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  1. #1
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    Want to adopt...A kitty

    I'm thinking of adopting a cat in a few months. Is there anything i should look for in the shelter, anything to look for with the cat itself? Any questions i'm forgetting to ask? :P

    I was also curious about adopting a cat that had been declawed. While i wouldn't declaw a cat, i don't know if there are negatives to adopting a cat who had been declawed.

    I was interested in the SPCA for the area, then the local shelters. I might get kitty food and toys etc at a pet store, but not the cat itself.

    Thanks in advance!

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  3. #2
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    cats that are declawed can NEVER EVER go outside, so if you plan on letting your cat out (which is a really bad idea for any cat) you definitely can't have a declawed cat. most shelters (at least where i live) won't let you adopt a cat if you plan on letting it outside, but if you live in the country you can adopt semi-feral cats from rescue groups that are outdoor cats.

  4. #3
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    Check into the cat's background as much as you can. Try to find out how the cat gets along with other pets, children, or whoever else lives in your house. Ask why the previous owners gave it up. Were they just the type of people who think animals are disposable, or was there a serious health or behavior problem that they weren't equipped to take care of?

    Much as I love my dear Blanchie (who's purring away on my lap right now), if we'd known about her tendency to bully other cats and her expensive chronic dental problems, we probably wouldn't have adopted her. Of course, I'm glad she's with us rather than with someone who'd dump a cat with special needs. And since she's had the teeth fixed she's a bit less ornery. Just make sure that you and your wallet are up to the task before taking in a kitty that needs extra care.

    Of course make sure the cat's had all its shots and is spayed/neutered. A reputable shelter will have done all that before putting a cat up for adoption (or require you to have it done as part of the adoption agreement).

    One more thing: Some people say cats are happier if they have another cat to keep them company. I don't think it's a bad thing to have an "only cat", especially if that's all you can reasonably afford to care for. But if you happen to fall in love with two kitties at once, keep that in mind as justification to get both.

  5. #4
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    Also look at their temperament. Even though it's a little hard to tell... Try to see if you want a really laid back cat, or an active one.

    We ended up with two active ones...which is fine, we really have no preference. But we can't have anything breakable sitting on the coffee/dining room table, or on our dressers in the bedroom...they both like to "clean" ("cleaning" = scooting anything that moves off of a surface with a paw).

    A good example is my mom's cat. She has so much breakable stuff in her house, she'd never be able to have my two cats. But hers was hit by a car (we found it in the road) and has a weird paw, so he can't - and doesn't have the desire to - jump up on anything except the bed. He also likes to sleep on people anytime they're sitting down. My cats won't let you hold them - except for when they were drugged after their spay/neuter surgeries. hehe.

    And I can't stress this enough to new cat owners - especially if you have a boy cat. Don't feed them cheap food! My mom's cat almost died from a urinary tract blockage because we fed it Cat Chow. Try to find stuff that's like "lamb and rice" or "chicken and rice" And then it's even better in the ingredients if you see the first three ingredients say "chicken" or whatever kind of meat instead of "chicken meal"

    ***EDIT: Sorry...stay away from "by-products" and look for Chicken or chicken meal. =)

    Stuff like Science Diet actually has so much filler and isn't worth how freakin expensive it is. If you go to a feed store, or a specialty pet store you should be able to find quality food.

    And you can definitely tell - we had my cat next to another cat who ate grocery store cat food, and my cat's fur was so much more shiny! Which means his body was more healhty too...not that shiny fur is the goal :)

    (whew long post - I'm done hehe)

  6. #5
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    Re: Want to adopt...A kitty

    Quote Originally Posted by Sheena
    I'm thinking of adopting a cat in a few months. Is there anything i should look for in the shelter, anything to look for with the cat itself? Any questions i'm forgetting to ask? :P

    I was also curious about adopting a cat that had been declawed. While i wouldn't declaw a cat, i don't know if there are negatives to adopting a cat who had been declawed.

    I was interested in the SPCA for the area, then the local shelters. I might get kitty food and toys etc at a pet store, but not the cat itself.

    Thanks in advance!
    We adopted our Yoshimi from the Boston MSPCA and she's been a wonderful kitty. We were looking for a kitten, but she was about 11 months/a year old and only had been treated for your average shelter ailments (ear mites and a cold). Usually they don't know too much about the cats, so I don't know what questions would really help you out.

    My experience with declawed cats is that since they no longer have that defense mechanism, they often bite more than your average cat, so you might want to ask/expirement with that. Our Yoshimi isn't declawed, but she bit a little when we got her (probably her defense mechanism when her former owners did goodness knows what to her), but she was quickly cured of it by pushing your hand closer to her when she bit, rather than draw it away (which looks a lot like you are winding up to hit them to a cat).

    If we didn't already have an older cat we probably would have adopted one of the older cats there, they don't have as much of a chance of getting adopted as the younger ones, and some of them were super super precious.

  7. #6
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    Everyone else has got good advice, and I haven't been to enough shelters to know what to look for in one.

    But, as far as the adopting a cat: don't be afraid to enter the cage (or have them bring the cat out, depending on the shelter) and 'hang out' with the cat for abit. It's the only way you'll know if it's for you or not; if it is, you'll know in the first five minutes, if not right away, and if not, move on to find one that is right for you. (:

    Hope everything goes well!

  8. #7
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    Between myself and my immediate family members, we have adopted 8 cats from the SPCA. They have ALL been beautiful, loving animals. A few tips we've learned:

    1) don't be afraid to go hang out at the shelter for a while. When I adopted Sphinx, I first went to the shelter with a donation of newspapers, and hung around in the cat rooms for ~ hour. There were two kitties in particular that were friendly. Then I went back with a friend, to see how these two kitties reacted to someone else too.

    Finally I decided I was going to get one - an orange tabby. I went back with a carrier to pick him up a day later, and another kitten (Sphinx) who had been new to the shelter when I had visited before and was so freaked out she stayed in her cage was finally let loose in the cat rooms. Sphinx adopted me. She came up to me, meowed until I picked her up, and then purred in my arms. If I put her down she sat on my feet and meowed until I picked her up again! Moral: go back often, especially if you don't have an instant bonding. Your pet will find you!

    Another thing, you may want to have your cat tested for Feline Leukemia Virus (FLV) at her first vet visit. FLV is transmitted through saliva, or kittens can get it from their mothers. Shelter cats are at higher risk of exposure. The animal will be healthy but then around 2-4 years old will become very sick and anemic, and will eventually die (or hopefully be humanely euthanized before they become too weak to eat or drink). There is no treatment. One of our shelter-adopted kitties suffered this fate. Luckily, the other kittens in the house had been vaccinated against FLV, and are fine. So, if you are adopting shelter cats, have all cats in the house vaccinated against FLV (additional to the "regular" vaccines) and test an animal for exposure before you introduce them into a household with other healthy animals. Normally a vet would only recommend that you vaccinate against FLV if your kitties will go outside.

    Another point: adopting kittens is a gamble. Yes, they are incredibly adorable, but they are also major trouble and major high-maintance. Plus, its hard to tell how thier personalitites will turn out. Adopting an "adolescent" (6 months to one year old) will still allow you bonding time, but will also give you a better idea of the kind of cat you will get. I adopted Sphinx at 8 months, and she was already a lap cat (which I wanted). Wobble and Automne were adopted as kittens ~ 10 weeks old, and while they are both beautiful animals, they turned out very, very different from the way they acted as kittens! Older cats are also much calmer and less destructive in the house, and are cleaner with the litter box. Consider giving and older cat a chance, especially one from a house where someone is suddenly "allergic", where a new romantic interest hates animals, or when someone has had to move to a place where animals are not allowed. These are often well-trained, well cared-for, loving animals, who just need a "forever" home.

    Be patient with new adoptees. We adopted Magic at 8 months. She was a stray who was captured in a barn with her mother and her mom's second litter of kittens. Wobble did not know what cat food was (she was used to eating bugs to survive), did not understand the litterbox (she used my mother's bedspread for a week), etcetera. However within a week or two she figured out the house, and then bonded with the entire family and defended our property with a vengenance!

    if you're not 100% sure about the adoption, look into rescue shelters that will let you foster animals. Often, they will supplement food and veterinary expensises if you provide the care for the animal. This is a great way to help out a cat for a short time if you're circumstances are uncertain, and to let you get to know a kitty before making a lifetime commitment.

    Good luck with your adoption! If anyone wants more info aboout FLV or the cats we've adopted, PM me.

    del

    Sorry for the long post!

  9. #8
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    Nothing really new to add, but I wanted to back up Delqc and say that the kitten you meet in the shelter isn't necessarily going to be the kitten you bring home with you. Mozart was quiet and friendly and loved to be held when we were in the SPCA; when we got him home he started singing his fool head off nonstop (hence the name) and turned into something of a spaz. He's adorable and I wouldn't trade him for anything, but he sure pulled a Jekyll/Hyde on us. We got him last July, to be a companion to Gatsby, who was grieving the loss of his friend Edgar, in January. Gatsby had never been an only cat before and he kind of wigged out; it became apparent that he needed companionship. Once we brought Mo home, Gatsby calmed down.

    How exciting! Now I want a new kitten.

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chelsea
    Stuff like Science Diet actually has so much filler and isn't worth how freakin expensive it is. If you go to a feed store, or a specialty pet store you should be able to find quality food.
    Now I'm curious. I thought Science Diet was better than the grocery-store brands; that's why we don't mind paying extra for it, and our cats prefer it to other foods we've tried. What other brand would you recommend that's healthier?

    One I tried not long ago was Blue Buffalo, I think, and my cats wouldn't touch it.

  11. #10
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    Science Diet is a fine food. it's not as "natural" or whatever as something like Royal Canin (which is phenomenally expensive and, i feel, a complete rip-off) but it will be fine for your cat.

    for the record, i have 4 neutered male cats that are ages 3, 4, 9, and 9 that have eaten nothing but Science Diet their entire lives, and none of them have ever had a medical problem related to diet.


 
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