If at any point in your life you’ve considered having a cat at home, or if that moment is now, this content is for you. A few months ago, I decided to bring a cat into my home. I thought about what I would need, how to take care of it, and what to do if it got sick. I thought and thought because I knew it would be a decision that would accompany me during a stage of my life. When I finally had a clear picture, I came across a photo of Noa on an association that rescues kittens from the streets. In my case, my little cat lived near a road, and it could have been a matter of days before an accident ended her life. So, in some way, they, and later I through adoption, saved her life.
Adopting a cat or a dog is something most of us have considered at some point in our lives, especially when we come across one of those dogs that capture our hearts at first sight or when someone shows us a picture of their cat. If you have kids at home, adoption is likely a never-ending topic, as we call those evergreen topics in marketing.
The decision that may initially seem impulsive is not easy to make. Listening to the stories of friends and family about how their cats came into their lives can be a good starting point for your decision-making process.
Do I adopt a cat or a dog?
I wish we had an answer for that. Not all pets are the same, and they don’t require the same care and attention.
Cats are the most popular pets worldwide. But that’s just a statistic. In USA, we are more inclined toward dogs, although it depends on the city or place you live. The people from L.A. are more into cats at home.
If cats are your favorite animals or if you were a cat in a previous life, it’s essential to keep reading because we’re going to help you make the best decision.
Buying or Adopting a Pet
Manuel is part of the Portucat team in Spain. In just the first half of the year, they have rescued over 100 cats from colonies, especially from garages and car engines, as well as dogs and rabbits.
“Gatos are very misunderstood and underserved by municipalities and some people. Colonies need to meet basic needs like food and minimal veterinary care. They survive thanks to their caregivers.” Manuel tells us that, being feral animals, they live in a state of near wilderness, without any other option, as they couldn’t live in a house. Thanks to the efforts of associations like his, they make it possible to give them a better life.
When asked about cat adoption, the association is clear that this decision should be responsible and unanimous when welcoming a new member. It involves taking on new responsibilities, such as providing food and ensuring the safety of the animal.
“Proper nutrition is essential—would you eat hamburgers every day? Well, it’s the same… good nutrition prevents many problems.” The same goes for precautions at home, such as windows. “[…] animal shelters emphasize this a lot. Cats fall and hurt themselves… We rescue many cats that have fallen from windows, and you can imagine the situations they end up in…”
Regarding the sale of animals—”Of course, we are against it… Profiting from the prostitution of a living being? […] You never know in what conditions the animal being sold will end up… abandonment, mistreatment… many of these animals end up in the hands of shelters.”
What to Consider Before Adopting a Cat or a Kitten
BudgetWhile it may seem trivial, it’s not. The first thing you’ll need when you invest in adopting a cat is money. You’ll need an initial investment to prepare your home with everything the cat requires,
- A litter box for cats, for them to do their business.
- Litter for the litter box, which you’ll need to buy every four weeks or so.
- Bowls for eating and drinking.
- Food, including quality dry cat food and wet food.
- One or two scratching posts. Cardboard or rope. The more scratching posts, the less likely your favorite couch will become one.
- Toys. Balls, a wand, things they can chase, pounce on, and have fun with.
- A brush for picking up fur from the couch and bed. Better than any vacuum. Mandatory.
- A cat carrier. You’ll need it for vet visits or when traveling with your pet.
A bed for cats.It’s tempting, but they’ll most likely sleep and rest wherever they please. Non-negotiable.
- Litter box (8-45 usd.)
- Dishes (10 usd.)
- Scratching posts (10-100 usd.)
- Toys (5-20 usd.)
- Carrier (10-40 usd.)
- Hairbrush (15 usd.)
- Slicker brush (15 usd.)
- Nail clipper (8 usd.)
- Dry cat food (10-20 usd.)
- Cans of wet food (15 usd.)
- Snacks (3 usd.)
- Cat litter (15 usd.)
- Litter bags (1 usd.)
- Microchip identifier (30-50 usd.)
- Feline leukemia test (40-60 usd.)
- Deworming treatments (15 usd.)
- Sterilization (60-250 usd.)
- Vaccinations (30 usd.)
- Unexpected expenses (30-400 usd.)
How Much Time Do You Have Available?Another aspect to consider before adopting a cat is whether you have enough time to dedicate to them. People often have the false belief that cats are like the Clint Eastwood of animals: independent and solitary beings who don’t need or want to interact with others. In other words, they’re seen as the sociopathic pet. I don’t share that opinion. As Clint Eastwood himself said in Dirty Harry, “opinions are like assholes, everybody has one.” Trying to be impartial, we can say that there are two versions you’re probably familiar with. Those who have cats at home adore their kitties and have formed a bond with them, while those in rural areas, where cat colonies in captivity are abundant, have a different kind of contact, similar to that with a caged animal, as they’re often wary of humans even though they’re fed by them. Cats are especially cautious animals (they’re felines), and cutting inches to enter their comfort zone takes time. That being said, cats need daily attention, care, and playtime. It’s important to maintain socialization with your cat so they feel happy and grow up healthy. Otherwise, you could have problems with their behavior and mood. Keep in mind that if you’re the only person living with your cat, their happiness and well-being are in your hands. Demanding but beautiful, isn’t it? So, if you want to adopt a cat, you should consider that you’ll need to keep them company, just as they will keep you company. A good practice is to think about how much time you spend at home and how much time the cat will be alone. Many times, due to work, we spend most of the day outside, which means our little cat will have been alone for most of the day.
So, so independent... Two versions of the same story: those who live with them adore them, while those in rural areas or colonies don't adore them as much. They perceive them as elusive, distrustful animals (in captivity) that only respond to the call of food. And who are you?
How Long Can I Leave My Cat Alone?This is one of the questions that concerned me the most when I started considering the possibility of adopting a cat. What if I needed to leave home for a few days for work or vacation? Will they survive? Will something happen? The reality is that, if their essential needs are met (food, water, clean litter), a cat can spend a weekend alone at home without any problem. With the help of automatic feeders (plug-in or mechanical) for food and water, the base of the feline Maslow’s hierarchy will be covered. While the litter box may be the biggest issue, those with a bit more budget can acquire a futuristic cat litter box with a self-cleaning system (>$500). The next link in that same hierarchy is interaction and relationships. Keep in mind that if we are the “living” part of their known world, they will feel a bit lonely and possibly a little abandoned as well. Your cat doesn’t know what will happen after you leave the house. Imagine the uncertainty for those who come from the streets, after their first few weeks of constant uncertainty about food and protection. Sometimes, you can leave your cat with someone you trust, in a pet boarding facility, or even take them with you on your travels. In my case, when I’m away from home for a few days, my parents come to my house to spend time with Noa, give her affection, and make sure she has everything she needs. I even have a pet surveillance camera since Noa arrived at home. This way, I can see her when I’m not there or when I miss her. It may seem complicated, but once you get to know your kitty better, you’ll know how to manage it. As you can see, this aspect is as important as the available budget. Assess these situations for your cat and your peace of mind, summer or work trips, and whether you have the opportunity to manage them optimally or not.
A New Concept of Cleanliness
Other Side Effects
Are There Allergies in the House?Perhaps it’s something you hadn’t considered, but cats can trigger allergies in some people. If you already have dust or airborne substance allergies, having a cat might exacerbate this situation. You should not only consider if you have allergies but also think about whether someone else in the house could be allergic to the cat. One way to check would be to spend some extended time with a cat before adopting one to ensure that you aren’t allergic. Many associations that rescue and allow cat adoptions are aware of this and are open to receiving the adopted cat in cases of serious allergies like this.
The allergic reaction can be a roadblock to your goal of adopting a cat. Fortunately, rescue organizations often take this into account and are willing to take the animals back when this happens.
ConclusionIf, after reading all these recommendations, you have made the clear decision to adopt your cat and proceed with the process, it means you have become aware of what it means to have this animal as a pet at home and are willing to take it on. Many kittens are born on the street in conditions that will soon lead them to infections and sometimes certain death. Buying or adopting a cat is your personal decision. But if the breed is not so important to you, adopt and contribute to a better world. Great! It’s a big decision, and you’ll need to stay committed for the average lifespan of your cat, which is about 16 years.
What type of cat to choose?
Once you’re certain that you want to adopt a cat, it’s time to get into the specifics and decide what type of cat you want to bring home. In this regard, you’ll have several decisions to make.
Male or Female Cats
The first thing to consider is whether you want a male or female cat. This decision is not trivial, as it’s influenced by the issue of heat cycles. Male and female cats exhibit different behaviors during their mating seasons, and you should be aware of this. Male cats typically tend to mark their territory, while female cats often vocalize intensely and for extended periods. It’s important to note that there isn’t a significant difference in a cat’s personality based on their gender. Any primary distinction will come from this aspect.
Adult Cat or Kitten
Another aspect to consider when choosing a cat is whether to adopt an adult cat or a kitten. This decision is also essential, as it significantly affects the cat’s behavior and how you need to raise it. You should understand that raising a kitten requires more effort, particularly regarding specialized feeding. Non-profit organizations usually won’t allow you to adopt a cat under two months old if you lack prior experience. In the case of adult cats, they may have already received proper training and know how to behave. Additionally, you should consider that kittens require more playtime and exercise than adult cats, which tend to be more calm. So, this is something you should carefully consider when selecting your new pet.
Once you’ve decided on gender and age, you have another crucial step in choosing your cat. You’ll need to decide if you want a specific breed of cat or if you prefer a common European cat.
Opting for a purebred cat can be costly, ranging from 400 to 1,000 euros depending on the breed. This category includes cats like the Sphynx or Bengal. These cats are bred in captivity under a business model involving mating purebred cats and selling their offspring. In some cases, people are attracted to specific cat breeds. However, many share the concern that this commercialization of animals, treating them as catalog items, isn’t ethical. Some might opt for adoption instead. For instance, I was fond of Bengal cats, which resemble little panthers. However, I couldn’t agree with the commodification of animals as if they were catalog items, so I chose adoption without hesitation.
In the case of purebred cats, there is an advantage in that their character and personality are much better understood. This way, you can select a cat while considering aspects that are more compatible with your personality and lifestyle. However, it’s essential to remember that the breed of cat you choose may entail specific costs and care requirements due to its nature. This is also something to keep in mind.
For common European cats, their characters can be as diverse as people. They can be more or less active, more or less sociable with people and other cats, more or less affectionate or reserved. When dealing with associations that spend time with these cats, they can advise you on choosing the kitten that best fits your personality.
How can you adopt a cat?
Having a clear decision to adopt
Participate in a personal interview
Not all associations send a form, but they will want to get to know you and talk to you. It’s a good time to dispel fears and uncertainties.
Non-profit initiatives depend on individual pockets, with a real vocation for cats and their well-being. They must make sure you are the right person to continue their mission.
Filling out a pre-adoption form
There are hundreds of cat foster and adoption associations in USA. More than one may be near you.
If you’re looking for your ideal cat, be patient, follow their accounts on social media. One day, your cat will appear. After weeks, I saw a photo of Noa, and it was love at first sight.
When you contact the association, they will send you a form with questions for your preparation and reflection.
Signing the adoption contract
At the end of the process, you will need to sign a contract with the commitment to vaccinate and sterilize the kitten, place an identifying microchip, and ensure all the necessary aspects of its well-being.
You will also need to make a small payment for the veterinary care, and you can contribute by providing food or making a donation to support the organization. Then, it’s time to take your new cat home 🐱!