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What Should You Consider Before Getting a Cat?
Ahead of acquiring your new cat, some critical things must be considered. These vital questions can make finding your perfect furry companion much more straightforward. It can also help narrow your search and help find your new feline friend faster.
Is It an Indoor or Outdoor Cat or Both?
Many cats spend their lives in the safety and comfort of a home. Their home will protect them from harsh weather, animal predators, dangerous plants, and other hazards that can harm their health and shorten their lives.
On the flip side, outdoor cats spend much of their time outside. They’ll have the opportunity to explore, hunt, and socialize with other neighborhood pets.
Indoor-outdoor cats combine these two lifestyles, allowing your cat some time outdoors but ensuring they’re inside at night and during unpleasant weather.
Decide which type of cat will fit best with your lifestyle. While some may have unknown histories if they are found as strays, some will be only accustomed to indoor life and may panic if let outdoors.
Has the Cat Been Fixed?
Most people consider spaying or neutering cats a good idea to prevent unwanted kittens and control your pet’s behavior. Be sure to ask whether or not your new cat has been spayed or neutered. Shelters and adoption organizations typically take care of this before you take a cat home. However, if you get your cat from a breeder or acquaintance, you may need to take care of this yourself.
If you need to get your cat spayed or neutered, set up an appointment with a veterinarian to get it done.
Suggested Reading: Learn if a female or male cat is better for your household.
What Kind of Breed Is for You?
Cat breeds can differ in personality and care. For example, life with a Maine Coon will be much different than a hairless Sphynx! Breeds can wildly vary in size, temperament, and health issues. Some will shed heavily, while others may be better choices for those concerned about pet hair or allergies. If you’re looking for a specific type of cat, like a tortie ragdoll, then you’ll probably have to go to a reputable breeder.
Many are of unknown breeds, especially at shelters. They are distinguished primarily by colors and length of hair, however, the shape and length of ears, tails, and noses can also differ. Colors vary drastically from all-white to multi-colored and striped. Hair length is either short, medium, or long hair, and will determine the amount of grooming necessary.
Pro Tip: “Tabby” is a catch-all term for striped kitties, either gray or orange. Determine if this kitty type is for you!
Do You Want a Kitten or Grown Cat?
Another crucial decision impacting your life is deciding between a kitten or a full-grown cat. Kittens are cute, and they also allow you to be with your cat throughout its entire life. However, they also require more work and training. From learning to use a litter box to behavioral issues like scratching and biting, kittens need extra attention. They will also need more shots and vet visits compared to full-grown cats in their early months and years.
On the other hand, adults may have a more challenging time adjusting to new environments, forcing you to make more accommodations for them. Older cats may also deal with age-related health issues that some owners may be unprepared to handle. But, overall, full-grown cats require less work than kittens.
Pro Tip: Learn 10 signs to watch for when bringing a new cat home.
Is It Better to Adopt a Cat or Purchase One?
Adoption is a personal preference. There are an incredible number of cats and kittens of all ages and types in animal shelters. They’re in desperate need of a forever home. If you’re looking for a compassionate solution to this problem, explore the adoption process.
In contrast, some people prefer a purebred cat or the ability to purchase a particular type. If you go this route, be sure to do your research to ensure you’re buying from a reputable breeder or pet store.
Even celebrities opt to adopt! Check out our 10 favorite celebrities who love their rescue cats.
How Much Should You Pay for a Cat?
The cost of acquiring a cat will vary depending on where and how you get it. Purchasing a purebred from a breeder will be the most costly. Prices can run from several hundred dollars to over $1,000.
Adopting a cat from a shelter is the least expensive option. It can cost as little as $50 to around $200. The money covers some of the expenses to care for the animal, process paperwork, and other requirements. There are also free or low-cost options.
Remember, buying or adopting the cat is only part of your “startup” expenses. Cats need a litter box, food and water bowls, a bed, a scratching post, toys, and other items to be comfortable. You may also need to invest in a hairbrush, nail clippers, and other essential tools. In addition, new cats often need vaccinations or other medical care, which can sometimes reach hundreds of dollars. Fortunately, the adoption route often means your new cat already has all the medical attention it needs for the near-future.
5 Most Popular Places Where to Get a Cat
Now that you know the basics of finding a new feline friend, you may ask the last critical question; where to get a cat? Here are some of the most popular choices.
1. Animal Shelters and Humane Societies
One of the best ways to find your new companion is to rescue one from a shelter or humane society. Pets at these places don’t have anywhere else to go, either starting their lives as strays or ending up in the shelter because of problems or lifestyle changes of their former owners. You’ll likely have plenty of choices, and adopting from a shelter will free up space and resources to help more needy cats.
Pro Tip: Check out the best adoption websites for finding your new feline friend!
2. Friend or Family Member
Friends or family may also have the perfect pet waiting for you. This can result from an unexpected litter of kittens, a stray they took in but can’t keep, or situations where the current owner can no longer care for their cat. While most people may not have this option, it’s an excellent resource for those looking for more informal adoptions without the cost or paperwork.
3. PetSmart or Other Pet Stores
Pet stores tend to have a bad reputation for mistreating their animals or sourcing them from unethical breeders. However, many, like PetSmart, are now working with local shelters to place rescue cats prominently in stores to help facilitate adoptions. Inquire about the origin of any pet you’re getting from a pet store, so you have as much information as possible.
4. Facebook Pet Community Groups or Craigslist
Social media and the internet have revolutionized the pet world, including where to get a cat. Facebook, Craigslist, and other sites and apps can connect you with people around the corner or globally who may have the kitten you need. Like adoption from a family member or friend, the pets may have varying backgrounds. However, these informal groups can also help you connect with others in the pet community, providing guidance and friendship for new owners.
5. Cat Breeder
If you’re looking for a specific type of cat, a reputable breeder may be the way to go. It’s vital to ensure you’re purchasing from a humane and ethical breeder who treats animals with love and respect, not a “kitty mill” or exploitative situation. Purebred pets from breeders will also typically cost the most due to the expenses required to breed and raise them properly and their comparative rarity.
Not sure you’re ready to adopt? Save lives and have fun by fostering a cat! Learn how here.
What Should You Do If You Find a Stray Cat?
Adopting a stray is another way to get a cat, particularly in areas with many street cats. It can be an excellent way to improve the life of a feline without paying the cost of buying or jumping through the hoops of adoption at a shelter. Placing food outside regularly and a patient effort to meet them may be enough to lure the cat into your care.
However, ensuring your would-be pet doesn’t already belong to someone else is vital! Check with your local shelter to see if your new pet fits the description of any missing ones, and take it to a vet to scan the cat to see if there’s a microchip with an owner’s information. Once you’re confident no distraught owner is looking for their missing pet, you can typically keep your new friend.
Getting a New Cat Is So Exciting!
A new pet is adding a member to your family, so it’s easy to understand the excitement of getting one. There are so many different ways to find your new feline companion. No matter where you find your pet, ensure you understand the costs and care your cat will require. Before you know it, your new furry friend will be curled up on your lap as you wonder how you ever got along without them.
Where will you go to get a cat? And will you adopt?
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