June is "Adopt a Cat" month and you might decide this is the ideal time to find yourself a feline companion. If you're a first-time cat owner, you need to be prepared for the amount of energy and love a cat brings into your home. They may be small, but they’re mighty and their personalities are distinct. Following are tips for adopting a cat and what you need to know before you go to the shelter.
Consider Adopting a Pair
Cats are thought of as solitary creatures, and it's true that there are individuals who don't want to live with other cats. However, cats are social and need stimulation to keep their bodies and minds content. Having a bonded pair in the house keeps them socialized, minimizes obnoxious behaviors, and lessens your guilt when you have to go out for a few hours or on vacation for a week.
Feed a High Protein Diet Primarily of Wet Foods
There's a perception that feeding a cat wet food is "spoiling" the cat. Feline science says otherwise as cats are classified as obligate carnivores. Cats have evolved to eat a diet that consists mostly of raw meat and get their water consumption from their food. That's not to say that you can't feed a cat dry kibble, ever. Just make sure that the kibble is mostly protein and is grain-free as cats don't do a good job of digesting carbs. Your cat will stay in good weight and your litter box won't stink to high heaven.
Keep Water Dishes Fresh at All Times
Even though cats get their water from their meals, they still need fresh, clean water to drink. The longer the water dish has gone between emptying and cleaning, the less likely they are to drink regularly. Male cats are prone to a condition known as urinary crystals which is aggravated by low water consumption. Keeping fresh water available goes a long way towards preventing crystals and helps your cat stay healthy.
Don't be surprised if you find your cat likes to drink from a faucet. It's an instinctive urge to drink water from a running source. Consider getting a pet water fountain to keep your cat from getting into the sink at inopportune times.
Use Low-Dust Litter
A majority of cat litter is made from bentonite clay, but you can find products made from recycled newspaper, pine shavings, and recycled corn cobs. Look for litters that have low dust on the label as it means less aggravation for you to clean along with less dust for your cat to inhale while using the box. Clumping litter is safe to use and makes it easier for a first-time cat owner to get used to litter box duties.
Make an Appointment With the Veterinarian
The shelter will send you home with a clean bill of health for your new companion, but you should make an appointment with a veterinarian for a wellness check as soon as you can. An initial visit can uncover something that wasn't seen at the shelter or confirm the overall well-being of your cat. You'll learn about what to expect as your cat ages and establish a relationship with the veterinarian for ongoing care over the years.