Why it’s important to ‘Adopt-a-Cat’

Don’t let an older cat like Oreo spend his life in a cage.

Look no further than your local shelter to find the love of your life. Most shelters have their adoptable cats listed on Petfinder.com, so it’s easy to find that special feline with a few clicks of your mouse.

Along with an increase in cats being relinquished to shelter, animal control officers and rescue workers, such as those from the Cosgrove Animal Shelter in Branford, Branford Compassion Club, and  Forgotten Felines, are finding many friendly cats with collars, signs that they were simply abandoned when their supposed caregivers moved on.

Petfinder.com conducted a recent nationwide survey of shelters and how the economy is impacting them. The survey found that 84 percent of its shelters and rescue groups (totaling more than 12,500) are caring for more pets because of the economy. Of those animal shelters, 74 percent reported an increase in surrendered and abandoned animals since the same period last years. The survey also reported that 37 percent of shelters and rescue groups experienced a decrease in pet adoptions in the past year.

Potential pet parents need to take their lifestyle in consideration before adopting. Many people turn to cats since they’re considered “easier” than dogs, which require more training and discipline. However, any cat lover will tell you that a cat will blossom into a more loving companion when time is spent playing, cuddling and interacting with her.

If you’re gone all day consider adopting a pair of cats. The Branford Animal Shelter in Connecticut tries to keep pairs together and that’s 99 percent successful, says Laura Burban, shelter director. Three pairs are available right now: Asja and Blaze, Fifi and Bella, and Rusty and Honey. Burban says the duos do take a bit longer to adopt, three to four months rather than the typical month, however, she believes it’s important to keep the emotional and physical welfare of the cat in mind.

Kittens are sweet and adorable, without a doubt, but kittenhood is a very small part of a cat’s life. Shelters, especially now, are full of healthy adults that need homes, so don’t overlook that brown tabby sitting by himself in the cage.

Be prepared to fill out an application, pay a fee and sign a contract. Burban says she holds applications for a week to make sure that people are committed rather than adopting on impulse. This and the tips that follow hold true for most shelter adoptions.
Understand that the shelter will likely require that the cat live indoors and not be declawed.

If your cat is not already spayed or neutered, you will be required to comply – many shelters offer a discount certificate. The TEAM van travels through Connecticut offering lost-cost feline spay and neuters. (Call 800-FOR-TEAM.)

Be prepared for the expenses that will be incurred – regular check-ups and high quality nutrition will keep your cat happy and healthy.

If you are introducing a cat to children, make sure the children understand that a cat is not a play toy, but a living breathing being. They must be taught the correct way to act around any pet.

For Hemmie...who came to us in June 1999 and left Nov. 24, 2008

For Hemmie…who came to us in June 1999 and left Nov. 24, 2008

I always acknowledge “Adopt-a-Cat Month” with special head-butts and paw pats to Hemmie, a little polydactyl tuxedo who joined us June 1, 1999. She showed up in our yard one day and we scooped her off the deck and into our hearts. She was my husband Paul’s best girl. We were never sure of her age, but she was a venerable old girl when she left for the Rainbow Bridge in November.


About ExclusivelyCats
Sally Bahner is an expert in all aspects of cat care: Writer, consultant, speaker, instructor.

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