Adopting a cat is an exciting, even life-changing, experience, but this leads many people to overlook some important factors when going through the adoption process.
There's no question that adopting a cat has far more positives than negatives.
Most importantly, you're saving a life and adding to yours.
And, of course, cats provide unconditional love and companionship.
Nonetheless, the fact that your cat could easily live to 18 or older means this is a long-term relationship, and choosing the right cat and knowing how to look after them is very important.
However, knowing these six things will help you be prepared and ready to tackle being a cat owner head-on!
Cats Aren't Exactly Cost-Effective
To ensure your cat lives the best life possible you’ll need to have a bit of a spending splurge when you first adopt.
Initial costs can add up, but there are some essentials you’re really going to want to get for your cat.
Buying a cat bed, bowls, toys, litter, and food all need to be factored into your planning. Naturally, you’ll want to buy high-quality products for your cat which will increase costs even more.
Another potentially significant cost for cat owners is vet expenses.
When adopting a cat you will need vaccinations, checkups, flea treatments, deworming, and getting your cat neutered. Obviously, some of these costs are one-offs, but you also cannot predict when your cat could become sick.
This means you need to ensure that you can pay any vet bills when necessary and whenever they might occur.
We would highly recommend insuring your cat in case of an accident or illness. This will be an ongoing monthly cost that should be factored in, but you’ll be glad you have it when it’s needed.
Microchipping is also another precaution that we recommend, especially if your newly adopted cat is going to spend any time outdoors. It's not a massive expense, costing anywhere between $20 and $30, but an important cost nonetheless.
Although a cat can be expensive at first, with the right preparation, these costs shouldn't hit you too hard.
Despite Popular Opinion Cats Are Social Animals
Although there is no doubt that cats do value their alone time, many studies have shown them to be highly sociable characters.
They can learn from each other and grow strong connections.
If you’re planning on adopting a house cat, it is vital to consider adopting two cats. If you're not at home during the day, experts say it can be very beneficial to adopt two cats to provide a happy and healthy life for your feline friend.
Outdoor cats are better at living alone due to the socialization they experience outside. However, adopting two cats should be considered even in that case. If you are dead set on only adopting one cat, you should ask the shelter for cats who are more accustomed to living alone, usually older cats.
Settling In Can Be Tricky
When you first bring your newly adopted cat home from the shelter there’s a delicate balancing act you need to perform when getting them settled in their new home.
It’s advisable to start them off in a small area away from all the general distractions of the comings and goings in your home (although confining a cat to a room long term or controlling it at night is frowned upon). Give them their own blanket and food and water bowls and make this area their refuge.
Over a few days, bring family members to the area where you’ve let your new resident settle and introduce them rather than letting the cat roam free. And try bringing in some other items - a cushion or blanket - that they will later encounter in another room. Over a few days simply extend the areas they can poke around until they feel secure throughout your home.
This will help avoid situations of your newly adopted cat cowering under furniture and being too scared to exploit.
The safe area is the way to make them feel good about moving in with you!
Cats Are A Huge Responsibility
When you adopt a cat there are suddenly things you can't do. And you may well have not thought this through in advance!
You can no longer lie in on the weekends or plan a spontaneous holiday. You have a furry friend relying on you, needing you to feed it and take care of it.
Suddenly things you used to be able to do on a whim now require much more thought and consideration.
If you want to move house or country, your cat needs to be factored into these decisions.
You should be aware of good catteries near you (or catsitters) before you adopt, in case you need to go away overnight or you go on holiday.
Many people are surprised at the change a cat can cause in your life and are not prepared for it.
This leads to cats getting rehomed due to people overlooking the responsibilities of being a cat owner.
Additionally, if you adopt a kitten or young cat, you are looking at an 18+ year commitment.
Cats Are Unpredictable
Cats can't exactly be trained, meaning that they can end up running your life, and you find that you now operate by their schedule.
They are unpredictable, but this is why many people love cats as companions. They keep you on your toes and add fun to your life.
However, it can lead to frustration.
Although you can’t train a cat you can get them used to cohabitation and they can become more docile. However, this does usually depend on your cat's personality and age.
Additionally, even if you manage to train your cat in some capacity you can't rely on them to behave a certain way. As a cat owner, you should be aware of this and expect the unexpected from your cat.
Choosing The Right Cat Is Vital
When adopting a cat, it is easy just to choose the first cute kitten you see.
However, it’s important to pick a cat that suits your needs.
Picking between a kitten and an older cat is a big decision.
Kittens are a lot of work and require copious amounts of attention, so are not perfect for people who are at work for long hours or who have kids and other commitments.
Therefore, older cats are better suited for a lot of people, although many are tempted to opt for kittens due to their cute factor.
Choosing the right breed is also an important choice since some breeds are more suited to being alone, which is perfect for people who are busy or can't afford to have two cats.
Other breeds are more suited for indoor living. Some people may require hypoallergenic cats and some breeds may incline toward certain health issues.
Therefore all this must be considered before adopting a cat. You don't want to adopt a cat and realize it doesn't fit with your life or you don't have the ability to cater to it.
The shelter where you adopt will be able to help you with this choice so make sure you ask the right questions about the breed, temperament, and socialization of any cat you are thinking of choosing. That said, often a cat just chooses you - you’ll know when it happens!
Wrapping It Up
They are the most adorable and lovable creatures who require lots of love and attention and who secretly love it!
With these tips, adopting a cat will, hopefully, come with no surprises.
Being prepared should help make adoption a smooth and painless process.
Obviously, there will be things you can't prepare for, but in no time, you will have a furry friend strolling around your house, living a stress-free life!
About the Author
Sam Jones is a feline expert focusing on cat behavior, cat food, and cat care. She has lived with cats her entire life and has been writing about cats for as long as she can remember. She is currently a senior contributing editor at We Love Cats and Kittens.