If you find yourself with a hole in your heart longing for a feline companion, you are not alone. In the past few years, the adoption rates for cats have skyrocketed as people are now quite open to giving rescue cats forever homes.
There are so many cats in rescue centers that have been abandoned, abused by their owners, or given up when their owners could no longer take care of them. All these animals are looking for a place filled with love that they can call home.
Though you will be doing one of the best things for society when you get a rescue cat, there are specifics that you should know beforehand to make the process seamless.
Below are five things you should keep in mind when getting a rescue cat.
Research Your Local Animal Adoption Rules
There are specific rules for different jurisdictions on the adoption of rescue animals. Several legal issues come with pet ownership, and it would be best if you are prepared for them.
For instance, in most states, you could face legal penalties for animal neglect or cruelty if you fail to provide the needed nutrition and veterinary care for your cat. You might also be held legally responsible when your cat injures another animal or bites someone.
Moreover, check your homeowners’ insurance. Some of the elements covered in it might be voided when an animal lives on your property. Take time to also understand the extent to which the insurance will cover injuries to or by your cat on your property.
Research the Cat Breed that Will Suit Your Lifestyle
Though cats might not have as high care needs as most exotic pets, they come in a broad range of breeds that suit different lifestyles. Therefore, before settling on a breed, consider its needs vis-à-vis your lifestyle.
After all, a pet should complement rather than disrupt your life. If, for instance, you have a full-time job, travel a lot, or attend lots of evening social engagements, an Egyptian Mau or a Russian Blue might be the ideal choice because these breeds are mainly independent.
On the other hand, Birmans make good family pets while Ragdolls are suitable for homes with small kids because they are tolerant and relaxed. Other than your lifestyle, consider your health status.
For example, those who are hypoallergenic to cat dander or Fel d 1 protein can settle for the Balinese cat breed.
Find an Animal Shelter and Apply For Adoption
There are several online adoption sites for animals. Even so, remember that adopting an animal online is much like online shopping. You might not appreciate things like an animal’s personality and how well you bond with it by looking at its photo online.
As such, visit the shelter to assess the animals properly. Before settling on a shelter for your adoption, ensure it is appropriately certified as per your local regulations.
This guarantees the cat you get has not been stolen or acquired by other illegal means. You can also get peer recommendations on the best animal shelter.
Most shelters will typically have a form for you to fill out to assess if you can adequately take care of the pet.
The questions will center on your home environment, finances, and previous experience with a pet, among other relevant issues. Shelters might reject your adoption application if you do not meet the criteria for a good pet owner.
Be sure to carefully read the adoption agreement if your adoption application is accepted because it is a legal document. Most animal shelters will have vet services to vaccinate your cat and ensure it is ready for adoption before you take it home.
If your shelter does not offer these services, ensure you take your cat to the vet for vaccinations and neutering if need be.
Prepare Your Home For a Cat
Several hazards might be lurking in your home and make it unsuitable for a cat. Before your pet comes home, consider cat-proofing the house. Here are some few things you can do in this regard:
- Store all medicines and chemicals in locked cabinets.
- Cover electrical outlets and cords that an animal might chew.
- Remove the toxic live plants that might affect your cat.
- Keep ribbons, strings, yarn, and thread away from a cat’s reach as they can strangle the animal.
- Find a safe place for leftover food since cats might get sick when they nibble on them.
- Set up a feeding station for the cat with water and food bowls.
Bring Your Pet Home
After going through the adoption process and cat-proofing your home, it is time to get your new pet home. Get a cat carrier to carry your cat home safely. The animal has already had too much excitement at the shelter, so just let it settle down slowly in its new environment.
It would be best if you restrict its exposure to too many people at once, but as expected, people will want to see it. Remind them not to forcefully pet the cat and leave it alone if it does not naturally approach them.
Cats should be fed once or twice daily and have a constant clean water supply. The cat might not eat so much in the initial days, but it will as it becomes accustomed to your home. Even so, get a vet’s opinion if the animal neither eats nor drinks for 2-3 days.
When you have gone through the above steps, and your cat is accustomed to your home’s environment, it is time to settle down so you can enjoy time with your pet. Remember that cats, like humans, have different personalities.
While some will quickly connect with you and your family, others will take time. Give the cat time and take some steps to make it comfortable in your space. For example, you can dedicate an hour daily to train, pet, play with, or groom your cat.
If your cat has lots of energy, you can use about twenty minutes per day to exercise and buy some toys to keep it entertained.