Sharing life with an animal companion can be extremely rewarding, but it’s also a huge responsibility and a major commitment. Before you fall head over heels in kitty love, make sure you’re prepared to care for and love an animal, for better or for worse, for his or her lifetime – which could be 15 years or more.
There are many questions to consider before adopting. Will you have the time and patience to exercise and give attention to the animal daily? Are you prepared to pay for food, accessories (such as toys, bedding, etc) and veterinary care (including spaying or neutering, vaccinations, flea treatment, deworming, annual examinations and emergency care)? Will you keep your animal indoors and treat him or her as a family member?
If you have the time, money, ability and commitment to give an animal a lifelong home, there’s no better place to find your new best friend than at your local animal shelter. Shelters everywhere are overflowing with loving, friendly animals of all shapes, sizes, personalities and ages who desperately need homes. Shelter workers or volunteers will likely be able to help match you with an animal who is a good fit for your activity level, experience, personality and lifestyle. For a nominal adoption fee, your new friend will likely go home spayed or neutered, de-wormed and vaccinated.
With so many wonderful animals waiting for homes in shelters, there is no reason to buy a cat from a breeder or a pet store. Every new kitten who is bred and sold by a pet shop or breeder takes a home away from an animal waiting in a shelter. So always adopt, and be sure to have your new companion spayed or neutered to avoid contributing to the animal-overpopulation crisis.