Perhaps your family has decided to add another pet to the mix and you’ve decided to head down to the local animal shelter and pick up a new young and healthy kitten. While young families love to have a baby cat in the house, many animal lovers choose an adult cat instead. More importantly, when it comes to finding suitable homes for adult cats, the need is much greater. So if you’re planning on bringing a new cat into the family, here are the top reasons to adopt an older cat rather than a kitten.
1. Older cats are developed socially and physically which usually means you get a much better idea of their temperament and personality. A kitten may become aggressive or antisocial, but you’ll be able to get a good sense of an older cat’s behavior.
2. Adult cats are less likely to chew and scratch your furniture. Kittens teeth and often chew for comfort but they are also keenly attached to evolved behaviors. Cats evolved to scratch to maintain their nails and you’ll have to teach your kittens an appropriate replacement for this behavior.
3. Adult cats are self-sufficient. They clean themselves, toilet themselves, and generally groom themselves with ease. Kittens who do not have the benefit of an adult cat to teach them grooming techniques, can often be a bit messy. As the kitten owner, it will be your responsibility to groom her.
4. Adult cats make better companions for children. Kittens can be rambunctious and even a little aggressive and they often bite or scratch children, even in defense sometimes. However, adult cats are usually more familiar with children and better equipped to deal with them.
5. Adult cats need a home. Indeed, this may be an adult cat’s last chance for adoption before being euthanized. Adult cats still have a lot of love to give and can make great pets if you give them a chance!
If you have made the decision to get a pet, the only thing that is left to do is decide where to get it from. Some of us know pet breeders or maybe we have a friend looking to find a loving home for a kitten or puppy. Still, all too often, people go straight to the pet store to pick up a new dog or cat. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with buying your pet at a store, there are so many great reasons to adopt a pet from an animal shelter.
- When you adopt, you save a life. Some estimates have between 8 and 10 million dogs and cats taken to shelters every year in the United States. Of these animals, as many as 6 million of them may be euthanized because the shelters cannot afford to keep them and cannot find them a suitable home.
- Animal shelters provide you with a lot of choice. The variety of available pets at animal shelters is pretty surprising. One reason many people go to pet stores is because they want a pure bred or because they want to pick and choose their new pet. In fact, animal shelters often have pure bred cats and dogs as well as a wide range of breeds and mixes of any age.
- Adopting a pet can save you hundreds of dollars. Purchasing a puppy or kitten from a pet store can be very expensive and so adopting can save you a bundle. Most animal shelters don’t take money for the actual pet, but you may have to pay for vaccinations, training, or other costs.
As you can see, adopting a pet from a shelter is an excellent way to expand your family. Plus, you’ll feel good about possibly saving the life of an animal that otherwise wouldn’t experience the love associated with living with a caring family.
We often consider our relationship with our pets as one-sided. We are the providers and we care for our pets but the truth is that our pets can also care for us. Still, it is important to choose a pet that fits your lifestyle rather than expecting your pet to adjust to the way you live. Puppies and kittens are cute but they are also a big responsibility so you must make an educated decision with regards to pet ownership.
Research from around the world has shown that people with pets tend to be happier than people without pets. When choosing your pet, you want to make a number of lifestyle considerations first. Ask yourself about your activity level. Do you love to spend time outdoors or are you a homebody? People who spend most of their time at home should choose a pet that can live comfortably indoors most of the time. Cats or bunnies might be a great choice; whereas, if you prefer to spend lots of time outside running, walking, or hiking, a dog might be a great choice.
You also have to consider your family when choosing a pet. If you have small children or elderly people living in your house you need to think carefully about the energy level of your pet. Small dogs can be energetic but also may become scared of overzealous children. Likewise, large, active dogs may be a nuisance to elderly people. Try to find a pet with personality characteristics that would easily blend into your family.
Finally, you need to consider how much time you have. It’s not fair to get a dog, cat, or other pet when you know you’ll never be home. Pets will almost certainly live for several years (10 to 15 for dogs and cats and as many as 30 for birds, for example) and you should ensure that you will be able to give them the attention they need. Remember that pets are a great addition to your family but you also need to be responsible for their well-being.