North Country Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Essex County, New York
OUR ADOPTION EXPERIENCE
Recently I found myself suddenly and unexpectedly without a pet for the first time in my adult life, and I decided to fulfill an ambition held for many years to adopt a cat from a shelter. I have long been grateful for the infinite number of ways that our family cats and dogs have enhanced the quality of our lives, while deploring the fact that there are so many animals who are subjected to abandonment, abuse and neglect in our society. Determined to try to make a difference in the life of at least one of these caring vulnerable pets who had fallen on hard times, I telephoned the North Country SPCA and made an appointment to pick out a cat.
The manager, Pam, listened carefully to the list of characteristics that I hoped my new friend would have, and she directed me to four or five candidates whose temperaments, ages and backgrounds were compatible with my description of the cat I was seeking.
The cat I brought home has proven to be everything I had hoped for and more. “Missus” had experienced some difficult times before she came to the shelter, but her initial wariness when I brought her home began to fade within a day or two. And as she gave more and more trust and love, it became clear that she shared our eagerness to become “friends for life.” Steven Kellogg, Essex
CHOOSING THE RIGHT CAT
When you go to the shelter to adopt a cat, your first decision is whether you want a kitten or an adult cat. It's easy to fall in love with that cute tabby kitten with the button nose. But keep in mind that a kitten may not be the best cat for you. Kittens require extra attention, feeding, training, and play. And young cats are often frisky and will probably need some supervision to keep them out of trouble. Finally, if you have young children in your home, you need to monitor their interactions with the kitten to ensure the safety of both the children and the kitten. Although older cats are usually less playful, many families will find their calm demeanor to be a perfect fit. Also when you adopt an older cat, you have a clearer sense of the personality that you are bringing into your home.
No two cats will have the same temperament and personality. Walking through the shelter, you will see cats who lounge on their pillows and don’t seem to even notice you and you’ll also see cats who sit at the front of their cages begging to be stroked. Keep in mind that some of the more reserved cats may actually be quite social when they feel safe and secure. Choosing a cat with the right personality for you will depend on your preferences. To make sure you’ve found the right match, you and your family should take time to interact with the cat before you take it home.
You may also want to consider the question of long vs. short hair. A long-haired cat will need more grooming to keep its coat smooth and shiny. But all cats should be brushed regularly to improve their coats and to help them bond with you.
When you find a cat that’s right for you, here are some ways you can ensure a smooth transition into your home. Cats tend to hide when they feel stressed or scared, so give your cat a safe room and time to adjust to its new surroundings. Your cat will come out when its ready. If you have other pets at home, slowly introduce the new cat. If any of your pets show signs of aggression, put the cat in the separate room again and try reintroducing them later.
Regular checkups and vaccinations will help your cat live a long and healthy life, and provide you with years of loving companionship.