4 Things You Should Know Before Adopting A Cat

by JR Thorpe
Chris McGrath/Getty Images News/Getty Images

If you're thinking of getting yourself a furry friend and don't have the space for a dog or the patience for a guinea pig, cats may just be for you. But there's a lot of preparation that goes into making a good home for a new feline friend: it's not just about going to a local shelter and finding a breed that suits your needs best, though that is always important. Tips for adopting a cat include thinking about the bigger logistical issues, like making sure your new cat complies with local laws around pet ownership, or investigating boring things like insurance. Sorry, but if you're going to be the adult responsible for one of a cat's nine lives (or all of them), you need to make sure you have things Totally Sorted.

Cats don't have to be high maintenance necessarily, but that doesn't mean they don't require care, expense and good preparation. If you take home a cat without doing your homework, you're will be doing a disservice both to yourself and to the fluffy friend who's now dependent on you. So make sure your research is all done before you fall in love with a kitten. Not sure where to start? Here are four things to think about before taking the plunge.


Think About Your Allergies

Does anybody in your household have an allergy to cat dander or saliva? You'd be surprised how many people don't check properly before they bring a cat home. These allergies can be particularly exacerbated by having a a male cat, and scientists estimate that up to 10 percent of adult Americans have allergies to dogs or cats. If you're not willing to be on antihistamines for the rest of your life, make every member of your home spend some time with a cat and see whether their immune systems react. If they cough, get itchy eyes or develop a puzzling sneeze, cats might not be a good idea.


Consider The Rules Of Your Residence

Before you bring a cat home, it's worth checking the rules of your building, your neighborhood, and your county or council about what cats are allowed and how you're meant to manage them. If their yowls at 9 p.m. are going to violate a noise ordinance, or you're only allowed to have indoor animals, or cats are forbidden from particular communal areas or gardens, it's good to know before you go out and pick up Mr. Fluffster, so you can play accordingly.


...And Your Community

If you adopt from a reputable shelter, you should get all of this information as you select a pet, but obeying local laws about microchipping and licensing your cat is a definite must. Your local animal control will likely have a rundown of what it actually takes to own a cat legally in your area. If you've picked up a cat from a breeder, these rules still apply. Alley cat or fancy pedigree, the rules remain the same.


And Don't Forget Insurance

It is not a good idea to bring home an animal if you can't insure it. It's a basic cost for animal care; factor in the cost alongside the food and litter. However, different cat types get different insurance premiums. Older ones can incur more costs, for instance, as can cats with FIV, or feline immunodeficiency virus. Do your research about what kind of insurance would best suit your potential feline, and also make sure you account for regular costs like worming and flea treatment. Cats aren't a one-time cost; they're a big, fluffy investment.

With foresight and preparation, you can welcome a big bundle of fluff into your home and set it up for a happy, new life. Pet parenting isn't something to take lightly, but knowing what goes into the adoption process — yes, even the boring stuff — will make the process as painless as possible.