PR Newswire- Each spring during "kitten season," thousands of newborn kittens join the millions of cats already in shelters across the country. That means your local shelter has tons of cute, cuddly newborns, in addition to all the mellow, older cats and everything in between. And the shelter staff is ready to help you adopt your very first cat – or to bring home a friend for another beloved cat – just in time for American Humane Association's Adopt-a-Cat Month.
The popular annual campaign is part of a larger effort by American Humane Association to help these beautiful animals and focus on and help solve the unique challenges and issues they face. Although cats have often been referred to as America's "Most Popular Pet," they receive less veterinary care, have less research dedicated to their unique health/ behavioral issues, are more likely to be feral, and are more likely to be euthanized in shelters than dogs.
American Humane Association has been conducting research to identify barriers to adoption and retention, as well as other key welfare issues. For more information on research involving cats, please visit www.americanhumane.org .
To help people do their part now, here is a "Top 10" checklist if you're thinking of adopting:
1. If you're thinking about adopting a cat, consider taking home two. Cats require exercise, mental stimulation and social interaction. Two cats can provide this for each other.
2. Find a cat whose personality meshes with yours. Just as we each have our own personality, so do cats. Adoption counselors can offer advice to help you match the individual cat's personality with your own.
3. Pick out a veterinarian ahead of time and schedule a visit within the first few days following the adoption. You'll want to take any medical records you received from the adoption center on your first visit.
4. Make sure everyone in the house is prepared to have a cat before your new pet comes home. When adopting a new cat with existing pets at home, discuss with the adoption facility how to make a proper introduction.
5. Budget for the short- and long-term costs of a cat. A cat adopted from a shelter is a bargain; many facilities will have already provided spaying or neutering, initial vaccines and a microchip for permanent identification.
6. Stock up on supplies before the cat arrives. Your cat will need a litter box, cat litter, food and water bowls, food, scratching posts, safe and stimulating toys, a cushy bed, a brush for grooming, a toothbrush and nail clippers.
7. Cat-proof your home. A new cat will quickly teach you not to leave things lying out. Get rid of loose items your cat might chew on, watch to ensure the kitten isn't chewing on electric cords, and pick up random items like paper clips which kittens may swallow.
8. Go slowly when introducing your cat to new friends and family. It can take several weeks for a cat to relax in a new environment. It's a great idea to keep the new addition secluded in a single room until the cat is used to the new surroundings; this is particularly important if you have other pets.
9. Be sure to include your new pet in your family's emergency plan. Add phone numbers for your veterinarian and closest 24-hour animal hospital to your "in-case-of-emergency" call list, and be sure to have a several-day supply of your pet's food and medications on hand.
10. If you're considering giving a cat as a gift, make sure the recipient is an active participant in the adoption process. Remember, adopting a cat isn't like purchasing a household appliance or a piece of jewelry – this is a real living, breathing and emotional being.