May 03, 2023 4 min read

After scrolling through cute animal videos for hours, looking at adorable cat after adorable cat, you decide it’s time for you to make that leap: you’re going to adopt a cat! Cats are awesome little guys who are sure to bring some extra joy into your life. As you begin your journey to adopt your new feline friend, you may find yourself wondering what it takes to care for a cat. What toys should you buy? How often do cats need checkups? Do you have to train a cat to use a litter box? Does it matter if you get a cat or a kitten? All these questions and more are bound to be running around your head. Luckily, we’ve got a few tips to help get you started on your new cat adventure!

1. Consider the Commitment and Responsibility

Adopting a cat should not be an impulse decision. Healthy indoor cats can live between 12 and 18 years. Meaning you will need to commit to taking care of them for a long time. While cats may be more independent creatures than dogs, they still need plenty of attention, love, and care. Cats will need food, toys, litter, and veterinary visits. You will need to clean up after them. While cats do a good job of keeping themselves clean, you will need to clean them if they get excessively dirty. You need to feed them and provide fresh water. Not to mention cats will shed their fur, meaning you will probably be vacuuming a lot more.

Before adopting a cat you need to be aware of the financial responsibility as well. Cats cost money. You will have to buy them food, toys, litter, and other cat essentials for them. You also need to be prepared for regular and emergency veterinary visits.

2. Consider Your Living Situation

When getting a new cat, you need to think about who will be affected by the adoption. If you live with other people, they will be directly impacted by the newest addition to the household. Make sure everyone is okay with the idea and be mindful of any allergies. If you live with other pets, you need to think about how to slowly and safely introduce your new cat to the other pets in the house. Be considerate of the cat you want to adopt as well. Cats can become stressed when changing locations, the shelter to your home will already be a big change. Think about your immediate future plans when considering when to adopt a cat. If you are planning on moving soon, traveling more, or even going back to school, it might not be the right time to adopt a cat. If you are renting from someone, be sure you are allowed to have cats in the building.

3. Consider Meeting with a Veterinarian

Your cat will need to have regular checkups to make sure they stay healthy. Establishing a relationship with a veterinarian before you get your cat is a good idea. The veterinarian can help answer questions about taking care of your future cat, what appointments will be needed first, what medicines and vaccines you should get, and they can set up a spay/neutering appointment if your cat needs one.

4. Consider the Type of Cat to Bring Home

Finding the perfect cat to bring home may be a lengthy process. Whether it’s trying to find the best one with the right personality for you, or just convincing yourself you can’t adopt every cat in the shelter even if they are all super cute. There are lots of different types of cats out there and in your search, it will help to narrow down your options by deciding what you want in a furry friend. Determining the age you want in a cat is a good first place to start. Older cats are perfect for someone who wants a calmer pet, or if you want to know their personality. If you’re looking for a more energetic furball, a kitten may be a better choice for you. The breed of the cat is another important aspect to consider. Cat breeds can determine the size and personality of a cat. Knowing what you want and looking for a breed that fits will help you make a better decision. Be sure to visit the cat in person before adopting it, you may be surprised with who you connect with at the shelter.

5. Consider What To Buy

Before you go to pick up your cat, it’s a good idea to get a shopping list together of everything you will need. You don’t want to stress your cat out by taking them to the store and you don’t want to realize you don’t have something you need once the cat is home. Getting everything set up beforehand will make the entire process less stressful for everyone. Here are some essential items you might want to buy:

  • Food and water bowls

  • Age-appropriate food (kittens eat kitten food until they are 10-12 months old)

  • Treats

  • Litter box, litter, and scoop

  • Cat carrier

  • Nail clippers

  • Bed

  • Toys (all cats need enrichment)

  • Scratching Post (cats will naturally have a desire to scratch, save your furniture by getting them a designated scratching place)

  • Climbing Tower (gives them places to jump and hide)

  • Brush or comb (to help with grooming and keeping your cat’s fur silky smooth)

You might not need everything immediately, but it will be less stressful to know you already have the essentials ready to go when you need them.

Once you’ve considered all these tips, you’ll be ready to begin your journey to adopting your new cat! Be sure to talk to the adoption specialist and a veterinarian about any questions or concerns you may have about your cat. Talking to friends with cats will be a big help in figuring out how day to day life will be once you have a feline friend running around your home. Once you feel ready, go out and find your purrfect pet!

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