Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Bringing a new pet into your home is an exciting event, but it is important to be prepared for the commitment. Cats have a reputation for independence but still require an investment of time and money. There are several things to consider before making the decision to adopt.
Do you have other pets in the home? Don't assume your pet will accept the newcomer with as much as excitement as the rest of your family. Particularly if the pet is older, a new addition can be stressful for both animals. Unfortunately, this is the exact time many people choose to add to their pet family. As the existing pet ages, he may become less “fun,” and the idea of adding a cute kitten is appealing. The older pet, justifiably, feels territorial, and may express his feelings in a variety of ways, including aggression toward the new pet, changing his toilet habits, refusing to eat or becoming less social with family members. If you have an older pet in the home, carefully consider how he may react before adding a new cat to the family.
Who will take care of the pet? It is easy to say that kids will, but, until they are in their early teens, it is unrealistic to hand over the responsibility of your new cat's care entirely to a child. Encourage children to help and feel free to assign pet care chores, but, unless you or your spouse is willing to assume total responsibility for the cat's care, reconsider adoption.
Is your home cat proof? Before bringing your cat home, take the time to walk through the house and determine how safe the home is for your new addition. Kittens are extremely playful and will make toys out of unlikely household items. Toilet paper, tissue, electric cords and houseplants are all tempting, and are all potentially dangerous.
Gather the necessary supplies before bringing your cat home. Once your cat is home, you'll want to spend time helping him become acclimated and comfortable in his new environment, not running to the nearest pet store. Your cat will need a litter box, litter, food, dishes for food and water, brush, nail clippers, a few toys and a bed or blanket. Arrange your cat's possessions to give him the best chance of success. Place the litter box in a quiet, out-of-the-way location. Place his food and water near the litter box, but not so close that he will be averse to using the box.
By spending some time thinking about what your new cat may need and preparing for his arrival, you increase the chances he will fit into the family with few problems.