Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Consider Shelter Adoption for Kittens


by Elyse Grau

Thinking about getting a kitten? Well, first stop (and hopefully only stop)should be the local animal shelter. From early spring through the start of fall most shelters are brimming with adorable, cuddly kittens of all colors

If you really want a specific breed of cat and can't find one at the shelters, try a breed rescue group.

By adopting a "shelter" or "rescue" animal, you are giving an animal a second chance, and maybe it's last chance. Overcrowding and lack of resources results in many of these cats and kittens being euthanized.

You can also help to keep the pet population in check by adopting a "pre-owned" animal.

Before you go to the shelter or call a rescue group, you should have some ideas of what you are looking for in a cat or kitten. Are you willing to groom a longhaired cat as often as required? Are you sure no one in your household is allergic to cats?

Is this your first dog or cat? If so, you may want to talk to other pet owners to be sure you have a realistic idea of what you are getting yourself into. Remember that this is a long-term commitment, as much as 20 years for a cat! Look hard at your budget before deciding on a new pet. Don't forget food, vet expense, possible boarding or pet sitting, groomers, kitty litter, etc.

If you are adding to a household of pets, consider the ones you already have. Will they accept another animal? Most dogs and cats can learn to live with each other eventually, but some will have a harder time adjusting than others. Some cats do not tolerate other cats well. Planning ahead for the introductions and potential problems will ease the way considerably.

If you are renting, are pets allowed? Are you planning to move in the near future? Consider your lifestyle, your habits and your home. Once you have reviewed your situation and are certain that this is the right time for a new pet, then the question becomes "What breed of cat is right for us?"

My favorite breed of cat is the "domestic shorthair", a catch-all term for mixed breed cats. Really, unless you are looking to show or breed the animal, there is really no reason to choose a purebred cat.

Mixed breed cats tend to be healthier. Since most genetic anomalies and predispositions to disease are carried on recessive genes, mixed breeds will be less likely to inherit these traits. Often times you get the best of both worlds - or at least the best of both breeds. The animals will usually exhibit the most predominant traits of their breeds so knowing something about the different breeds will tell you something about the animal you are considering. There are only a few breeds of cat that really have specific characteristics beyond looks. Siamese, for example, are known for their vocalizations.

If you have your heart set on a specific breed, and you have done your research and know that the breed is right for you and your lifestyle, then you might want to consider looking for a rescue group for that breed. The internet is a good resource for finding a rescue group in your area.

When visiting a shelter, remember that cats are usually much more timid than dogs, and are often frightened by large, noisy spaces. Their behavior at the shelter is a response to their environment. They may seem frightened, shy or depressed. Talk to the shelter personnel, find out as much as you can about the cat's normal behavior.

Once the kitten has adapted to its new home it should shed its fear and anxiety. Hopefully they will turn out to be the perfect cat or kitten for you. And don't forget to have them spayed or neutered!

Elyse Grau is an herbalist and a long-time pet owner, well-versed in pet nutrition and feeding. She is the author of Pet Health Resource, your web guide to a healthy, happy dog or cat. The website strives to answer your holistic pet health questions through a large collection of articles.
http://www.pethealthresource.com/

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2 comments:

Teri said...

Not sure if you put awards on your blog, but I'd love to see more visitors drawn to your excellent blog, so here's a Friendship award! Come by our blog to pick it up.

Teri and the cats of Furrydance

The Frenzied Feline said...

I'd be honored...Thank you very much!

Purrs...Debbie

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