Before you start looking for a cat or kitten to adopt, make sure everyone in your household — all the adults and all the kids — agrees they want a cat. Look down the road as you talk and think about it: you are choosing to accept responsibility for a living creature, for the rest of its life, which could be ten or even twenty years. You, your family, and your chosen pet deserve to have this decision made carefully.
- Do you have the patience and commitment to understand your cat’s needs and ways of communication? Some cats seem aloof, but they bond with you for security and company and need you to recognize that.
- How old are your children? If they’re under six, experts recommend that you wait a few years. Kittens have extra-sharp teeth and claws, and strike back when teased. Some cats are high-strung and become stressed by behaviors that are normal or unavoidable in young children.
- Is anyone in the house allergic? Different cats elicit different reactions. Spend time with a similar pet at a friend’s house before choosing yours.
- Is an adult willing to shoulder ultimate responsibility for the animal’s care? Pets can teach a child about loyalty and responsibility, but you can’t expect a child to do all the work of feeding and cleaning the kitty litter.
- How much time does your family spend at home? Animals like the company of their family, although cats do well with the care of others when you must be away. Do you know who’ll take care of your pet when you go on a trip?
- Does your lease or condo board allow pets? Find out before you fall in love!
- Can you tolerate some damage to furniture and floors until your new pet becomes accustomed to your home? Will you take accidents, even flea infestations, in stride?
- Do you have the financial means to support a pet? The costs of medical care, food, grooming, toys, kitty litter and other supplies can add up.
ICRA’s adoption fee is $100 for a kitten or cat under eight years of age; $75 for a cat over eight; and for two cats adopted together the full amount of the higher fee, plus half the amount of the lower or same fee (e.g. a kitten and a cat under eight would be $100.00 + 50.00 = $150.00).
You will also incur the cost of food, litter, vaccination boosters, and occasional unplanned trips to the veterinarian for illness or injury. Food, alone, can cost as much as $1 a day or more adding up to $365 dollars a year. Litter, depending on the type and quality will run anywhere from $2 to $10 a week. You will also need to purchase other materials for your cat’s comfort such as food and water bowls, a litter pan or box, brush, toys and bedding. Major pet emergencies or illnesses can run into a few hundred dollars, sometimes even over $1,000.