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Top Tips on Choosing and Preparing for Your Adopted Cat

Top Tips on Choosing and Preparing for Your Adopted Cat

June is both the ASPCA’s Adopt a Shelter Cat Month and the American Humane Association’s Adopt a Cat Month. Either way, it’s a very special month for cats.

At BISSELL and Fear Free, we have a soft spot for shelter kitties, and we want to help them find homes. Here are 10 tips for finding just the right one to join your family and what to plan for when you bring her home.

1: Personality Plus. Individual cats have distinct personalities. Discuss with family members the kind of cat you think might be the best match: do you want an active cat who is a sort of feline superhero or a couch potato? Also, if you happen to be a senior citizen yourself, maybe a senior cat is best.

2: During a shelter visit, you’re getting only a quick glimpse into a cat’s personality. For example, that cat you’re calling “lazy” might have just played with two consecutive visitors and is now taking a well-deserved catnap. Ask an adoption counselor who sees all the cats daily to assess what they’re really like.

3: Shelter cats are already spayed or neutered and treated for parasites, and often they have received additional medical care or have been microchipped. What a bargain!

4: Budget. Over the life of your cat there will be costs involved for food and medical care, not to mention toys, litter, and pet sitting or boarding costs. Any pet is a financial commitment and responsibility. 

5: Stock Up. Your new arrival will need a litter box (or two), cat litter, food and water bowls, food, scratching posts, safe and stimulating toys, a cushy bed, a brush for grooming, a toothbrush and pet toothpaste, and nail clippers.

6: Catproof. Ensure that your home is safe. That means, among other things, no lilies or other dangerous plants and no dangling yarn for a cat to swallow. Even an adult cat can get into trouble.

7: Get the vet! Find a veterinarian for a post-adoption exam, and schedule blood work so your veterinarian will have a basis for comparison in the future.  


8: Fear Free. Seek out a Fear Free practice or Fear Free veterinarian to assist in making those veterinary visits palatable before the cat has an adverse reaction. Learn more at

9: Think two. Cats require exercise, mental stimulation, and social interaction. Two cats may be better than one, providing twice the benefits for one another and for you. For example, purring has been shown to beneficial for our health; when cats purr, we smile. What’s wrong with smiling twice as often? Make sure the two cats you’re adopting get along well; littermates are always the best idea. If you currently have a single cat, adopting two can keep them focused on one another rather than your existing cat. (Of course, it’s possible – albeit unlikely – that the two will gang up on your existing cat).

10: Nice to meet you. Get advice on how to introduce new cats into a home with an existing cat or more than one cat. In general, newcomer(s) should be secluded in a sanctuary room (second bedroom or den, for example). Use comforting tools, such as the calming pheromone Feliway, and play, which is a great stress-buster. If the newcomer is hiding and really scared, never force your touch. Instead, use enticing treats and develop trust, allowing the cat to come to you when he or she is ready.  And the more time you take to introduce the cats, the better.

Link to Steve Dale bio/website:

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