Adopting a kitten from a shelter is by far one of the most loving ways you can find yourself a new best friend. Shelters provide a desperately needed service to the best of their ability. The hardest thing about shelter adoptions is the risk of not being able to find what you are looking for, and leaving with someone that you’re not sure about because you feel guilty leaving empty handed.
Many people have great difficulty walking into a shelter. Many people have the same difficulty walking into a shelter and walking out empty handed. Kittens can go through popular spurts, and sometimes a shelter may be able to find homes for all of their kittens in a relatively short amount of time. Those who come looking have serious trouble passing all the cats, dogs, and the occasional puppy without rescuing someone. The fact that the kittens may or may not be there is a great thing. It means the shelter idea is working, and these kittens went into a home. To spare yourself any torture, always ask before entering the shelter if there are kitten under the age of 12 or 16 weeks (whatever you desire) available for adoption.
It is noble to decide that you will take a cat or even a dog home unexpectedly, just because they are in the shelter. However, if you are taking an animal home from the shelter that just doesn’t suit your personality, chances are high that you are only going to end up bringing that animal back. In fact, people who are not completely happy with their choice from the shelter return their animals more than 60%of the time. This is heart wrenching. Many people prefer kittens, and many people aren’t prepared for the emotional turmoil a rescued cat may experience. Kittens are more likely to use the litter box faithfully. An older, traumatized cat may very well use your bed sheets. Nobody is asking you to be super human cat rescuer.
There are people who are equipped and ready to handle the trials and tribulations that can come with adopting an older cat from the shelter. If you feel that you might be one of these people, read, get your information, talk to people who can help you make this decision, and if you are feeling confident in your feelings that this may be appropriate for you, by all means.
Most people gravitate toward kittens for two reasons.
Kittens are more adaptable and are much more ready to bond with a new human than an older cat. Kittens have also generally not been through the hardships and can be just as easy to raise as the kitten you buy from a breeder or accept from the friend with a new litter. Very few cite their reasons for the cute appeal that kittens present.
Take your time when choosing any animal from the shelter. Spend as long as you would like getting to know them, even if you are being hurried by the animal shelter staff. You are making a life time commitment and there is no need to hurry that up. Leave plenty of time in your day to make sure you do not have to rush yourself. Heading over to the shelter an hour before work is generally not the way to go about it. Shelters will not “hold” or “reserve” an animal for you. God forbid you change your mind 24 hours later and someone who wanted the same animal settled on someone else or went to a different shelter, the animal’s chances are now dramatically decreased.
There is a chronic debate ensuing about the wisdom of taking children to the animal shelter. Some children find it traumatic while others find it inspiring and even value their new little friend more because they were “rescued” by them. There is no right answer. After all, the child is going to have contact with the animal on a regular basis, yet some children can’t comprehend why all those animals are in the cages. This is really only a judgment that can be made by each individual parent.
Shelter fees often shock people who have never experienced adopting a kitten from a shelter before. The fees are slowly increasing and many of them now charge over $100 for a kitten. The fees are of two fold design. The money that the shelter receives from adoption fees goes directly toward keeping the shelter running and the rising costs of caring for the rising demand from the homeless animals out there. The shelter is also looking for a commitment from you. A small financial commitment does show the shelter that you are serious about wanting to be a pet owner, and that you can afford it. This is not a bad thing. They are simply trying to prevent the return of animals to the shelter.
Always make sure that you go to the pet supply store and purchase everything you’ll need in advance. You’ll need at least one litter box, possibly two, litter, cat food, dishes, toys, and treats, a cat carrier, a scratching post, and if you’re feeling particularly adoring, one of those kitty hide away play chambers. You don’t have to purchase everything at once, but make sure you purchase enough to get you by for the first few weeks. If you know which shelter you’ll be going to, call ahead and ask them what food they feed the kittens. If you are planning on changing it, you should do so slowly, over the period of four days, mixing the foods together with larger amounts of the familiar food. As time goes by, you want to add less of the old food and more of the new. This will help offset any digestive disruptions.
Once you have determined which little kitten is right for you, make sure you place the little guy in the cat carrier for the trip home. Even though he may protest wildly, don’t allow anyone to hold the kitten. Things can get quite hairy should he become fearful and leap about the car. People are always a bit emotional, considering that shelters are difficult places to be, and when you get home from adopting a kitten from a shelter your level of emotions may surprise you. Just know that it’s normal, relax, and start bonding with your new family addition.