How to Find the Purrfect Match When Adopting a Cat
Cats are all different – as are their humans! Two individuals may be fantastic but that doesn’t mean they are right for each other. Maybe there should be a mEow-harmony app for that…
Whether you choose to adopt from an animal shelter, rescue group, humane society or reputable breeder, you want to make sure you adopt the right cat for you. Here are some things to consider when you’re choosing your feline friend:
Ages & Stages
Kittens are super cute bundles of fun and hours of entertainment. They also get underfoot and can be inadvertently destructive. So, if you are wanting a feline companion but cherish calm, your curtains, and breakables being unbroken, or have mobility or visual restrictions, getting a more sedate, adult cat is probably a better idea.
Kids and pets are made for each other. But young children need to be supervised around pets until they understand that grabbing or sudden movements might hurt or frighten their new friend. The cat or kitten might feel a need to defend themselves, leading to tears or wounds to heal. The age and temperament of a child and the time their caregiver has to supervise them may play a role in the choice you make or in the timing of adoption.
Some breeds of cats are more active than others. Even as adults, Abyssinians and Bengals remain high-energy. If you prefer a sedate, quiet cat, a Persian cat would be perfect – but you need to be prepared to groom their beautiful long fur.
A cat’s activity level will also affect how much space they need. Are they suited to being indoors in a small apartment or do they need space to run? Do you want a cat that will reply or initiate a conversation? A Siamese or Burmese may be the breed for you.
Tricolour cats, like torties, have a reputation for being temperamental, and male cats are rumoured to be more laid back. Is this based in fact? Does coat colour or sex of a cat affect personality? There are no studies to support this. In fact, coat colour myths vary in different parts of the world, so that the same physical feature can swing from bad luck to good talisman or even omen.
Extra Special Cats
Some of us are drawn to the cats who need ongoing health care, who have a visible frailty (like a missing eye or leg) or who have invisible needs like anxiety or an abusive former owner.
Before giving in to your need to nurse and care for a special cat, be sure to be fully informed about what this individual cat’s needs are. What medications are needed at home, or what accommodations need to be made in the physical environment? Will this cat need repeated veterinary visits? What costs (including time and care) are involved?
Living with these kitties is extremely rewarding, but only when we are able to meet their needs.
Spayed or Neutered is Best
Female cats should be spayed and male cats should be neutered. When the surgery is performed before five months of age there are advantages, both medically for the pet, but also for the pet population in general. Male cats who are neutered early are less likely to fight and get abscesses, are generally less aggressive, and less prone to urine spraying. This makes them better housemates.
As for mEow-harmony, many organizations will interview adopters to try to make the best match. Once you have an idea of the type of cat you think might fit well with your lifestyle and family, talk to the staff or volunteers. They might have the perfect kitty in mind for you!