Springtime explodes with new life- the trees are budding, lawns are growing, flowers are blooming and many animals are having their babies. While it is wonderful to see young wildlife, this time of year can be very stressful for the volunteers who work at our local animal shelters and rescues.
June is Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat Month. Cats, unlike dogs, are seasonal breeders and usually start having litters in the early spring through the late fall. The shelters start becoming inundated with strays especially through that time period. Adopting one- or more- of those needy cats gives you and your new pets years of love and companionship.
Cats are interesting creatures. Although they have been domesticated for thousands of years, they have actually changed very little over that time. There is huge variation in dog breeds, from tiny teacup chihuahuas to giant mastiffs, but cats, other than the shape of the face (pushed-in Persians vs triangle Siamese) and haircoats, there tend to be very few differences. They have even retained their hunting instincts- ever watch your cat stalk a moth? They are so proud when they capture it!
Although many people consider them to be aloof, cats are actually quite affectionate in their own way. They just like to have things done on their own terms. After all, they are kind enough to let you live in their house and serve them food, so you should appreciate them. Many studies have been done showing humans’ blood pressure drops when stroking a cat. That warm, furry, purring creature is better than any portable massage unit. Since they use a litterbox, they do not need to be taken out on a regular schedule like a dog and can be a wonderful pet for people who work long or irregular hours.
So once you decide to adopt a kitty, there will be many to choose from. There are young kittens, which are cute and fun, but need more time and attention than the many adult cats desperate for a home. Whichever you decide is best for you, you can make the transition to your home easier by doing a few simple things. For young kittens, or if you have other cats at your home, keep your new pet in a separate room for a few days. That will allow her to acclimate slowly to the new environment. Young kittens will learn to find the litterbox and other cats in the household can understand that there is a new member of the family. It can also be helpful to use a cat pheromone to make things go more smoothly. We have these available is a plug-in diffuser and as a spray. The choice depends on the situation and we would be happy to discuss that with you.
It is also important to have your new feline examined and have a fecal sample tested after she has had a change to settle in for a few days. She may have already had a feline leukemia/ FIV test and had vaccines, but we should go over her records and make sure she is healthy and can be introduced to the rest of the household.
If you would like to take a new cat into your home, we have many agencies in the area who would love to find you a perfect match. Please give us a call and we can help you in your search for a new companion.