It’s no secret I’m a self-proclaimed cat lady. I got my cat, Hampden, weeks after graduating college – basically as soon as I moved into my grown up apartment that allowed pets. While I grew up with dogs (and one cat!), I knew that a cat just made more sense for a small space lifestyle where I couldn’t commit to being home at a certain hour to let a dog out. I needed a bit more flexibility and independence in my pet, and that’s why I decided to adopt Hampden, formerly known as Snickers in her shelter life, from the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA. Of course there are a few things you should know before adopting any pet, so I have a few of my tips for you today.
WHY ADOPT RATHER THAN SHOP?
I appreciate a gorgeous purebred cat as much as the next person and I would love to have an Abyssinian or a Siamese cat someday, but I’m going to have to find them through a rescue or a shelter. There are so many cats that need homes that I could never justify spending the money on a purebred. With cats, much like with dogs, you’ll find healthier, friendlier cats at the shelter than you would at most breeders, so save a thousand or so dollars and give a cat in need a home.
WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE ADOPTING
Adopting a cat was one of the best decisions I’ve made. It’s so comforting to have a furry friend running around the apartment, greeting you when you get home. Plus, Hampden is super low maintenance.
- Make sure you can actually have a cat in your house or apartment. Not all landlords or condo HOA’s are okay with pets. Others are totally fine with pets – for a price – and you may not be looking to spend $100 a month on pet rent.
- Look at your budget and assess whether a cat fits into your monthly expenses. Cats are definitely lower cost than dogs, but that doesn’t mean they’re free. You’ll spend about $12 on litter a month, $30 on food, cat sitting while I’m on vacation, and vet expenses as they come up. On that note, we do not have vet insurance, and I’ve done the math – yes, we’ve had some big vet bills, but they still don’t add up to more than what we would have paid over the years in insurance.
- Do your research on shelters in the area. Also, consider the type of cat that would work for you. Older cats can be a wonderful choice, especially if you want to avoid the kitten phase. While I adopted Hampden at 12 weeks, I would absolutely go the older route next time. When you consider that many cats live up to 20 years, a 10 year old cat is barely middle age. Think about fur maintenance – for some people, they love long hair cats and accept the grooming and pick up that comes with that, for me, I knew short hair was the way to go.
- Cat proof your home. Get rid of any plants that might be poisonous to cats. Protect your sofa from wandering cat claws (I did this with strategically placed fur throws that look like I meant them to be intentionally stylish). Also, where are you going to put that litter box? While I’d love to have a mudroom where I could stash it, unfortunately it’s in the living room. But, I got a dark, neutral color and positioned it so that Hampden can get in, yet it’s not facing open into the room.
- Stock up on cat supplies! You’ll want to bring your new friend home with everything ready. That means a cat carrier, a litter box, cat litter, food, dishes, a couple toys, and maybe a scratching post. Remember, cats can be finicky, so it may be worth asking the shelter what type of litter and food they were using. While your cat is adjusting to its new home, having familiar supplies might make the transition easier.
THE LITTER FOR GOOD® PROGRAM
While we’re on the subject of both shelter cats and stocking up your home to prepare for an adopted furry friend, think about purchasing Cat’s Pride® Fresh and Light® next time you make a cat litter run. First things first, it’s a light litter, so it’s easier to haul back from the grocery store (necessary for the carless among us!), but, second of all, and more importantly, for every jug of litter purchased, Cat’s Pride® donates a pound of litter to shelter cats. It’s their Litter for Good® program and it helps you help shelter cats – even if you’ve maxed out on how many you can adopt.
This post is sponsored by Cat’s Pride but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.