Getting a kitten or cat can be an exciting time; you’re adding another member to your family household and there is lots of things to consider as buying a pet is a big responsibility. With this in mind, Paul Houlden, founder of Animal Rescue Foundation (www.animalrescue.foundation), has offered up 9 top tips to consider when looking to rehome a feline:
- Make sure the cat’s personality suits yours
You may not realise it, but different breeds of cats have different personalities, so finding the right one to suit yours is key. There are playful cats, chilled out cats, sly cats and loveable lap cats, so if you have found a cat you think you like, it might be worth checking out its personality and temperament beforehand so you don’t have any nasty surprises when you take it home! Of course, most cats can be trained given the right time and affection, but older cats being rehomed are likely stuck in their ways and will need a certain environment.
- Consider your family dynamic
Before taking on a cat, it might be worth looking into your family dynamic. Is the cat your looking to home child friendly? Is it scared of men or women or even bigger groups of people? If you have a baby or young child in the house, how will they deal with an animal running around? If you live in a busy household, then remember to ease your new cat in; don’t all surround it and give it fuss straight away as it will already be timid from simply coming into a new home. Let the cat or kitten warm to you all in its own time.
- Adopt rather than buying new
Rescuing a cat or kitten from a shelter is far better than buying ones that are bred for money. There are many cats and other animals out there that have been bereaved, abandoned or abused by their previous owners and are crying out to have that love and attention that they need from a new family. If adoption isn’t your thing then you could foster a cat or kitten until it finds its forever home and that way you are still a key part of that cat’s rescue story.
- Take into consideration all costs
Pictures of cute cats and kittens can distract a lot of people away from how much it all might actually cost owning one in the first place. Write a list of all the things you need and tally up the rough costs to how much overall it could cost you; not just the initial cost to purchase the furball, but vets fees and/or monthly insurance fees, monthly fees for food and litter, toys, beds, scratching posts – it all soon starts to add up.
- Do you have enough time?
Whilst you think a lot of cats spend most of their time asleep or outdoors and you don’t need to be home for them 24/7, you still need to dedicate a lot of time to your new pet, both for training and comfort, but also because they are a member of your family – not one to be neglected. While independent, they still require regular feeding and will demand your attention.
- What about your other pets?
Another thing to consider is any other pets that you may have in the home. If you already have a dog or another cat, how would they feel about the new arrival? And is the new cat you’re rehoming okay with other furry friends? The last thing you want to do is bring a cat into a hostile environment where it doesn’t feel welcome or wanted by other furry members of the household – so clue yourself up on all of this before making that leap.
- Rearrange your home to make it feline friendly – block cat flaps
It is important to make your house as cat-friendly as possible. If you’re worried about furniture getting clawed then buy some cat scratching posts to allow your cat or kitten to get their claws into something without destroying your belongings in the process. Be sure to temporarily block up any cat flaps you may already have to stop your new feline friend from escaping in the early days before they’re ready and you’re confident that they will return. Cats also love to climb and perch in high places so get a tall seating area for them or even halfway platforms to help them get to those out of reach places they’d love to visit. And be sure to offer them a safe space; many kittens and cats that are being rehomed will want a little time to adjust. Ensure that their bed, food and litter tray are not too close to each other and that they have a safe space to return to if they need a little down time.
- Take out pet insurance
If your cat becomes ill or has any veterinary issues, it could end up costing you a fortune in vet bills that you may not be able to afford. When you first get a cat, one of the first things you should do is take out pet insurance and find out about any health conditions your cat may already have – many insurance providers will not cover pre-existing conditions. Ensuring you have a good level of insurance will mean that you and your kitty are both covered and there will be no nasty surprise bills from the vets. Many insurance providers also offer a 4-week free trial, so look into that as that can save you one month’s fee
- Consider getting the cat spayed/castrated
If you are looking to get a cat that you let outdoors, you might want to think about getting it neutered before you let it loose, if it isn’t already. You can get this done as early as 6-months old with cats, although you will be advised to get it done at 5-months if you are rehoming a male and a female together. This way, your tom cat isn’t likely to get yours or neighbours’ female cats pregnant, and your female isn’t likely to come home with a swollen belly.