Have you thought about it for a long time—adopting a cat? Is it something you’ve told yourself for years you’d do, once you were m
ore stable financially, when you’d moved into a safe space? Or were you highjacked by a whim when you went with a friend to an animal shelter? Did you suddenly say to yourself, “Why not?” Did you fall in love at first sight with a cat that was looking for a home?
It doesn’t matter how or why. You’ve decided. You’re going to adopt a cat.
I asked cat experts what advice they’d give to a first-time cat adopter.
Your first cat—what do you need to consider, what do you need to know?
(1) Think about the indoor/outdoor issue. If you’re committed to an indoor-only cat, don’t get one that has been let outside in the past. All the kittens I’ve adopted that were found outside were frantic to go out again, and ended up as indoor/outdoor cats.
(2) If you’re getting a kitten and specifically want a male or female, make sure the person sexing the kitten knows what they’re doing. Mistakes are common.
(3) If you don’t like the idea of a litter box in the house, just stop now.
(4) If you have children and the idea of the cat scratching the child sounds like a “get rid of the cat” situation, don’t get a cat.
(5) If you’re going to let your cat outside, expect fleas.
(6) My personal opinion is that you should get a cat that is already friendly and purring when it meets you. Walk away from the “he’s shy, but he’ll warm up to you in a few . . . hours, days, weeks” cats. Because maybe they will, and maybe they won’t. And it’s a first cat.