The one and only Jackson Galaxy shares his tips on Cat adoption exclusively to the Cat Lovers Festival blog.
Covering the financial, psychological and physical factors to consider, this blog is a fantastic read for any family looking to make the leap and adopt a Cat!
If you are looking for a reason to adopt a cat, there are countless. In addition to the unconditional love, companionship, and overwhelming gratitude you will receive from your new family member, you are reducing the number of cats in shelters. Sadly, there are millions of animals going into shelters every year, many of whom, a lot of the time, don’t find a new home.
So, to make even the smallest difference in a cat’s life is a huge deal!
Before you bring your new family member home, there are some basics to consider and to prepare for. Here are a few:
One of the biggest considerations needs to be costs. You want to be in a place where affording the basics is easily within reach while still having something put aside for the inevitable rainy day. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the average cost of cat guardianship is $900 AUD per year. Of course, this is just a guideline, and I can tell you firsthand it can be significantly higher, but this is a good starting point. Speaking of that rainy day, vet bills can add up in a hurry. This is why I highly recommend cat insurance. There are many different companies out there, so the due diligence will have to be done, but again, from firsthand experience, insurance is both a financial and literal lifesaver. You won’t be sorry.
Next up, you will also want to prepare your home for your cat’s arrival, which means pet-proofing! The best thing to remember is that cats are like toddlers who can reach the ceiling – so think safety from all angles. For kittens, I recommend child locks for any cabinets you do not want them to explore. You will want to cover any loose cords as those could be a very enticing chew toy (flexible PVC cord protectors, I’ve found, are the most effective). Check your windows and screens to make sure they are secure. Many window screens are just not made with a cat’s claws in mind, so make the leap and invest in higher-strength pet screening.
CATIFYING YOUR HOME
Territorial confidence is one of the most central keys to a cat’s lifelong happiness. “Catifying” your home means investing in beds, cat trees, shelving, anything that your cats can ‘own’, both from vertical perspectives and scent. How do you begin catification for your new arrival? Make sure they have a basecamp. Bring him or her straight into a room of your choosing complete with everything from the aforementioned furniture to bowls and a litter box. Allow them to explore this new world one space at a time, allowing them to identify through scent and to claim the belongings in the room. He or she will let you know when the time is right to explore, and by then, these scent-marked belongings become the root of them having their mojo in your home.
To that end, remember that every rescued cat is an individual, with a unique story that leads to your home. With that in mind, knowing every little thing that the shelter or rescue knows about them is important. Are they OK around other cats? Dogs? Kids? The last thing you want is to set this match up for more work than they might be ready for.
Once again, whatever has led you to this article, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for becoming a rescuer. Thank you for being part of the solution to the overpopulation crisis we have been facing for so many years. With this guide, you can spend less time worrying and a lot more time on giving a lot more love to your cat.
P.S. These are just a few of the lowest-hanging ideas when it comes to adopting a new feline family member. For a deeper dive, check out the chapter on bringing home a new cat in my book, “Total Cat Mojo”, or check out some of my videos on YouTube channel www.youtube.com/jacksongalaxy