Considering a feline addition to the family? Cats make great pets, but before you go cat crazy and run out for a new feline friend, make sure you’ve done your homework, which should include all of the things on the to-do list below. This will help ensure an easier transition for your family and your new cat.
1. Decide what kind of cat is right for you before you go to the shelter. Do you have the time and energy needed to devote to a kitten? Shelters also have many great adult cats that need homes, and maybe an older cat will be a better fit.
2. If you have decided on a kitten, you may want to consider two! Sound crazy? Maybe it is, but kittens have a knack of entertaining themselves (and in the meantime entertaining you!). And having the comfort of another warm body may ease their transition into a new home.
3. Stock up on kitty essentials. This includes litter boxes, a breakaway collar, good quality food, food and water bowls, a comfortable bed and lots of toys!
4. Kitten proof your home. Hide away any temptations such as wires, cords for window blinds and small toys which may be accidentally ingested.
5. Plan for short-term and long-term costs of care. Though their adoption fee may be cheap, over the long-term, pet care can be expensive, especially if your kitty comes down with any unexpected ailments. Cats can live for 20 years or more, and need annual veterinary visits for each of them. Start smart by protecting your kitty – and your family budget – with Petplan pet insurance from an early age. Petplan covers chronic conditions as well as hereditary conditions to help protect your feline friend at any stage of life.
6. Find a vet and take your new shelter kitty for her first exam within seven days of adoption. Shelter cats have likely been exposed to a lot of other cats (and their germs) during their shelter stay, so you want to make sure your new friend is healthy right off the bat.
7. Prepare your other household members for the new arrival. If you have young children, teach them how to interact with a kitten or cat. If your children are older, devise a chore list so that they can participate in the care of your new cat.
8. Prepare a safe haven. While you may feel like your new cat is “coming home,” to her she’s entering a scary new domain. Give her a quiet, safe space to which she can withdraw if she’s feeling overwhelmed.
9. Make sure you have proper identification for your cat. If you are going to spend time outdoors with your cat, a breakaway collar is a must. Include a bell to warn potential prey (like songbirds) to your fierce predator’s arrival on the scene and to help your locate her if she sneaks out the door. And the best protection you can give your cat is a microchip. Microchipping cats is essential to their safe return should they become lost.
10. Update your emergency plan to include the newest addition to the family. You never know when disaster may strike, and having a plan in advance takes some of the panic out of a scary situation.
11. Don't forget to pick up a nail trimmer - getting your new kitten used to toenail trims from the start will make 20 years of nail trims seem like a breeze and will also save your skin from playful kitten scratches!