Adoption Options

Guest Post by Sarah.Adopting Old

Adopting older shelter pets can be great for both the adopted and adoptee – the animals find good homes, get a second chance at the life they deserve and help to reduce stress (without the mess!) and increase the love and happiness in your life. Though it seems that we tend to gravitate towards puppies and kittens instead of the older animals housed in the shelters, this means that they’ll most likely be put down (unless it’s not a kill shelter). There are dangers and benefits to getting an older cat; I’ll focus on the latter more.

What Is Old?

We’re not talking 9 or 10, more like 3 or 4 years of age when they are far from kittens and now adults.

Why Old?

One huge benefit of adopting adults is that you get past all the chores and headaches that kittens bring such as teething, accidents and tempers. Another benefit is that with a little research you can find yourself a well behaved and house broken cat (or trained).

Who Should Adopt Adult Cats?

These are perfect for first time pet owners, and couples who are testing the seriousness of their relationship.

First Timers

First time pet owners should lean more towards adults since it will usually be easier for them, especially if the owner is constantly busy. Kittens are rather demanding creatures and take up a lot of time. Adults are usually solitary creatures and as long as they have enough things to keep them busy (like toys, treats, etc.), you can leave them for hours at a time with few problems.

Couples

Those looking to take their relationship to the next level; might want to ease in to the transition with a cat and not a kitten. The kitten may prove to be more trying than new couples think and may not be a good judge of how a relationship is going, plus from a psychological stand point it’s not exactly fair amount of pressure to put on a budding relationship. Cats come “pre-built”, and older cats are usually pre-trained and used to home living; this mixture provides less stress than raising a kitten into an adult and allows the couples more time to enjoy their cat and each other, thus strengthening their relationship.

Elderly

If you have a parent that lives on their own, then a cat might be just the right amount of company for them. You wouldn’t want to burden them with having to raise a kitten, mind you there are some people out there that a kitten would be perfect for. For most people, cats are great since they provide companionship and are solitary enough that they don’t require the constant attention that dogs can sometimes demand. Another benefit comes from the mutual relationship each party has and from petting, it releases serotonin which makes owner and pet both feel good. Cats (and pets in general) can also breathe new life into a tired soul, giving the owner a new sense of purpose that can be lost with age especially if they aren’t near any family.

Parents with Young Children

Having young children alone can be a handful, why add to the stress by bringing a kitten into the mix? The right cat will fit in with the family and will be okay with kids. The cat can help teach your children responsibility without being as demanding as a dog, making it a better teaching tool for younger kids (like 3-7years of age).

What to Ask When Adopting

  • History of the cat
    • Avoid:
      • Cats from hoarders’ houses: they tend to be more feral and will take a lot of work to get re-acclimated to a more “normal” environment.
      • Abandoned cat: this one can be a hit or a miss, you can try to find out how long they suspect the cat has been abandoned. The longer it has been left on its own the more feral and solitary it will act.
    • Age: you want to avoid getting a cat that’s on the last leg of its life so you have the most time with it.
    • Medical history: Make sure they are up to date on their shots, and didn’t have major surgery in their life for cancer or other possibly reoccurring conditions.
    • Personal history:
      • Look for a cat that had to be given up due to a change of location, they’ll usually have the best temperament and won’t have socialization issues.
      • Look for a cat that came from a home with only one cat, they’ll be more likely to bond with a new owner and be more affectionate. Multi cat homes are less likely to rely on human affection and won’t have as strong of a bond to a new single cat environment, or you’ll have to work harder for it.
      • Temper issues – sometimes it could be caused by an owner who didn’t know what they were doing.
      • Any weird quirks like ocd or time and location specific quirks like aggression during feeding.
    • Owner History:
      • Did they have kids
      • Age of the owners
      • Living conditions
      • Reason they gave up the animal

Final Thought

It will take your new cat some getting used to its new environment, and the first few months will be the hardest. How you handle this will determine how comfortable the cat feels and will behave in its new home. Don’t be fooled, an animal regardless of age, is a lot of work and if you can’t put the time into it then don’t put the cat through it. Wait until you are mature enough, this isn’t something you can or should get on an impulse.

Do Your Home Work:

  • Figure out the cost it will to take care of the animal to make sure you can afford it.
  • If you live in a condo or an apartment, recheck your homeowner’s guidelines and make sure a pet is allowed.
  • Make sure you can put in the time, if you are in the running for a promotion for example and with it comes a lot of travel then a pet may not be the best thing for you. Remember cats need attention, maybe not as much as dogs, but they still need their owner; it’s not fair to them to have an owner that is only with a pet for a few months out of a year, plus it can be rather stressful on it.
  • Research breeds, and create a list of 3 or 4 possibilities. Different breeds behave differently, so find the right one with you. The best place to get information that’s concise and easy to digest are pet food sites like Purina.com or Iams.com.

REMEMBER: All cats are unique, and how they react is just as unpredictable. You won’t know until you take it home and spend some time with it.

About the author:

Sarah Rexman is the main researcher and writer for bedbugs.org. Her most recent accomplishment includes graduating from Florida State, with a degree in environmental science.  Her current focus for the site involves researching bug beds and bed bugs mattress.

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