When you are ready to adopt a new kitten or cat and bring it home, there are some things you should consider to make the transition a smooth one. For instance, you need to think about the time you have to spend with your cat, financial constraints (however they are very inexpensive) and your lifestyle. Your new feline friend will be with you for a long time, so let’s make sure that you find the right cat to suit your and his needs.
Spend time with the cat
Before you bring your new cat home, try to spend some time with him or her. Do some homework to estimate what the vet bills could cost, what type of behavior the cat exhibits and how your house can be cat-proofed to cut down on dangers. When you do make a trip to the shelter, read the bios each cat has and ask questions. Get to know each cat. You may need to make several trips to the local shelter before finding your new feline family member.
Choose the right personality for you and your family
Sammy, my adorable tabby, is very playful and sometimes a bit rough. I love his personality for me, but he wouldn’t be ideal for a family with small children. If you want a loveable lap cat, pet your favorite cat and put him on your lap to see if he or she is comfortable there (although most will become comfortable in time).
Adult cats tend to be calmer than kittens and many of them have lived in homes already so they might not explore and be as curious as a kitten which means they are probably better for small children.
Choose a cat that fits your lifestyle
As mentioned above, kittens are adorable, but they do require some training at least for the first few months. They won’t know where the litter box is or that scratching your furniture or eating your plants is not ideal. Therefore, if you don’t have to time to spend with a kitten, an adult cat might be a better fit. Of course, there are excitable adult cats too, but you won’t have to train them as much.
Find out all you can from the shelter or rescue group
Some cats have come to the shelter or rescue group with conditions that require some extra care and attention. Ask the shelter or rescue group about your cat’s health history. Make sure that you know of any medical conditions that are pre-existing. Also, ask if the cat has had any problems with illness that required medical care while in the shelter. Many cats tend to get colds in the shelters but some may have ongoing problems like diabetes, thyroid issues, or other problems.
Schedule a visit to your Veterinarian
Once you choose your feline friend, the first thing that you need to do is schedule an appointment with a vet for a checkup. The vet will make an assessment of your cat’s health and any vaccines that might be needed. They can also recommend some good dietary suggestions for your cat.
There really is no “wrong choice” in adopting a cat, but hopefully these tips will make the transition that much smoother.
My hometown is known worldwide for flash and style. When filling out forms that require my zip code - 90210 - inevitably, I get comments. People are quick to judge me as rich and influential. Compared to 99.9% of the world, I probably am.
So why can't I get more traction on the animal rescue front? When a fellow 90210-er is dog shopping, they are doing literally that - shopping! Their inspiration? Movies like Marley and Me or Beverly Hills Chihuahua. They are looking for a specific breed and paying breeders thousands for it.
I paid a small donation to the local animal shelter for one dog, and a slightly bigger donation to Ace of Hearts for my other dogs; my mixed breed Corgi-Australian Cattle Dog, Shane, and my American Bulldog, Molly, are rescues. When I try to explain to would-be dog owners that my dogs are tops and didn't come from pet shops or breeders they nod their heads, “That's so admirable of you.”
Shane and Molly – the wonderful rescues
Admiration is not what I'm looking for. What I want is to change their minds about how they find their next four legged. Why do they label me a Good Samaritan and assume by adopting that I'm making a sacrifice? My dogs are good with people, loving and goofy. Molly is gorgeous. Shane aint winning any beauty contests, but he's a neat dog. If rescues have baggage from their past lives, consider the breeder's dogs who may carry baggage from the genetic pool. In other words, a purebred lab may suffer hip dysplasia and a rescue may be skittish around new people. Owners learn to work with it.
Some would-be owners think they need a breeder to identify a “good dog.” They can ask a friend instead. Someone on petpav.com, perhaps? Or they can hire a trainer to help them. Breeders are in business to sell dogs for financial gain. Ditto for pet shops and puppy mills that keep their dogs in crates, delivering litter after litter. When money is the deciding factor, animals come second or third…or much worse.
Clearly insecurity is only one reason people seek breeders. Status is another. Just like your handbag or your car, our society places a lot of weight on branding. When my neighbor boasted about her new Labradoodle puppy, she felt pride. A well-known political figure in town posts daily photos of her new pup, which came from a breeder. Just imagine if she'd talked about the rescue process instead of the breeder.
Don't get me wrong, if your dog boosts your status and makes you feel good I don't have a problem with that. The Russian Czars had their Standard Poodles. Cowboys have their Heelers. Fashionistas have their Chihuahuas. By all means, stand taller, walk prouder with your four-legged by your side. Owning a dog is a powerful experience.
That's why I'm going to keep growling until more people go the rescue route.
See more interesting and informative articles by Cynthia Baseman on her blog: www.BHMom.com
If you are ready to bring a new cat or dog into your family, you really should adopt a pet! I personally can not imagine any other choice. There are so many pets out there that need a home, so PLEASE think adoption first. For those who need a little more convincing, there are so many important reasons to adopt.
There are so many pets that need homes!
If the pets that are in shelters are not adopted, the only other choice is to euthanize them. Tragically, there are three to four million dogs and cats that are euthanized each year in the United States simply because too few people adopt from shelters. Because there is limited space at shelters, staff members sometimes need to make very hard decisions to euthanize animals who haven't been adopted.
The number of euthanized animals could be reduced dramatically if more people adopted pets instead of buying them. By adopting from a private humane society or animal shelter, you can help save the lives of two animals: the pet you choose to adopt and the space left for another homeless or abandoned dog or cat to acquire.
Thanks for adopting me!!
You can get a healthy pet!
It is a common misconception that animals end up in shelters because they've been abused or are troubled pets. In fact, most animals are given to shelters due to other ‘owner’ factors such as a divorce, a move or financial problems.
Animal shelters have many happy, healthy pets just waiting for someone to take them home. Most shelters examine and give vaccinations to the pets when they arrive and many spay or neuter them before being adopted. In addition to medical care, more and more shelters also screen animals for specific behaviors to make sure each family finds the right pet for its lifestyle.
You can save money
Adopting a pet is much less expensive than buying a pet at a pet store or through other sources. In addition, as mentioned above, animals from many shelters are already spayed or neutered and vaccinated, which makes the shelter's fee very inexpensive.
You will feel better (and so will your pets!)
By adopting a pet, you will feel great about saving the life of a pet. And your new-found adoptee will give you unconditional love. Caring for a pet can provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment and lessen feelings of depression and stress. Pets can also help your physical health as well. Pets aren't just good friends, they're also good medicine and can improve a person's well-being in many ways.
You won't be supporting puppy mills
Puppy mills are dog-breeding facilities that care more about making a profit than they do about the welfare of dogs. Most dogs raised in puppy mills are housed in poor conditions with improper medical care. Puppy mill puppies are sold to unsuspecting consumers in pet stores and through newspaper classified advertisements to whoever is willing to pay for them.
Many of the puppies have serious health problems that might not be apparent for months and can become very costly if they are treatable at all. Most people are not even aware that puppy mills exist, so when they buy a pet from some pet stores or other retail outlets (not all), they are supporting this cruel industry.
By adopting a pet, you can save a life and feel great about giving your new family member a place in your home. Personally, I truly believe that there really is no choice at all and I encourage everyone to adopt.
PETCO partners with local shelters and rescues to hold adoption events at their stores to help find loving homes for thousands of adoptable pets each month. You can find a local pet adoption event at a PETCO store on many weekends, especially our National Adoption Weekends each month.
February 18 & 19
Sponsored by Purina Pro Plan
Adopt a dog or cat February 18th or 19th and receive special offers including 50% off one bag of Pro Plan brand dry dog or dry cat food, any variety up to 6 lbs.* Plus, all pet parents who adopt enjoy additional savings from Petco’s Think Adoption First™ Care and Savings program. Check with your local storefor exact times and details.
*While supplies last. See offer for details. Expires 2/19/12. Check with your local store for exact times and details.
I have always wondered about the best way to foster a rescue dog. I, personally, have not been through the process but have met some wonderful people who foster dogs on a regular basis. And recently, a friend of mine brought a foster dog into her home. She already has two dogs and doesn’t have the time or resources for three dogs, but wanted to help out this particular dog in need. So, I spoke with some people who rescue dogs on a regular basis to help my friend out and educate myself in the process.
MAKE SURE THE RESCUE DOG FITS WITH YOUR HOME
Some rescue dogs will not know many commands, others may not be house-trained, and some may have had a rough life and be unsure of trusting people. Depending on what your house is like, the rescue team will try to find a dog that can live in your home while finding a permanent home. If you have children, other pets, and other obligations, let the rescue team know this so they don’t ask you to foster a dog that may not get along with other pets, may have a fear of children, or may need more time than you’re able to give.
Once you make the choice to foster a dog, there are a few things you should do to make sure things start off well:
TREAT YOUR NEW DOG LIKE A NEW PUPPY
Even if you were told the dog is house-trained, treat him as if he weren’t. A new home can sometimes make a dog very nervous and then accidents happen in the house. Try to supervise him and take him out after each meal, in the morning, and at night. Praise him when he goes outside.
During the first week, you should not try to teach him any new tricks. He’s stressed and trying to figure out the new routine. Let him settle in and get used to the schedule of feeding times, walks, and play times. If he knows a few commands, ask him to do those and reward him with praise. Positive reinforcement is important as it will give him a sense that he’s being good and help his esteem and confidence.
I love my new family!
DEVELOP A ROUTINE
After the first week or tow, you should have some good insight into his personality and what he or she likes, doesn’t like, and what he thinks is fun. He may like tennis balls over squeaky toys and might like to get into the trash can. You may have learned what can make him scared and angry. Make sure to take note and let the rescue organization know these things so they can find him the right home and give the potential adopters a full rundown of him.
Once it seems as if your foster dog gets rhythm of your house, has become more relaxed, and has become more trusting of you, then you can start some more training. If he doesn’t know how to walk on a leash, this is a good place to start. Taking the dog for walks exposes him to new people and new situations. If he likes other dogs, take him for a walk through well known dog paths or the dog park. This will help him with his socialization skills.
LEARN THE GOOD AND THE BAD
If your foster dog seems to have trigger points that make him or her aggressive, do not avoid these situations. The dog should not train you and these are important points to note. Try to work with him to diffuse the aggression by hand feeding or asking him to trade one toy for another. However, never place yourself in a situation where you feel unsafe, and let the rescue team know if you’re not sure how to work on the triggers.
Remember that you are the eyes and ears of the rescue organization when fostering a dog and your observations can help this dog find the right home. Take the time to really get to know him. It will be both a happy and sad occasion when your dog finds the right home, but your time and energy will make his transition into his permanent home that much easier. Good luck!