PAWS AND PAGES: Adopt-A-Cat Month

June is National Adopt-A-Cat Month!

Every spring, also known as “kitten season,” hundreds of newborn and young kittens join the hundreds of cats that are already in the care of the Humane Society of Imperial County.

What does this mean? Well, your local Humane Society has tons of cute and cuddly kittens, in addition to the several of friendly and older cats that have been in the shelter for several months or even years. The team at the Humane Society of Imperial County is ready to help you and your family adopt your very first cat, or bring home a friend for another beloved cat that you may already have. Regardless of what shelter or rescue you adopt from, our team is encouraging our community members to adopt a cat … or two.

This popular campaign is part of a larger effort by American Humane Society to help get cats and kittens at shelters across the nation adopted into loving-forever homes. Although cats have often been referred to as one of America’s “most popular pet,” statistically they receive less veterinary care, have less research dedicated to their unique health/behavioral issues, are more likely to be feral and are more likely to be euthanized in a shelter. Less than 1 percent of lost cats are ever reunited with their families.

Courtesy of the American Humane Society: here is a Top 10 checklist if you’re thinking of adopting a new feline friend:

1.    If you’re thinking about adopting a cat, consider taking home two. Cats require exercise, mental stimulation and social interaction. Two cats can provide this for each other.

2.    Find a cat whose personality meshes with yours. Just as we each have our own personality, so do cats. In general, cats with long hair and round heads and bodies are more easygoing than lean cats with narrow heads and short hair, who are typically more active. Adoption counselors can offer advice to help you match the individual cat’s personality with your own.

3.    Pick out a veterinarian ahead of time and schedule a visit within the first few days following the adoption. You’ll want to take any medical records you received from the adoption center on your first visit. Due to their immaturity, kittens in particular should accompany you to make the appointment -- even before the exam itself -- so staff can pet the cat and the animal will have a positive association with the veterinarian’s office.

4.    Make sure everyone in the house is prepared to have a cat before your new pet comes home. Visiting the shelter or animal control facility should be a family affair. When adopting a new cat with existing pets at home, discuss with the adoption facility how to make a proper introduction.

5.    Budget for the short- and long-term costs of a cat. Understand any pet is a responsibility, and there’s a cost associated with that. A cat adopted from a shelter is a bargain. Many facilities will have already provided spaying or neutering, initial vaccines, and a microchip for permanent identification. Plus, shelters and rescue groups are there to offer guidance and assistance as you acclimate your new family member.

6.    Stock up on supplies before the cat arrives. Be prepared so your new cat can start feeling at home right away. Your cat will need a litter box, a good-quality cat litter such as Cat’s Pride, food and water bowls, food, scratching posts, safe and stimulating toys, a cushy bed, a brush for grooming, a toothbrush and nail clippers.

7.    Cat-proof your home. A new cat will quickly teach you not to leave things lying out. Food left on the kitchen counter will serve to teach your new friend to jump on counters for a possible lunch. Get rid of loose items your cat might chew on, watch to ensure the kitten isn’t chewing on electric cords, and pick up random items like paper clips (which kittens may swallow).

8.    Go slowly when introducing your cat to new friends and family. It can take several weeks for a cat to relax in a new environment. It’s a great idea to keep the new addition secluded in a single room (with a litter box, food and water, toys and the cat carrier left out and open with bedding inside) until the cat is used to the new surroundings. This is particularly important if you have other pets. If you’ve adopted a kitten, socialization is very important. But remember – take it slow.

9.    Be sure to include your new pet in your family’s emergency plan. You probably have a plan in place for getting your family to safety in case of an emergency. Adjust this plan to include your pets. Add phone numbers for your veterinarian and closest 24-hour animal hospital to your “in-case-of-emergency” call list, and be sure to have a several-day supply of your pet’s food and medications on hand.

10.  If you’re considering giving a cat as a gift, make sure the recipient is an active participant in the adoption process. Though well-meaning, the surprise kitty gift doesn’t allow for a “get-to-know-one-another” period. Remember, adopting a cat isn’t like purchasing a household appliance or a piece of jewelry – this is a real living, breathing, and emotional being.

To help promote Adopt-A-Cat Month, the Humane Society of Imperial County is reducing all cat and kitten adoption fees by 50 percent for the entire month of June.

The adoption fee for adult cats over the age of 1 year will be $30, and the adoption fee for kittens under 1 year of age will be $40. Of course and as always, all adoptions will include our standard adoption benefits and all adoption protocols and procedures still apply.

To view all the cats and kittens that we have available for adoption, please visit https://www.adoptapet.com/shelter86128-cats.html

We are also now on Petfinder.com.

Thank you for making adoption your first choice and Happy Adopt-A-Cat Month!

 

Devon Apodaca is executive director of the Humane Society of Imperial County.

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