Do you want to adopt a new four-legged family member? Is your heart set on a cat? If so, be sure to check your local facility, to see if any of the shelter cats for adoption meet your requirements.
Cats in shelters need to find a home. Many of them are stressed or unhappy because they do not understand how they ended up in this place. If you want to turn around a kitty’s life, select one of these shelter cats who really does not like their living situation at all.
Nearly three years ago, I adopted a 14-year-old cat from a shelter. He had some physical problems: He tended toward urinary tract infections, he weighed far too much, he had arthritis and the beginning of kidney disease. In the shelter, because of stress, he had developed alopecia and had pulled out all the fur off his stomach.
He’d been in the shelter for seven and a half months. He’d been placed there by his family because he kept urinating on the rugs instead of in his box.
Fixing that problem involved giving him an uncovered litter box. Problem solved.
When I got him home, he very plainly told me how very happy I’d made him. That first day, he followed me everywhere, and every time I stopped, he would sit beside me and purr. I knew without a doubt that he was grateful.
At first, once I coaxed him into my bed, he had to sleep touching me. I guess he was afraid I’d disappear. Finally, he became more self-confident and secure, and gradually returned to normal cat behavior.
I worked hard to help restore his health. We got rid of the UTI problem, he lost weight, grew his hair back on his stomach, got his arthritis under control with some CBD oil, and got the kidneys stabilized. Then the last blood test showed the onset of cancer.
The vet and I worked to help him with that issue, but the cancer finally got him, and he crossed the Rainbow Bridge the end of September, at age 16-1/2. I’m so happy I could give him a couple of happy, stress-free years before his end-time.
I wish he’d been with me longer, but we enjoyed the time we had together, and I gain comfort from knowing the last part of his life remained peaceful and happy.
This spring I will be looking for another shelter cat, so am writing this post as much for me as for you. I want a younger cat this time, so he will live a little longer. Perhaps I can learn some tips from this post.
So, when selecting a shelter cat, where do you start? Here are some guidelines:
What Kind Of Cat Do You Want?
Do you want to take home a kitten? Or would you prefer an adult cat?
If you are looking for a kitten, you might as well get two, because then they will each have a playmate, thus saving you much time and energy. Kittens have the drive to sharpen their hunting skills. Stalking, chasing, grabbing, biting, or pouncing are all skills a kitten needs to practice many times until he gets them down pat.
To protect yourself and other family members from this kitten dynamo, it is best to adopt two kittens around the same age. Then they can sharpen their hunting skills on each other, instead of on you.
Will You Look For A Certain Kind Of Personality?
Do you have an idea in mind about what you want in a cat? Should you get an older cat, already sedate and set in his ways, or should you get a more energetic cat? Do you want a cat that is high-energy and very active or one who seems much mellower — perhaps a lap cat that likes to be petted.
If you have small children or other pets, think about what type of cat would fit best with the family.
Don’t Be In A Hurry
Take your time choosing. When I chose my Carlos, I went back to visit three times before finally making my choice. Then, Carlos chose me, and as it was a mutual attraction, we came home together. Carlos assured me he’d be the best cat I’d ever had, and he was right!
Get To Know The Cat A Little
Get acquainted before you take the cat home. Usually the shelter has a visitor’s room, where you can take the cat to get to know each other a bit. You can get some idea as to the personality of the cat, and if he is what you are looking for.
Will he play with you? Sometimes the shelter atmosphere inhibits a cat’s desire to play. However, if you spend some time alone with him in a visitor’s room, and you try to get him to play with a wand with a feather or some other tempting object, will he respond?
If he won’t, it might take a little longer for this cat to adjust. He might do better in a quiet home with less activity, until his fears dissipate. If your home is a bit chaotic, it might not be the best atmosphere for this cat.
Be sure to find out what the shelter staff knows about the cat you are interested in. Ask questions, and if you can, ask of more than one person in the shelter.
Ask as many questions as you can think of. Find out why he is in the shelter in the first place. Get information on his age, his health, or medical procedures (such as spaying or neutering) he has had, and what they have observed about his personality.
Allow Adjustment Time
It will take some adjustment time after you take kitty home, as the place itself becomes a new experience. He needs to explore thoroughly, mark his new territory, and learn how the household operates.
Because it could take a few weeks for the new cat to adjust to his new place, be patient. My Pogo hid under the bed a lot at first — in fact, it took me two weeks to convince him to sleep on the bed, not under it.
Play Has Great Value
Play with your new cat regularly, as play-time will help him adjust faster. If he likes catnip, use it as a good behavior tool to encourage play.
A play cat will be a less fearful cat, so be sure to encourage play-time, and keep it up regularly even after kitty has adjusted. You do a good thing when you play with your kitty regularly. You also help keep him from boredom. Play sessions don’t have to be really long — don’t exhaust kitty — just interact with him regularly.
Perhaps You Need A Senior Cat
If you want a calm, mellow cat, consider getting an older animal. Many of these older cats come to the shelter because the person he lived with has died. If an older cat spent a long time as someone’s beloved pet, he may be quite sad and confused, as perhaps he doesn’t understand that his beloved human will no longer be there.
When you adopt such a cat, you give them a chance at ending life in a happy, loving home, instead of dying unloved in a shelter. What a wonderful gift to give a poor old kitty who has lost everything. You can make such a difference in his remaining life by giving him love and a forever home.
Depression In The Cat Could Be A Good Sign
If the cat appears sad and depressed, you can usually consider this a good sign. It means the cat can feel deeply, and is mourning his loss. This cat definitely needs love and a relationship where he can feel he belongs.
Don’t Ignore Him
Just make sure, whatever cat you choose, that you interact with him. If you bring a cat home and then ignore him, how happy do you think such a cat would be? A kitty starved for affection and attention might become a problem cat — Just like a little kid who “acts out” to get attention, your cat might do the same thing.
He will find mischievous things to do out of boredom or out of the need for your attention. Often signs of stress can be banished by just giving a little love.
Whatever cat you end up choosing, know that you have made a huge difference in his life. You can give him reason for happiness, and in return, he can give you unconditional love. What better gift could he offer? Love your cat; cherish and care for him and he will reward you in generous measure.
The references I used for this post are as follows: