By Joanne Ott
Deciding to bring a cat or a kitten into a home should not be made impulsively, and not as a gift to someone who was not expecting it or had asked for a pet. Cats are very independent creatures, more so than dogs, but they still depend on us for food, shelter, love, and medical care if it becomes necessary. All felines should be wanted, which is why they shouldn’t be adopted unless you know you can care for it, and can afford any vet care that may be needed, besides of course the necessities he or she will need.
You may wish to select your cat from a shelter, a pet store, or from another home. The biggest advantage of getting your cat from the current owner is they can tell you about the cat’s temperament and behavior. This can be particularly useful if you have other pets in the home, or children. Some cats love children and others do not.
Animal shelters and pet stores should assure you are getting a cat free from health problems, since they are seen by a vet before adoption. Kittens should have had their first vaccinations. A shelter will often provide discounts if the cat needs to be sterilized at a later date.
If you want to have more than one cat, it’s best to have a male and female, although of course you want to be sure they are sterilized. Cats of the opposite sex usually get along better.
Cats are independent and don’t mind their own company, they don’t need as much attention as a dog. However, they still need human companionship, and may get lonely if you are gone for long periods. So you may want two cats so they have company.
When you have found the perfect cat for you, he or she will need time to adjust to its new environment. It will be quite normal for the cat to hide under a bed or somewhere else for a few days. Don’t try and force the cat to socialize or be with others, as long as food and water and a litter box are not far away it is best to let the cat become comfortable in its new home. If you have other pets, you will almost certainly have to keep them separated for awhile, and gradually introduce them to each other.
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