Cats gestation period is 64-67 days, thus cats that mated in March (which is a mating month for cats) are giving birth in May. Older cats who are available for adoption are now competing with new born kittens.
June is adopt a cat month. That means the shelters and rescues are working hard this month to find homes for the many cats in their care. They were already overflowing before kitten season hit and opened the floodgates for mini-kitties needing homes. So, before you add a kitten to your life…I’d like you to do the following:
Think about your time commitment – Kittens need a lot of time for socialization and to learn the ropes in their new home. They also are party animals when you most want to sleep. If you work a lot or travel frequently, an adult cat (or pair of adult cats) may be a better fit than a kitten.
Consider your expectations – It sounds silly, but what are you expecting from your cat? Every cat has a distinct personality and putting thought into what you expect will go a long way into helping you connect with the right cat. There are shy cats, outgoing cats, aloof cats, lap cats, party cats and some that will play fetch like a dog. Again, if you want a cat because they are calm and low maintenance, skip the kittens.
List your non-negotiable issues – Don't want a pet that treats your house like a jungle gym and gets the zoomies at all hours...skip kittens. If you’re a neat freak and a little fur may drive you batty, be aware that cats shed a lot but if you're diligent with brushing, it's not as bad. Cats can be trained to not jump on tables and counters. Figure out at first what you will and won’t accept and be clear with adoption counselors
How are you on long-term commitments – The kitty pictured at the top of this blog lived to almost 20 and her brother to 15. If you can’t or don’t want to make a 15 to 20 year commitment, a kitten is a bad idea. Also, think about what happens if you date someone who dislikes cats or you have a baby or move…these are all reasons why people dump cats in shelters.
Do the math – Cats and kittens require food, bowls, toys, litter box, cat litter, a bed and treats. When you adopt a cat or kitten, they should be spayed and neutered and up to date on shots, but will need to see the vet at least once a year for a preventative check up. Is that in your budget?
Do a test run – No, I don’t mean adopt a kitten and return it. If you’ve not been around cats full time, volunteer to cat sit at a friend's home. You can also volunteer to foster kittens or a cat for a rescue. It will give you a chance to see what age and type of cat is a good fit for you and you may fall in love with one of your fosters.
Where should I find a cat?
Halifax Humane Society is the best place to start your search. Adopting a cat saves two lives, that cat and the cat that takes their place in the shelter. Check them out at www.halifaxhumanesociety.org, Petfinder, Adopt-A-Pet or Petango and then talk to the people at HHS.
Being responsible with your choice can give a cat a furever home. The last thing needed is for the kitten to be returned to the shelter in hopes of another adoption.