June is National Cat Adoption month. Why June? It coincides with the heart of kitten season, which in Northern Colorado typically lasts from May through September. Warmer temperatures in March start to call out the feline hormones, and 2 months later, voila! Kitten season! And that means animal shelters are overflowing with litters of fuzzy felines, in addition to lots of older cats waiting for the right human to come along. If you are thinking of adding a feline to your family, here are some things to consider and do to prepare for the new addition.
Who’s Your Match?
Are you looking for a kitten or adult cat? There’s few things as cute as a frisky, fuzzy kitten. But they’re a bit more challenging than a mature cat. Kittens need to be watched constantly, they will chew electrical cords and tumble down stairs. Children may hurt them by overzealous playing or hugging. An adult will be more calm and sedate, but may take longer to adjust to a new environment. Cat or kitten, either will make a loving companion.
Pick a cat that fits your personality. In general, long-haired cats with rounder heads (eg., Persian, Maine Coon) are more laid back, while those with short hair and narrower heads (Siamese, Burmese) are typically more active and high strung. Male cats are usually more easy going, especially when neutered, and females are likely to be more timid and less accepting of other pets.
Bringing Your Kitty Home
Before you bring home your new kitty, you need to prepare for him or her. Cats are territorial and are very nervous and uneasy when coming into a new home, especially adult cats. They will want to explore their new environment, so for the first few days, put them in a small room such as a laundry room or bathroom. Put a litter box, food and water station, bed, a few cat toys and something to climb on. When accustomed to its new environment, you can let it explore the rest of the house while you are home. Soon your new cat will pick its favorite place to lounge—a windowsill, your favorite easy chair, a computer keyboard or your lap. That’s where it will spend 90% of the rest of its life.
Inside or Out?
Will you keep your cat inside your home or let it outside? Cats who are allowed to roam outside have a shorter life expectancy. That’s due to other animals, diseases and motor vehicles. On the hand, inside-only cats tend to gain wait, get bored and may become irritable. Give them plenty of toys and interact with them often. Also, you might want them to experience both indoors and out: Cats can be trained (with patience) to walk on a leash or put them in a screened in sun room or porch where they can safely experience the outside world.
Whether you opt for a male or female, long-haired or short-haired, inside or outside, kitten or cat, your new feline friend will need veterinary care. Cats require kitten vaccinations and annual boosters. You will need to get him or her spayed or neutered. They will require nail trims and dental care, as well as medical care for any conditions that may develop. Cats are notorious for hiding injuries and sickness. You will need to play detective and notice any changes in appetite, weight loss or gain, litterbox habits and general behavior. Take good care of your cat and you’ll be rewarded with many long years of loving companionship.
So if you have a little extra love to give this month, visit your local animal shelter and bring home a new forever friend. Then give Powell Veterinary Service a call to set up a meeting with your new kitty, and get it started on the right foot.