Updated: Oct 5, 2021
Even though the calendar says it's fall, kitten season is not over. There are still so many kitties that need a forever home. Right now, one of our foster homes is taking care of a litter of kittens who were rescued about a month ago from a large feral colony overrun with breeding cats. These cuties have already been spayed or neutered, vaccinated, microchipped, and treated for parasites, coughs, and runny noses. The foster parents also worked diligently to teach them good social skills, so that they are now ready to find families of their own. Maybe you are ready to open your heart to these little guys who will become your best friends?
It is easy to get excited about adopting a couple of rescued kittens, and feel a genuine desire to make them the happiest animals in the world. Their cuteness is irresistible, and once a little one starts purring in your hands, you may fall in love. Let’s make sure your decision is not impulsive. In this blog post we will go over some basics about adopting kittens, so that you are well prepared to welcome a new family member or two.
Dusty is ready for adoption!
Here are some points to consider:
Does the place where you live have restrictions regarding pets?
Landlords and homeowners associations often limit the number of pets allowed so be sure to check beforehand.
Is someone who lives with you allergic to cats?
Even a minor allergy can progress over time and become a heartbreaking issue.
Do you move often?
Are you still in school and not sure where you will find yourself next summer? Is there any other reason you are not ready to make a long-term commitment? Fostering may be a better option for you at the moment. We always need foster homes, and you can learn more in our blog post Searching for meaning in a Difficult Time.
How busy is your lifestyle?
Cats are not “low maintenance” animals. Like other family members, they need our love and undivided attention. Kitties need to be active, but sometimes they just want to chat with us or curl up in our laps. They need to see a vet at least once a year, and sometimes you might have to rush with them to emergency. If your life is too busy right now, maybe it’s better to wait to adopt when your schedule is more relaxed. Fostering is a wonderful, short-term commitment, and it allows you to "test the waters."
Can you afford a cat right now?
Budgeting for cat food and litter is fairly easy, but unexpected veterinary costs can cause sticker shock. Annual wellness visits are generally under $400 with labs. Emergency and specialty care can easily run into the thousands, and much higher if surgery is necessary. Spend some time researching pet health insurance as plans vary; one that covers dental care and doesn't cease when a cat reached a certain age is a wise choice. If you travel, you may also need to budget in a pet sitter. Hiring a professional sitter with years of feline expertise is worth paying for. (Boarding is never optimal for kitties unless it's unsafe due to remodeling or the like, as they much prefer to stay in their own environment.)
Do you have small kids?
In many cases it depends on kids’ and cats’ personalities, and also on the parents' approach to introducing cats to kids, but small children and cats are not always the best match. A child can accidentally hurt a tiny kitten and a kitten can accidentally hurt a kid, and then trust will be an issue on both sides. On the other hand, older kids might become best friends with a kitty and develop a very special bond that will last through the cat’s entire life.
Do you like to live in a super clean home?
Will a scratch on your leather sofa or a stain on your rug upset you? Will you be annoyed with kitty toys under your feet? Do you think your bed is not a place for your cat?
No matter how well trained your cat is and how much she loves her scratching post, cats will still run, jump, and scratch. Hopefully everyone knows by now that declawing a cat is essentially amputation of her toes and is most definitely animal cruelty. So if you are concerned about expensive furnishings, maybe a cat isn't appropriate for your household.
Adonis is ready for adoption too!
Kittens Need Friends of The Same Age
Kittens have a well earned reputation as little mischief makers. Even though it might sound counterintuitive, two kittens will actually create less havoc in the home. Two kittens will provide stimulation and entertainment for each other, so instead of biting your feet or climbing the curtains in a desperate grab for your attention, they will play together. You can learn more why Two Kittens Are Better Than One from the incredible Kitten Lady. If you already have a young cat, consider adopting a friend for her. Otherwise, you should adopt two kittens. It will make everyone much happier.
Prepare a Base Camp
So if you've weighed all of the above and made the decision to adopt, now it's time to prepare your home before bringing home your little babies!
While it might sound cramped to you, it’s always best to initially secure new kittens in a separate small room, ideally a bathroom, especially if you have other animals. Kittens need to get used to new smells, sounds and to their new human family members. If you don’t restrict them at first, you might find that you don’t know where your kittens are hiding, and some places in a house can be potentially dangerous. Your kittens will tell you when they are ready to go and explore the rest of the house, and they will do it on their own pace.
Secondly, it’s a good idea to ask foster parents or an adoption counselor about the kittens’ diet and habits. They will likely be more than happy to share this info with you. Indeed, many of the cats and kittens fostered with Flower Feline Sanctuary require a mainly canned, freeze dried and/or raw diet. We advise against feeding kibble as regular diet. Before you bring your babies home, stock up on the food, treats, litter and toys they have been enjoying.
Finally, please remember the proper litter box equation: number of litter boxes equals number of cats plus one. This means even if you already have cats, you will need to add litter boxes. Traditional, open litter boxes are the best for several reasons; resident cats can "trap" the new kitty in a closed litter box, plus many cats prefer to balance on the edge of the litter pan and covered boxes do not allow this, and finally, you need to see your cats' daily output. Loose stool, diarrhea, constipation, blood in the urine - these are all indicators that your cat is having some health issues and needs attention. Place litter boxes in multiple locations and never put their food and/or water near a litter box. If you have a multi-level home, there should be litter boxes on every floor. Never use scented or clay litters, as these are toxic for kitties. Natural litters such as corn or nut shell based products are what we recommend. Any plug-in type air freshener is also highly toxic for everyone in your home. If the litter box stinks, it needs to scooped or changed out completely. Regularly dumping and washing the boxes out with a biodegradable soap can help prevent the plastic from holding odors. It's much better to have plenty of boxes and keep up on their hygiene than deal with a kitty who stops using the box because of issues that could have been prevented in the first place.
Aconite will be ready for adoption soon!
Outdoors can be dangerous for cats
Pictures of kittens playing on a lawn are super cute, but unless your cat is wearing a harness, this could be dangerous. Cities are full of cars, cat haters, and toxic pollution. In the suburbs and countryside, the dangers are coyotes, raptors, dogs, poisonous plants, pesticides and even other cats. Catios are a safe way for your cat to enjoy fresh air, and all the stimulating sights and smells of the outdoors. Secured cat strollers or backpacks are also options and like harnesses, it's best to get kitty used to them gradually. Not all cats however enjoy the outdoors, especially at first, so don’t force them if they don’t want to.
A Lifelong Commitment
Finally, and most importantly, when you adopt kittens, you take responsibility for these tiny little lives for next 15-20 years, or maybe even more! No matter you age or health, it’s smart to make arrangements for the ongoing care of your cats should something happen to you. Please remember that whatever circumstances arise, Flower Feline Sanctuary will do our best to help you, so please don’t hesitate to call on us.
Belladonna is also polishing her social skills, and will be ready for adoption very soon.