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Are You Ready for a Cat? :: Cats for beginners

Questions to Ask Before Adopting a Pet. Before adopting a cat, take this test.

Youve decided to get a new pet because:

A) The kids whining has finally worn you down.

B) You feel terrible for all the homeless pets in the shelter.

C) That purebred kitten in the pet store window is cute AND orange, which happens to be THE fashion color this fall.

D) Youve been thinking about welcoming an animal companion into your home for quite awhile, and finally everything is in place. Your heart opens all the way, and you know that its time.

Although people have taken in pets for all of the above reasons, the right answer, of course, must be D. It is crucially important to consider the impact a new pet will have on your family, as well as the feelings of the animal, before you adopt.

This Time for Keeps

A visit to an animal shelter will prove that acting on impulse or appearance is not the way to welcome a pet into your home. The 8 to 12 million homeless cats and dogs that arrive in shelters each year 25 percent of them purebreds attest to that. Celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker, Isabella Rossellini and Fabio have adopted animals from shelters, but not because its trendy. They wanted to save a life, just like you do.

You stroll past kennels filled with hopeful animals, young and old, purebred and mixed breed, and must choose just one pet wholl depend on you the rest of her life. Cards on each cage door tell their stories: This 2-year-old Burmese was brought to a veterinarian to be treated for a broken leg, but his owner never came back to claim him. That tiny, longhaired kitten was abandoned with three brothers.

Theyve already seen bad luck. They are all intensely appealing. Do your homework before deciding.

Will Your Home and Life Accommodate a Cat?

First, you, your kids and all the adults in your household should agree that you want a cat. Look down the road for the life of the animal, which could be 10, even 20 years.

  •   Do you have the patience and commitment to understand your cats needs and ways of communication? Some cats seem aloof, but they bond with you for security and company.
  •   How old are your children? If theyre under 6, pet shelter experts recommend that you wait a few years. Kittens have extra-sharp teeth and claws, and strike back when teased. Some breeds are high-strung.
  •   Is anyone in the house allergic? Different species and breeds elicit different reactions. Spend time with a similar pet at a friends house before choosing yours.
  •   Is an adult willing to shoulder ultimate responsibility for the animals care? Pets can teach a child about loyalty and responsibility, but you cant expect a child to do all the work of feeding and changing the kitty litter.
  •   How much time does your family spend at home? Animals like regular schedules. Do you know wholl take care of your pet when you go on a trip?
  •   Does your lease or condo board allow pets?
  •   Can you tolerate some damage to furniture and floors until your new pet becomes accustomed to your home? Will you take accidents, even flea infestations, in stride?
  •   Do you have the financial means to support a pet? Shelter adoption fees are usually minimal, compared to prices paid to a breeder or pet store. But the costs of medical care, food, grooming, toys, kitty litter and other supplies add up.
  • PetPlace Staff

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