Many national animal/pet organizations declare June as “Adopt a Shelter Cat Month.” CAPS fully supports this countrywide campaign, but we encourage you to consider adopting a shelter cat in July through May as well. Before adopting, however, we suggest that you have the following bases covered.
Make sure that you have figured in the present and future expenses that come with pet ownership: not only food and treats but also veterinary care, which includes vaccinations and treatment if your kitty becomes ill. If you adopt from CAPS, you won’t have the cost of spay/neuter surgery because that will have been done. Also, all CAPS kitties are up-to-date in needed vaccinations.
Choose a veterinarian before you adopt and schedule a visit a few days after you’ve brought your new family member home. This might also be the time to have your new friend microchipped. Even if you are diligent about keeping your kitty indoors, some cats are the most amazing escape artists and will be out the door/window in a flash. Microchipping provides better odds in having your kitty returned to you.
Prepare all items you’ll need for your cat beforehand: food, bowls, litter box and litter, cat-safe toys, scratching post, brush and comb for grooming and a bed. You might also want to buy cat nail clippers, but unless you really know how to safely clip claws, you should have this task done by a professional cat groomer or your vet. (And, please, do not declaw your cat; this is tantamount to amputation.) A toothbrush is another possible purchase, if you’re up to the task of brushing your kitty’s teeth. If not, feed your new family member high-quality dry cat food, which will help avoid tartar buildup.
Keep in mind that your new kitty, whether a kitten or an adult, may become stressed in her new environment. She will become accustomed to her new surroundings, but slowly introduce her to family and friends. If there is another feline friend in the household, this is particularly important. When introducing cats to each other, don’t leave them alone together for about the first month. Instead, give them supervised play time together until they adjust to each other.
There are, however, caveats to this: If your first kitty is elderly or sick, do not adopt another feline friend because this may shorten your first friend’s life. Also provide each with her own litter box, and each should have enough living space to hide and spend time alone. If your home doesn’t allow room for two litter boxes and each cat’s personal space, then one cat in the household is best.
If you do decide to have a two-cat household, make a list of your cat’s personality traits and ask the shelter staff to help you find an appropriate match. Two females will have the hardest time getting along, so consider adopting a male if your first friend is female (and vice versa). If you are “catless” and want to adopt two kitties together, try to match their physiques and body types. Cats with similar body types will also have similar activity levels and will get along better.
As of Tuesday, the following feline friends at CAPS shelter are waiting for their forever homes: Dot, Trixie, Toots, Jester, Jinx, Oliver, Sylvester, Louie, Lyndy, Rita, Squirt, Tweety and Judy, Judy (aka “Judy Squared”). Check out their pictures at our website (www.capsnv.org) or come on out to the shelter and meet them.
As a final (and off-topic) note, please stop by Flower Tree Nursery to buy raffle tickets ($1 each or six for $5) for “Prairie fire,” a vibrant-pink crabapple tree valued at $79.99! All proceeds from this raffle benefit CAPS. The drawing will be held tomorrow afternoon at Flower Tree (you don’t have to be present to win), so time is running out!
This week’s article was contributed by Betty Duncan, a member of the CAPS board of directors.