You can purchase practically anything on the basis of a spontaneous decision. But not a companion animal! So you’ve been wishing you had a cat for some time and are seriously thinking of getting one? And you’re finally contemplating actually taking steps in this direction? Then you really need to be aware, first of all, that when you acquire a cat, it is for life (almost) and not just for Christmas! – after all, cats can live to an age of more than twenty years.
Apart from this, you would like to do your very best to meet the natural needs of your domestic tiger – so what do their basic needs really amount to? What does your future cat really need in order to be happy with you in every way? So, without further ado, let’s dive into this blog and learn some of the things you need to know about adopting a cat.
1. Visit a shelter
Either male or female cats may be totally cuddly, as a matter of intrinsic character, or else free-spirited and independent. And there’s no way of finding out in advance. It’s more likely to be the costs that decide on the gender of your future cat – spaying a female, on average, costs less than the castration of a tom.
In either case, it absolutely must be done, as you don’t want to see unlimited feline propagation. Unless, of course, you intend to breed cats. But in view of the many stray cats who are already urgently in need of a loving home, you should really have a good think about this!
2. Adopt, not shop
Stray cats that have been picked up, countless progeny, cats abandoned during a separation or after their households have broken up – all these are to be found in your local shelter, and they may include pedigree cats as well! You are really doing a good deed if you make this your first choice to find your ideal new companion animal.
It must be said, though, that you need a whole lot of empathy and patience for a cat from an animal rescue home, as it may well have suffered a trauma in its former life, and it may take a while before it can learn to trust humans again.
If you are considering getting a cat from the shelter, it’s useful to visit it several times first and also to observe it at different times of the day. This way, you can learn a bit more about its character and preferences, which might help you better adjust to it.
3. A kitten or an old cat
A grown-up cat will be less work from the start, as it is already to some extent ‘up and running’; it can do stuff and knows how to do it. Kittens, on the other hand, become independent at an early stage and pick up a lot from their mothers, but just like human babies, they still need to learn everything from scratch – including how to use the litter tray.
Moreover, kittens are naturally more sensitive and more prone to disease. And when they reach a certain age, they need to be spayed or castrated – when the cat is fully grown-up, the previous owner will already have dealt with this.
A Finnish study of more than 5700 cats of a wide range of breeds came to the following conclusion: baby cats who had been taken from their mothers before the eighth week of life were definitely more aggressive in relation to new members of the household than animals which had been left with their mothers for 12-13 weeks.
Animals that had only been weaned after 14-15 weeks proved to be more tractable, had better appetites, and also were free from undesirable symptoms like compulsive licking and grooming. In short, those cats showed very much the best development, which had been allowed to live with their mothers till they were quite old or had not been separated from their mother at all.
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