So you’ve decided you want to expand your family with the addition of a purr-fect pet. Congratulations – and you’re far from alone! Common house cats are the most popular pet in the United States. They don’t require as much direct care as dogs, but that doesn’t mean they are no-fuss pets. Here are some tips to help you find and prepare for your new friend.
- Kitten or cat? If your household is a busy one in which people work full time, consider bypassing a kitten or adolescent (less than 18 months old) in favor of a more low-key adult cat. Young children typically cannot handle kittens responsibly, so a cat that's at least four months old is a good choice.
- Short-haired or long? Which one you choose is a matter of your preference and whether you have time to do regular grooming. Short-haired cats are more common at Tri-County Humane Society. Long-haired cats require frequent grooming to be mat-free. Short-haired cats need to be brushed, too, though, and most cats enjoy a good brushing.
- Budget for your new pet. A vet examination can cost $25 or more. Food can cost up to $300 annually – and these are just estimates. Talk to staff members at Tri-County Humane Society about what you can expect to spend with your new pet. Keep in mind, a cat can live up to 15 to 20 years or so.
- Browse Tri-County Humane Society. You can do this both in person and virtually. There is an array of cats and kittens waiting to meet you. All of them will be spayed or neutered at TCHS before they can be adopted. They also will have received an external exam, dewormer and some shots. (Adopters receive a medical record.) The cats’ information will include descriptions about their personalities; this will help you determine who is the best match for your household. Call 320-252-0896 for details.
- Make an introduction. Ask a TCHS staff member or volunteer if you can bring a cat or kitten out of its cage so you can interact with it. Keep in mind that the shelter can be a stressful place for animals, so the way the animal reacts might not be indicative of what he or she is like in a home setting; often animals are calmer once they have more space in a quieter environment. If a particular cat needs more socialization, carefully consider whether your household can meet its needs.
- Get your home ready. You’ll need food, a litter box (basic rule of thumb is one per cat plus one), litter, a litter scoop, a food dish, a water dish, a scratching post, and toys, of course! It’s great to have a toy that your cat can play with on his/her own, plus a toy that you can use to play with him/her. Consider shopping at Tri-County Humane Society’s store, located in our front lobby! We have everything you need here to get you started with your new cat or kitten, and all the proceeds go back to our animals.
- Check out our tips on introducing a kitten/cat to its new home.
- Bring your kitten/cat to a veterinarian within seven days. It’s very important that you bring your new animal to a vet – it will need follow-up care and should be evaluated by a medical professional. While TCHS does not give recommendations for veterinarians, our adoption packets include information on the professionals in Central Minnesota. We cannot make guarantees on the health of your animal, and there is a seven-day return policy.
- Enjoy your new kitten or cat! This is the start of a special bond. Remember to play, take pictures, and most of all snuggle with them. And let TCHS know how well your new addition is doing!
Note: Some information adapted from Jacque Lynn Schultz, CPDT