It’s spring again, flowers are blooming, the days are longer, New Yorkers are actually smiling and new kittens are being born all over the city. Are you already a cat lover? Or, have you been thinking about adding a lovable, intelligent feline companion to your family. This is the perfect time: June is Adopt-A-Cat Month!
These young kittens will be ready to go out into new loving homes. There are tons of cute, cuddly newborns, in addition to all the mellow, older cats and everything in between and the staff at local NYC shelters are ready to help find your perfect match. Spunky or relaxed, active or easygoing, cats come in many different breeds with all kinds of personalities, making it possible to adopt one that will quickly become a beloved part of your family.
“Rescuing a shelter cat is an amazing way to add love to your family as long as careful preparations have been made,” said Dr. Kyoko Yoshida, co-owner and veterinarian at Hudson Animal Hospital in NYC’s Upper West Side,“Smooth transitions are easily attainable with a little advance work.”
Once you make this decision, you’ll need to find a local rescue shelter that has cats available for adoption. You can check the ASPCA website (www.aspca.org) to help you find a shelter that may have the perfect cat for you. The professionals at your local shelter are interested in making the best match between you and an adoptable cat or kitten and can help you with the next steps. After you visit your local shelter to see what felines are available, here are some things to do before you are matched with the newest member of your family.
Here are some ways to prepare for your adopted cat
1. Evaluate what kind of feline you might like to adopt. Do you prefer kittens or is an older cat a better fit? Is there a particular breed you’d like to adopt? Highly energetic or more calm? A loner or a social cat? Shelter employees can help you determine which type of cat will be best for you.
2. Consult your veterinarian before you bring your new cat home. The doctors will be able to advise you regarding the shots your pet needs and what health problems may need to be addressed. They can also make recommendations regarding food and playthings. After you talk with the veterinarian, you can then make the appointment for your new cat’s first visit. Having that set up ahead of time will allow you to focus on bonding with your pet in those early days.
3. Stock up on supplies in advance and budget for the future. A cat adopted from a shelter may be a bargain to start because many facilities will have already provided spaying or neutering, initial vaccines, and a microchip for permanent identification, but understand that all pets are responsibilities and there are costs and care associated with that. Preparing in advance can start you on the right foot with your pet. Shelter professionals and your veterinarian can help shed some light on some of the needs of a newly adopted cat such as: types of food and toys, litter and litter box, grooming tools, etc.
4. Get your home ready to welcome your feline friend. Cat proofing your home ahead of time will make both you and your new pet more comfortable and relaxed as you get to know one another. Are there food items that are poisonous to cats? Are there other hazardous things that need to be removed or relocated? If you have never owned a cat before, the staff at the shelter or your veterinary clinic can answer your questions and provide you with safety information. You can also talk with someone who already has cats in the home and ask what things you need to do to make your home welcoming and safe for your pet.
Once you bring your new friend home, make sure to allow plenty of time for him or her to adjust. Dr. Yoshida echoes the importance of this: “A newly adopted cat has gone through a huge transition, and he or she needs thoughtful care, especially for the first month to six weeks. Make sure to communicate with your veterinarian to establish a plan of care that includes needed vaccinations, dietary changes, and bonding suggestions.”
Adopt-A-Cat Month may be just the excuse you’ve been waiting for to bring that special cat or kitten into your life. If you live in Manhattan and would like to discuss veterinary care for your adopted pet, please call Hudson Animal Hospital at 212-706-4088.