The Star-Herald

What to know before adopting a cat

At some point in the majority of the lives of people all across the world, we all long for a pet, a furry friend to help pass the time and make life all the more sweeter. Some people prefer dogs, while some prefer fish, or birds, but then there are the vast majority who prefer cats and kittens to occupy their homes.

Cats can appear to be quite docile animals, felines that just want to lounge around all day and don’t seem to require the amount of exercise and play that other animals do, such as dogs. However, just as with any pet that you bring into the home, cats can require a good deal of responsibility on the part of the owner or the family who welcomes them. Cats are very particular creatures, animals that want their independence and don’t want to mess around unnecessarily in most cases.

Here are some tips to consider before you add a cat to your home.

Have them fixed immediately:  Having your pet fixed can help to keep them healthy and safe, as well as prevent prominently harmful diseases such as infections and cancer that can develop as they age.  And it goes without saying; we all know the problems that come with multiple unwanted litters.

Take your time adjusting them to family and other pets:  Bringing home a cat can be a huge adjustment, not just for you, but for your furry feline friend as well. Often times, it can take a cat up to seven to fourteen days to get adjusted and acquainted to their new environment they have been brought to, so it may take a bit of time to get them feeling comfortable in their new surroundings. There are many things that you can do to ease the time along, which can include things such as introducing your cat to different family members or other pets, one at a time, and letting them have their own space for a bit. Just remember that this can be an overwhelming time and experience for your cat, so letting them get used to it on their own terms is the best way to go.  Just remember to be patient with them.

Cats can live a long time: The majority of cat breeds that you will see often have a life span that covers about 13 to 17 years; However, there have been many cats that have been known to exceed this average life span, and have lived to see 20 years or even a bit more. Make sure you are ready for that commitment.

Always have water out:  Yes, most cats steer clear of being in water. But, did you know that cats need to drink more water than most animals? 

Keep nails groomed and invest in a scratching post: Even with all the scratching that your cat will do throughout the day once you bring them home, it is also a great idea to keep your kitty’s claws trimmed and groomed every two or three weeks.  A scratching post will keep your furniture safe in the process, the best thing that you can do is invest in a scratching post that they can claim as their own territory to play with and scratch on. Make sure to get one that is at least three feet tall, which will allow your cat to stretch and play throughout the day as they please.

Let your cat have their own, quiet space: Cats like to be independent and have their own space the majority of the time. That said, one of the best things you can do for your cat to help them get adjusted to their new home is to dedicate a quiet space for them, such as a spare room, or even a closet. You will want to choose a space, of course, that is often free of children and other pets running around, where your cat can retreat and spend time on its own. Also, make sure to dedicate this space to their items, like their bed, scratching post, or even a toy or two.

Brush your cat regularly:  If you want to keep the hairball messes at bay when you bring your kitty home, make sure to brush and groom your cat yourself on a regular basis.

Stop by the Central Aroostook Humane Society if you think you may be ready for a new furry family member.  Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., closing for lunch from 12 to 12:30. Check us out on Facebook.  

Be responsible pet owners: spay and neuter.

Gloria J. Towle is the secretary and a member of the board of directors of the Central Aroostook Humane Society.

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