Kittens born in April and May are reaching the age when they can be adopted at this time of year, giving us “kitten season.” The influx of kittens into shelters puts pressure on rescues to find room for all the cats. Thus June is Adopt-a-Cat Month.
A few things to think about when you adopt:
- If you’re thinking about adopting a cat, consider taking home two.
- Find a cat whose personality compliments yours.
- Pick out a veterinarian ahead of time and schedule a visit within the first few days following the adoption.
- Make sure everyone in the house is prepared to have a cat before it comes home.
- Budget for the short- and long-term costs of a cat.
- Stock up on supplies before the cat arrives.
- Cat-proof your home.
- Go slowly when introducing your cat to new friends and family.
- Be sure to include your new pet in your family’s emergency plan.
Come Share the Love at Rafferty Subaru * Saturday, 10-4
Share the Love Flyer
In celebration of the Summer Olympics, ACDC is having a “Go For The Gold” Summer Adoption Event from August 6th through 24th, with special discounts on the adoption of all cats and kittens over the age of six months.
Bronze medal adoption (adopt one cat)…adoption fee $75 (save $25!)
Silver medal adoption (2 cats)…$125 total (save $50!)
Gold medal adoption (Mom & kitten 6 mos & up)…$100 (save $75!)
Frida is a well-mannered adult.
My friend the primatologist once told me that young mammals appear cute to humans so that we’ll take care of them. (We evolved to appreciate the “cute” characteristics rather than the other way around.) Who doesn’t want to cuddle a kitten or rub the belly of a new puppy?
This is part of what makes older animals so hard to adopt. They no longer possess the attributes (big heads, playfulness, clumsy maneuvers, etc) that pull on our heartstrings. When kittens fill up the shelters, older cats are often sacrificed to make room for the “more adoptable” kittens, and by older, we mean cats sometimes as young as one—those who’ve lost their kitten-appeal.
But there are many good reasons to adopt older cats:
- Adult cats are neutered and have had their shots; they are generally trained to use a litter box
- What you see is what you get—you know what the cat will look like, what her size will be, and what her personality is.
- Whether teething or just exploring, kittens can be very destructive chewers. Adult cats typically chew less, if at all.
- Kittens tend to get into much more trouble. They climb you or your curtains, fall from high places, and knock over collectibles like your mother’s Belleek (ask me how I know). Adult cats have manners.
- Older cats require less time and energy. Give them some quality time each day, but not your entire day. They are usually content to curl with you and snuggle in for a long nap.
- While adult cats groom, kittens are just too busy exploring to clean themselves properly.
- Adult cats may sleep with you or in their own cosy spot but they are generally happy to sleep when you do. Kittens often run around through the night, doing anything possible to wake you up for fun and games.
Relinquished cats aren’t “defective” There are lots of reasons cats ends up in shelters: family members developed allergies, or the owner is moving to assisted living, or the landlord said the cat has to go. They weren’t bad cats; they were just with the wrong people. But an adult cat might be the right cat for your family:
- For homes with small children: a young adult. Little kids are often much too rough with kittens. Adult cats are better equipped to deal with kids. The wily cats can generally escape from children and hide.
- For working people: young adult cat. Kittens become bored and mischievous when left home alone, but older cats know how to entertain themselves.
- For senior human: senior cat. Older cats often end up in shelters because their human companions have died, and no relatives or friends wanted to take them in. Senior cats are perfect for senior citizens who might pre-decease a younger cat.
- For a household with a senior cat mourning a companion: another senior cat. A natural choice because older cats don’t tolerate the stress of a new kitten. With careful introduction, you can find companionship for your aging cats.
Older cats are grateful for a second chance at a loving home, and when you adopt them that gratitude is showered on you. If a senior cat is right for you, please check out Maggie; if a young adult will complete your home, consider Frida, Blaze, or Marcus.
June is National Adopt a Cat Month. The Animal Coalition of Delaware County, American Humane Association, American Veterinary Medical Association, CATalyst Council, and Petfinder have collaborated to create a Top Ten Checklist to help navigate the decisions that come with the responsibilities of pet adoption. They have also created an online resource center to ensure the well-being of cats.
TOP TEN CHECKLIST FOR ADOPTING A CAT
1. If you’re thinking about adopting a cat, consider taking home two. Cats require exercise, mental stimulation and social interaction. Two cats can provide this for each other. Plus they’ll provide more benefits to you. Cats’ purring has been shown to soothe humans as well as themselves – and they have an uncanny ability to just make you smile.
2. Find a cat whose personality meshes with yours. Just as we each have our own personality, so do cats. In general, cats with long hair and round heads and bodies are more easygoing than lean cats with narrow heads and short hair, who are typically more active. Adoption counselors can offer advice to help you match the individual cat’s personality with your own.
3. Pick out a veterinarian ahead of time and schedule a visit within the first few days following the adoption. You’ll want to take any medical records you received from the adoption center on your first visit. “Regular veterinary care is critically important to the health and well-being of your cat,” says Dr. Larry Kornegay, president of the AVMA. “Getting your new cat to a veterinarian early will help make sure there are no underlying illnesses or injuries, and your veterinarian can work with you to develop a plan to help your new pet live the happiest, healthiest, longest life possible.”
4. Make sure everyone in the house is prepared to have a cat before your new pet comes home. Visiting the shelter or animal control facility should be a family affair. When adopting a new cat with existing pets at home, discuss with the adoption facility how to make a proper introduction.
5. Budget for the short- and long-term costs of a cat. Understand any pet is a responsibility and there’s a cost associated with that. A cat adopted from a shelter is a bargain; many facilities will have already provided spaying or neutering, initial vaccines, and a microchip for permanent identification. Plus, shelters and rescue groups are there to offer guidance and assistance as you acclimate your new family member.
6. Stock up on supplies before the cat arrives. Be prepared so your new cat can start feeling at home right away. Your cat will need a litter box, cat litter, food and water bowls, food, scratching posts, safe and stimulating toys, a cushy bed, a brush for grooming, a toothbrush, and nail clippers.
7. Cat-proof your home. A new cat will quickly teach you not to leave things lying out. Food left on the kitchen counter will serve to teach your new friend to jump on counters for a possible lunch. Get rid of loose items your cat might chew on, watch to ensure the kitten isn’t chewing on electric cords, and pick up random items like paper clips (which kittens may swallow).
8. Go slowly when introducing your cat to new friends and family. It can take several weeks for a cat to relax in a new environment. It’s a great idea to keep the new addition secluded in a single room (with a litter box, food and water, toys and the cat carrier left out and open with bedding inside) until the cat is used to the new surroundings; this is particularly important if you have other pets. If you’ve adopted a kitten, socialization is very important. But remember – take it slow.
9. Be sure to include your new pet in your family’s emergency plan. You probably have a plan in place for getting your family to safety in case of an emergency. Adjust this plan to include your pets. Add phone numbers for your veterinarian and closest 24-hour animal hospital to your “incase- of-emergency” call list, and be sure to have a several-day supply of your pet’s food and medications on hand.
10. If you’re considering giving a cat as a gift, make sure the recipient is an active participant in the adoption process. Though well-meaning, the surprise kitty gift doesn’t allow for a “get-to know-one-another” period. Remember, adopting a cat isn’t like purchasing a household appliance or a piece of jewelry–this is a living being.
by Nikki Senecal
photo by Ezgisu Atacan, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
You’ve seen the signs in the neighborhood: “Free kittens.” Dogs come inexpensively on Craig’s List. Back in the day when classrooms had furry pets like guinea pigs, your kid might bring one home for the summer. There are still many ways to get a free pet, so why would anyone pay adoption fees?
What makes ACDC’s animals stand out among the others?
- A Known Quantity: All ACDC animals are tested for dealing with other species as well as with human children. Even before Fido is plucked from the shelter, he or she has been rigorously tested for signs of aggression. Because ACDC’s dogs have been with a foster family for an average of 60 days, there are humans who can tell you about the schedules and quirks of your new friend. One foster parent even sends her charges to their new homes with a complete dossier. Since animals can’t talk, you’re way ahead on understanding your new friend. Priceless.
- A Healthy Animal: no pet will be adopted out who is on (temporary) medication until they have completed their course of treatment, or have had their medical issues stabilized. You only have to read the story of Nellie to see that ACDC takes the time to ensure an animal’s health prior to adoption.
- Socialization: the animals ACDC rescues learn to interact with humans, other animals, and new places as warranted. Dogs who are properly socialized are less likely to be aggressive or fearful. Cats who are handled regularly learn to interact with humans in a satisfying way. Isn’t that worth paying for?
- Training: Foster parents want an animal who is housebroken as much as you do, and they work hard to train this behavior in puppies and kittens. Older dogs might learn new tricks from their foster parents. This type of training teaches dogs to be happy and confident. Knowing tricks can help calm energetic dogs and teach them to redirect undesirable behavior.
ACDC can’t claim our animals are perfect, but they’re headed down the right path. What is that worth to you?