June has been designated as National Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat month due to the increase of kittens and cats being dropped off at cat shelters around the globe. I got my own cat, Cali, from a shelter and with millions of cats being put down every year, wish that everyone would take one home. Whether you are considering adopting your own shelter cat, or would like to know other ways that you can help, this article is for you.
Should You Adopt?
Shelter cats hold a special place in the hearts and homes of all who embrace them, but cats do have their own needs and sometimes shelter cats require extra care. Take my own cat, Cali, for example. Cali had been brought in as a kitten when her owner’s husband had smashed her little head through the drywall. The shelter, 5A’s of Godfrey, IL, tried to adopt her out to several families only to have her brought back each time due to her being “crazy” (e.g., a little aggressive and feisty). When I first met Cali while volunteering in the cat room, she had been deemed unadoptable and retired to her cage for the past 3 or 4 years. For me, however, it was love at first site. When I was trying to carefully clean the litter box in the “crazy” cat’s cage, she jumped into my arms and snuggled me gently. I fell in love and brought her home. Once home, she was a different cat. She screamed and ran around the house frantically or hid for about 3 months before she would come out and greet me and my boyfriend. I had to sit outside her kennel every day before she finally came out and snuggled me again. That was almost 5 years ago now, and she is a perfect member of our family, never hurting our 3 year old son and only occasionally scaring our guests.
If you have ever considered adopting a cat, beware of cats that might need a little bit of extra special care, but never write off a cat that has been deemed unadoptable if you think you may have the time to devote to it. If you think you want a shelter cat, read the following tips:
1) Be certain before you ever go to “just visit” a shelter that you do, indeed, want a cat and can provide for it. Shelter cats sometimes come already spayed or neutered and with first shots, but will need to be fed and given water daily, will need litter box to be cleaned and occasionally replaced with fresh litter, and will need regular vet checks (not to mention emergency vet visits in case of injury or disease).
2) Know what type of cat would do best in your family. If we had had our son at the time that I went to the shelter, I probably never would have brought home a “crazy” cat for fear that she might hurt him, and we would have to just return her once again. Did you know that each time cat is returned to a shelter, it decreases its chance of adoption by nearly 25%?
3) Sometimes when you see a pet you “just know” it is the right one for you. Unless that feeling is certain and you are already prepared for it, wait at least 24 hours before taking the cat home. Because I love animals so much, I try to bring home new ones all the time. So my boyfriend and I have a 24 hour waiting period before bringing home any that we truly want. This waiting period has successfully kept us down to only 1 dog and 1 cat up until this past week when we brought home 2 new rabbits (which we waited 2 weeks before deciding on).
4) Visit several cats and spend time playing with each one before you pick one.
5) If you love cats and would like to help without bringing one home, consider fostering one until a suitable home can be found or sponsor one with a donation to the shelter that will help provide for your choice’s care.
We hope you enjoyed this article and would love to hear about your own shelter cat in the comments below.