on watching the cats interact with each other. They are beyond cute when they are snuggling and they are a blast to watch when they are chasing each other around.

  • Plan Ahead: Before you bring your cat home, stock up on food and litter. Get bowls, a litterbox, a scratching post, and a carrier (or two if you're getting two cats).

  • Get the Good Stuff: Don't skimp on the food and litter. Your cats will be your family members. Get premium quality cat food and feed a mix of dry and wet food. Stay away from clumping clay litters. I recommend the World's Best Cat Litter.


Anonymous said...

I believe that you meant to say "exactly eight months".

socidoc said...

I totally love how you say 'when your cats purr for you, you will fall in love.' That absolutely says it all!!! Good advice here. Those considering adopting cats should take Avram at his word (he's had lots of help and advice from others too!!!)

angua said...

I would say, "don't be TOO choosy." If a female black kitten captures your heart at a shelter, don't reject her because she is not a grey boy. Don't take the first cat you see, but don't be too set in your ideas. It's like falling in love -- you may fall in love with someone unexpected. Go with it.

Muddy, said...

Fall in love is right. Those are great words of advice! That purring will get you everytime. :D -- Muddy,