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The local shelter keeps showing photos of the multitude of kittens they have available and you keep asking yourself, “Should I get a kitten?” Because we are proponents of adopting from shelters we say, “yes!” with a few caveats.
As a cat lover or cat parent you know cats and kittens are wonderful, loving companions. You also know cats and kittens require veterinarian visits, food, litter, toys and attention. Caring for a cat or kitten is a decades-long commitment you must be willing to be responsible for.
Also, depending on your age or health, and the age of your cats you will want to make arrangements for the care of your cats should you no longer be able to care for them; many much-loved senior cats find themselves in the frightening situation of being surrendered when something happens to their owner, simply because arrangements weren’t put in place for their care; please take care of that right now – regardless of your age or health.
Here are five tips to consider if you’re thinking about getting a kitten.
How old and how bonded are your current cat family? If you have a group of cats (called a clowder, in case you’re curious!) are they bonded? Do you think they would welcome a new cat to the family or would the new kitten be an outsider? What happened the last time you introduced a new cat or kitten to the gang? Did it work out well?
What are your cats’ personalities like? For example, I have a sixteen-year-old male cat who has always been welcoming to every kitten who’s ever come to our home. We call him the “kitty grandpa” because he cares for, cleans and cuddles every new addition to the cat family. We also had a senior female cat who would avoid the litter box for months every time a new kitten came to the house. She would also beat the kittens up and was always antisocial to them.
Knowing how your cats will react to a new addition is something to consider. You don’t want to upset a delicate family balance, but you can certainly expand your family by taking baby steps to introduce the new kitten to the cat family dynamics.
Can you afford the new kitten? If you have older cats, chances are you’re only visiting the veterinarian annually for their check-ups. With a new kitten you will need to get him or her spayed (if that wasn’t done before you adopted), take her in for vaccinations and boosters. There are usually multiple and many vet visits with kittens and you need to have the money and time to do that.
Additionally, the costs of veterinarian care for your new kitten or for your cats will multiply each time you welcome a new cat or kitten. A way to help alleviate some of the costs of cat veterinarian care is by investing in a cat insurance policy. These pet health insurance policies are a way to help you budget for cat vet visits and make owning a cat or kitten easier on the family budget. Did you know you can also buy a cat insurance policy for the cats you already live with? You can.
Do you have space for a kitten?
As you know, there is a cat/kitten ratio per litter box and you need to know whether you have enough room to accommodate another litter box. Do you have the space for that?
Do you have the space to put the new kitten in a separate room during the “getting to know you” and introduction to your current cat family phase? If you travel with your cats, do you have enough space in the car for another carrier to accommodate the new kitten? What about cat trees or other toys or structures you have in place – is there enough room for the new addition?
Where will the kitten come from?
Will you adopt your kitten from a local shelter or rescue group? Are you looking for a specific breed? Don’t forget to check breed rescues for the one you’re looking for. Do a Google search for “XYZ breed” and “Rescue for XYZ breed” to find a rescue group from whom you can adopt.
Are there kittens roaming your neighborhood that you want to bring in and care for? If that’s the case, we applaud you, BUT we caution you to take the kitten(s) to the vet first to assure they aren’t bringing any diseases or parasites into your cat family.
If you want to rescue a feline and give him a second chance at life, you may want to look into adopting a senior, or older kitty. You may find that a senior, or older kitty, may have a few more issues with integrating into your current clowder, but patience may make it all work out in time.
When you’re ready to bring home your new kitten, PetFirst is here to help make sure they are covered for the accidents and illnesses that might occur. Get a quote today.
Robbi Hess is a full-time pet blogger and multi-published author. She shares her life with a diva Poodle, a goofy Goldendoodle, two Devon Rex, a senior ginger kitty and three reptiles!