Adoption - The Essential Guide! - Part Two: Finding Your Purrfect Match!
In Part One of our guide, we talked about all the factors you should consider before deciding to adopt a feline companion! (and if you haven't read it yet, be sure to take a minute to browse before continuing here!)
Everything from finances to family - and if you're here on Part Two, we can safely assume you've taken everything into account and have decided a kitty cat is right for you!
Doesn't it feel good knowing that you've made this decision through research rather than on a whim? Doesn't knowing you are educated in what to expect make you feel empowered to keep finding the facts before taking the plunge?
Well here in Part Two, we are going to continue that mindset and take you on a tour of what to look for in your new potential pal! So buckle in because it's time to go on a quest for your purr-fect match!
Adopting a kitty can sometimes feel like online dating.
You spend hours upon hours looking through profiles of different cats and reading their cute little bios; comparing and contrasting everything in a whirlwind of potential adoptees!
All of this can be a bit overwhelming and sometimes it can pay to have a basic list of the things you're hoping for in the cat of your dreams! Keep in mind though, these should never become dealbreakers in your final decision. Often times, we find adopters coming in with a strict set of "Must Haves" who eventually come to realize that their perfect match was less of a paint by numbers and more of a diamond in the rough!
Either way, knowing what to expect from what you believe you want is never a bad thing!
Step One: Better with Age?
Are you looking for a young and rambunctious kitty or perhaps an older more laid back one? Are you in the market for a cat who is experienced and mature or one you will need to train from the ground up?
There is often this big push in almost every new adopter to get a kitten - both because of that fluffy cute factor and for the idea that they will have longer to bond, but many don't think about the negative side of kitten adoption.
Kittens will require a lot more time and attention to insure they don't turn your home into their own personal playground. They also often require more vet visits as they will likely need booster shots every few months. Don't let those big eyes fool you, kittens can be a lot of work despite their size and if you aren't prepared for it, you may find yourself regretting your decision.
Kittens will require careful attention to nutrition and medical care as they often have underdeveloped immune systems and will be more prone to sickness so making sure you're ready for any eventuality will be key to introducing them to your home!
On the flip side, an adult cat often comes with its own pros and cons. Adult cats have usually adjusted to living the house cat lifestyle in a few ways. Most are litter box trained and have worked out their overly energetic tendencies; preferring instead to do their own thing throughout the day with only a slight notion of getting into mischief.
You'll often find adult cats to be set in their ways (which can be both good and bad depending on what habits they have come to learn) and may be a little harder to train should negative behavior become an issue. But they will likely only need a yearly vet visit baring any illness or accidents and are much less prone to chewing up the cords on your TV.
The older the cat, the more likely you are to have a curious little couch potato who just wants to be loved so never count out a senior cat if you want a cuddle buddy to call your own!
Cats one year and older will need yearly vet visits for updated rabies and distemper vaccines but won't require boosters every few months like a younger feline will but you should also assume that these adult kitties will be a bit set in their ways. By this age, their behaviors are pretty well set in their heads and changing them can be a challenge all its own - which is especially true in senior cats!
A senior kitty will likely require more frequent vet visits to give them a proper quality of life. Those adopting a cat that has reached its golden years are often looking to give them a place to retire into and be given the love they deserve as they age and slow down. You'll want to make sure you are prepared for any eventuality with an older cat in your home, but don't let these things cross them off you list for good! Senior cats deserve love just as much as the younger generation and are often the sweetest bunch you could ever hope to call your own!
It's also wise to consider the age of any animals currently in your home. An older animal is less likely to accept a new friend into their environment (especially one younger and spryer than they are!) so trying to find a kitty they will vibe well with can be a tricky matter. Be sure to take your current furry friends into consideration before rocking the boat and causing a fur fight!
Step Two: Ladies or Gentlemen?
Some adopters take a lot of stock in the gender of the cat they choose to bring into their home.
It's like they say, boys are from Mars and girls are from Venus, right?
While the gender of a cat can have some effect on how they will behave in a household, it's important to remember that the personality of a cat will often speak louder than whether they are a Tom (male cat) or a Queen (female cat)
The stereotype is as follows:
Female cats are generally standoff-ish and less likely to get along with other cats.
Male cats are more laid back and lazy with a more carefree outlook on life.
This mindset flip-flops as well, making the notion of gender a pretty hard to pin down topic in the cat people community. We've had males who loved every cat they met, females who would never hurt a fly - and on the flip side we've had females who would rip another cat apart over their scent on a blanket and males who couldn't be left unattended with other kitties for risk of a fur fight! So how do you choose?
Simple answer - preference! If you believe you will get along with a male cat, look into those first. If a female cat is more your vibe, take a peek at the ladies in your local shelter!
In all honesty, the behavior of a cat all comes down to their personality as a whole and we recommend being open minded to any gender! Limiting yourself to the idea that one is better than the other might just cause you to miss out on the kitty of your dreams!
Step Three - Colors and Breeds
If there's one thing that potential adopters often get hung up on when trying to find a cat, it's their breed or the color of their fur!
I can recall one adopter who came back over and over again absolutely convinced that the only cat he would ever want would be an orange tabby and it was only after breaking that barrier down that we found him his perfect match! (A long haired, black and white boy for those curious!)
Obviously, you aren't too likely to find a purebred Siamese or Maine Coone in a shelter setting, but most cats will have some characteristics of these breeds present somewhere in their appearance. Generally speaking, purebred cats will only come from breeders and come with a hefty price tag as well and those looking to exclusively adopt these breeds should be sure to do a lot of research before taking that dive!
Often times, cats who aren't mixed breed will come with maintenance for their quality of life and extra health risks which come fairly common with the process of breeding the qualities people seek into the animal over time.
They also might come with personality quirks - Siamese are known to be very sassy and like their world to run a certain way, Persians often suffer from high anxiety and required a stable home environment and schedule to reduce stress - the list goes on!
Whether the cat in question is purebred or simply holds the qualities of a certain breed, knowing the little details can help you in finding a personality that will match your household. Be sure to look into any extra care regimes they might need or common illness and disorders that may be present in their DNA. There are hundreds of sites and books dedicated to documenting every aspect of different cats and you can learn a lot with just a few hours of browsing that will make this decision easier in the long run.
But what about color? What about those beautiful coats that cats so love to keep shiny and groomed?
To this we say, give them all a chance. While the length of a cat's coat may be a factor in your ability to care for them (can ya'll say weekly brushing and yearly trims?) the color of a cat should never be the first thing you look for. You would be amazed at the amount of people who meet a cat they love and adore only to pass up on adoption because "I want one with white paws" or "Grey is boring"
The bottom line is that the color of the cat is not going to affect its ability to love you in any way. It also doesn't guarantee that a particular cat will behave a certain way. You may have grown up with the sweetest white cat known to man only to find that every other white cat you meet is aggressive and not too keen on cuddles. You may have heard that black cats are skittish and aloof, but suddenly find yourself at the mercy of a beautiful midnight coated kitty who never wants to leave your lap.
Hyper focusing on the color of a cat only limits your selection and makes the task of finding your new family member more frustrating. Enter the adoption world without too much expectation and you'll be much better off on your search because you won't be passing up on cats simply because they don't match your new curtains.
To Wrap it Up....
Before you go browsing your local shelters (or cat cafes!) take an extra minute to really think about what it is you are looking for - all the while keeping in mind that you may find your thoughts to be completely wrong in the end!
Having a base to start your search will help to ease the stress of searching through endless profiles of kitties seeking homes, but should you see something that catches your eye that doesn't necessarily check your boxes, don't be afraid to branch out. Often times, our biased can change at the drop of a hat and that's perfectly okay!
Enter into the adoption world educated and with an open heart and you'll discover that the perfect cat might have been right there all along!
Join us in Part 3 of our Essential Guide as we finally dip our toes into the adoption process and what to expect while you await that oh-so exciting approval call!