Questions About Adopting a Cat

Scott_01

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I am not sure if this is the right section for this post but I couldn't find one that seemed more appropriate. I am a long time cat parent who is currently without a cat (lost my last little one to illness recently). I am starting to consider adopting another and have been looking at a variety of sources (county shelter, Animal Welfare League, etc).

Since it's been such a very long time since I adopted a cat, I have developed a few questions and observations regarding the process. The first is that the overwhelming number of cats available for adoption (at least in my area) are males, by over two to one I would say. Any ideas why this would be?

Also, in a very high number of cases, the agencies involved require the cats to be adopted in groups of two or three or at least be placed in a home with other existing cats. Part of this seems to be that there are a lot of bonded pairs or threesomes right now. Again, this situation may be unique to my area but any ideas on why this requirement would be so prevalent right now?

I have a question about one particular cat who is 9 months old and seems very nice. She had birthed and raised a litter of 4 kittens by the time she was 8 months old. I am wondering if the fact that she had 4 kittens at such a young age could have long term implications for her health as she gets older.

Finally, I am wondering if I should be considering adopting a cat at all given my age and the fact that I live alone (I am 77 and in excellent health). On the one hand, if I adopt a young cat (for example 1-4 years), it may have to be found another home before the end of its life. On the other hand, an older cat (for example 9-10 or more years) will be at the point where pet insurance will cost more (if available at all) and vet bills will be higher because of the higher likelihood of serious illnesses starting to develop.

I spoke to my vet (who has treated my cats for many years and knows me fairly well) about this and he says I should go ahead and adopt a cat of any age if I want to and feel ready. He pointed out that any cat who remained un-adopted would just be put down eventually and that a "forever" home would be better for it even if the cat had to be found another home somewhere down the line.

I would appreciate any thoughts on these questions and observations. Thanks.
 

fionasmom

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Some of your questions could be relevant to your area and some could have underlying answers. One very prominent shelter in my general area will not adopt a single puppy or kitten to anyone who works, for example. In some cases, they will not even adopt the animal to a family where everyone works, but on different shifts. Their reasoning is that they don't want a young animal to be alone. Years ago, they turned me down for a GSD puppy but tried to get me to take a very untrained adult male GSD instead. I did get a GSD puppy from another source....in fact, from a high kill out of state shelter that was only too happy to find a place for their animals (which, of course, can be the good news and the bad news.) That may elucidate the "adopt in pairs" mandate a little bit. It could also be that they are loaded up with cats and trying to get them homes as much as they can.

Some people do not want male animals. They expect spraying, mounting, harder to control behavior etc. Of course those are misconceptions in many cases or can be solved with decent training or management.

As for age, one member of TCS was refused a cat from a local shelter because of age, but was able to get one from a rescue. Many rescues will adopt out with the stipulation that the animal come back to them in the event that it loses its home, so that solves that problem. The question of "what will happen to my cat if I die or become ill" comes up fairly regularly here. Do you have friends or family who could take the cat if necessary? I think that the important thing is that some arrangements are in place, and I don't mean just for people in their 70s. Everyone should think about the welfare of their animals at any age. Would your vet take the cat if necessary?

Pet insurance will be more expensive for an older animal. With all preexisting conditions excluded, I was quoted $100 per month for my GSD when he was about 10. I do have three younger cats who are insured, but I insured them the minute I got them, Jamie at about 4 months old. It is not a bad idea to have insurance for that matter. No guarantees that you could not get a sickly younger animal and a healthy older one, but it is really the roll of the dice in many cases.

In almost any shelter, an unadopted animal will eventually be put to sleep; your vet is right. You would be giving an animal a home even if it changed homes at some point.

Fostering may or may not appeal to you. It would let you get to know a cat first and if you wanted that one you could probably adopt it.

There can be complications when a young cat becomes pregnant, but if the cat you have in mind safely delivered her kittens and has been spayed, I don't now that there are any ongoing issues to be concerned about. I have adopted a few ex ferals over the years who were known to have given birth, sometimes more than once, but had no consequences from it.

Please let us know what you do!
 
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Scott_01

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Well, I took the plunge and adopted this little beauty. Her age is estimated by a vet to be about 3 yrs old and has only a 2 inch stub for a tail (apparently born that way). She was found roaming the streets with a group of stray kittens by a rescue group and since she had such a great temperament they decided to put her up for adoption. They think she might have been a household pet at one time who had been dumped. She was very well taken care of in a great foster home for about 2 months then I got her.

Adoption has certainly changed a lot since I last adopted a cat. Today there are adoption fees as much as $200, personal references required, interviews of your vet and landlord, a myriad of questions about how you will take care of the animal, complete details of every animal you have ever owned in your life and details of their deaths, details on financial security to be able to take care of the animal, home visits both before and after in some cases and finally, a contract to take care of the animal properly as well has not holding the rescue agency liable for any damages the cat may cause later on.

I guess this is all great for the animals and I passed all the hoops but man, I remember getting our first cat many decades ago. All we did was go out to a farm where the lady's cat just had kittens and picked one out. In spite of all the detail required to adopt a cat here though, cats seemed to be adopted fast. I probably went though at least 20 or more cats that had already been adopted by the time i could get information on them. Kittens went fast of course and I tried to find cats that were less likely to be adopted, such as older cats or ones with physical problems (such as Kola's missing tail or 2 which I found with just one eye but had already been adopted).

Much of this is apparently because so many people than usual have been adopting pets because of the pandemic. Since they are working from home now, they want a work from home "buddy". Vets all over are feeling the strain and limits and my own vet said it has gotten so bad that they have had to temporarily stop accepting new clients because of the increased workload. He said the demand for his hospital has been unprecedented.

It's been such a long time since I brought a new cat into the house I've almost forgotten how to do it. I've had her a week and a half now and I am starting to get concerned since she still spends most of her time under the bed. The first few days I had her, she would spend a few hours on her cat condo getting to know it and watching the activity in the woods outside. The rest of the time, she would hide under the bed. Now she's going in the wrong direction however, spending more of her time under the bed and coming out only to eat and use the litter box.

She seems to be scared of just about anything but she does come out most of the time if I call her. She also enjoys having me pet her and turns around in circles while I pet her, not wanting me to stop. I had been told that she is a shy cat but I am hoping that being scared of everything is just part of her adjusting to her new surroundings.


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fionasmom

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10 Must-know Tips For Happy Living With A Shy Cat – TheCatSite Articles
14 Cat Experts Reveal: How To Get A Cat To Like Me – TheCatSite Articles
How To Get A Cat To Come Out Of Hiding? – TheCatSite Articles

Congratulations on your new baby! She is just beautiful and from the pic certainly is engaged with you and is showing very comfortable body language. What you went through is pretty standard for adoptions by any reputable shelter or rescue. It probably means that Kola had good care once they had her too.

She comes to you, wants to be petted, and does not want you to stop. So, definitely, she is very happy to have a home with you and is not exhibiting any shyness or fear of you personally. The articles above may help. Disregard the title of the second one, as Kola definitely likes you, but it does have opinions from cat experts.

My avatar is a former feral who has transitioned to inside only life very well. She is affectionate, wants to be patted and acknowledged, but also spends a certain amount of time under the bed, usually midday. Cats, especially once they are no longer kittens, are much calmer and do tend to sleep more, so that could be part of it as well.

You must have adopted Kola within the last 20 days, assuming that you did not run right out after you made your first post on July 31, so she has not been with you that long. Under the circumstances, she is probably settling in, getting used to her new home, and appraising how things are at your house. Please keep us posted about her progress.
 
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Scott_01

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10 Must-know Tips For Happy Living With A Shy Cat – TheCatSite Articles
14 Cat Experts Reveal: How To Get A Cat To Like Me – TheCatSite Articles
How To Get A Cat To Come Out Of Hiding? – TheCatSite Articles

Congratulations on your new baby! She is just beautiful and from the pic certainly is engaged with you and is showing very comfortable body language. What you went through is pretty standard for adoptions by any reputable shelter or rescue. It probably means that Kola had good care once they had her too.

She comes to you, wants to be petted, and does not want you to stop. So, definitely, she is very happy to have a home with you and is not exhibiting any shyness or fear of you personally. The articles above may help. Disregard the title of the second one, as Kola definitely likes you, but it does have opinions from cat experts.

My avatar is a former feral who has transitioned to inside only life very well. She is affectionate, wants to be patted and acknowledged, but also spends a certain amount of time under the bed, usually midday. Cats, especially once they are no longer kittens, are much calmer and do tend to sleep more, so that could be part of it as well.

You must have adopted Kola within the last 20 days, assuming that you did not run right out after you made your first post on July 31, so she has not been with you that long. Under the circumstances, she is probably settling in, getting used to her new home, and appraising how things are at your house. Please keep us posted about her progress.
Thanks for the response and the article links. The picture of her in that previous post was actually taken at her foster's but I have attached two pics below of her at the end of her first day with me. She was quite calmly enjoying her cat condo so she was at least comfortable enough with that. She seemed to adjust to me quite quickly but not to her surroundings here. Things are going quite slowly in that regard.

I have had her about 3 weeks now and she still spends most of her days under the bed, coming out to eat and use her litter box then returns to her hideout under the bed. Sometimes she will stay on top of the bed or else sit and look out the bedroom window. She does usually come out at night for a short time, sometimes as much as a few hours. When she does come out of the bedroom, she is starting to venture out a little more and explore a little more each time so I guess that's a good sign.

She *is* exhibiting a strange mix of behaviors which are starting to concern me however. After 3 weeks here, she is still afraid of just about everything, including her own shadow. If I call her, she will usually come to me from wherever she is and head butt me to start petting her. She LOVES to be petted. Sometimes she will just come up to me on her own and head butt me to start petting her. On the other hand, if I start making the slightest move towards her, she turns and runs. If i start walking towards her she will run away, sometimes running all the way to the bedroom and crawling back under the bed.

I tried to engage her today to start playing with some toys since she also has seemed to have very low energy and I wanted to try to encourage her to become more active and get some exercise (she has a weight problem and I don't want her to get too heavy). She is about 10 lbs right now which really isn't that bad. She looks big though and it's only been 4 months since she was spayed so she may continue to put on weight.

She was even afraid of the toys however and ran from them. She is really afraid of just about anything coming in her direction even in the slightest. She had been living on the street for who knows how long until March or April of this year. I imagine that would be very scary for a cat to live that way and maybe it would account for her continuing fear level.

I am still trying to come up with the right permanent feeding plan for her and I guess I may go over and start a conversation in the nutrition thread about that. She loves to eat and gobbles up food. When she came to me, she was eating Blue Buffalo Weight Control kibble and I have been continuing to feed her that. She has been having a little constipation however (even though she has been drinking water) so I have been mixing some Friskies Canned Pate wet food into her diet as well. I just need to figure out what is the right feeding solution for her. Despite her shyness, she is not at all shy about letting me know if she is hungry.

Kola_01_cr.jpg


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Scott_01

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Thanks for the response and the article links. The picture of her in that previous post was actually taken at her foster's but I have attached two pics below of her at the end of her first day with me. She was quite calmly enjoying her cat condo so she was at least comfortable enough with that. She seemed to adjust to me quite quickly but not to her surroundings here. Things are going quite slowly in that regard.

I have had her about 3 weeks now and she still spends most of her days under the bed, coming out to eat and use her litter box then returns to her hideout under the bed. Sometimes she will stay on top of the bed or else sit and look out the bedroom window. She does usually come out at night for a short time, sometimes as much as a few hours. When she does come out of the bedroom, she is starting to venture out a little more and explore a little more each time so I guess that's a good sign.

She *is* exhibiting a strange mix of behaviors which are starting to concern me however. After 3 weeks here, she is still afraid of just about everything, including her own shadow. If I call her, she will usually come to me from wherever she is and head butt me to start petting her. She LOVES to be petted. Sometimes she will just come up to me on her own and head butt me to start petting her. On the other hand, if I start making the slightest move towards her, she turns and runs. If i start walking towards her she will run away, sometimes running all the way to the bedroom and crawling back under the bed.

I tried to engage her today to start playing with some toys since she also has seemed to have very low energy and I wanted to try to encourage her to become more active and get some exercise (she has a weight problem and I don't want her to get too heavy). She is about 10 lbs right now which really isn't that bad. She looks big though and it's only been 4 months since she was spayed so she may continue to put on weight.

She was even afraid of the toys however and ran from them. She is really afraid of just about anything coming in her direction even in the slightest. She had been living on the street for who knows how long until March or April of this year. I imagine that would be very scary for a cat to live that way and maybe it would account for her continuing fear level.

I am still trying to come up with the right permanent feeding plan for her and I guess I may go over and start a conversation in the nutrition thread about that. She loves to eat and gobbles up food. When she came to me, she was eating Blue Buffalo Weight Control kibble and I have been continuing to feed her that. She has been having a little constipation however (even though she has been drinking water) so I have been mixing some Friskies Canned Pate wet food into her diet as well. I just need to figure out what is the right feeding solution for her. Despite her shyness, she is not at all shy about letting me know if she is hungry.

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View attachment 393502
I know we're not supposed to reply to our own posts but I couldn't find an edit function for my previous one. Not 5 minutes after I posted it, Kola came out of the bedroom and head butted me to start petting her again. This time, she started purring...the first time she's done that around me. She even let me pick her up and hold her this time, something I had been told previously she didn't usually do.
 

fionasmom

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See, she knew what you just wrote about her :p! Kola is really making great strides, and not just because of the last sentence you wrote about her finally letting you pick her up. There were a lot of good signs in your longer post such as the fact that she looks for you and that she loves to be petted and purrs. Those are all signs of affection, which means that she was trying very hard to be brave and be your friend, but it was still scary for her. She looks pretty happy with that big cat tree and her posture and expression in those pics are not fright, but more like just awareness or checking out her new home. As you say, for three years she lived by her wits on the streets and now that is completely over; imagine what is going through her mind as she starts to realize that she has a home, food that she does not have to fight for, and is safe.

Definitely create a thread in the Nutrition forum about her diet. It might be a good idea to transition to some wet food for her overall health, including constipation.
 
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Scott_01

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Kola has *really* come out of her shell in the past few days. It has been really remarkable to watch her. She frequently comes up to me for attention and has found a warm, cozy little spot on my desk behind the computer monitor that she likes to curl up in and sleep in when I am on the computer. She plays with her toys now, runs around the house and keeps exploring new areas of the premises. She also spends much less time in the bedroom.

She keeps hopping up and down on things now and has discovered that the sofa is another pretty nice place to be. Her constipation has cleared up and it may have just been a result of stress from her re-homing. In any case, we have an appointment with my regular vet in two weeks for her first regular checkup with him.
 

fionasmom

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Thank you for posting your good news! She is comfortable now and realizes that she has a great home.
 
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