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What you need to know before adopting a rescue animal.

PURINA ONE
Thanks to our brand partner, PURINA ONE

It’s easy to get lost in the excitement of adopting a four-legged friend, with those big cat eyes and adorable kitty whiskers. And when you think about how many poor animals are desperate for a loving home it’s tempting to sign on the dotted line and figure the rest out later. But it’s really important to remember that adopting a rescue cat can be a challenge, a hugely rewarding one but a challenge all the same. Here are a few things you need to know before introducing a new, furry member to your family.

It’s a huge responsibility.

Your new family member is going to be entirely reliant on you for its survival. Are you ready to take on that 10-year commitment? For richer and for poorer? In sickness and in health? Do you have the time to devote to your new feline friend? No matter how many scratches your furniture might take, or how many pairs of shoes that may be destroyed along the way? These are all questions that you can only answer with a bit of research and a lot of soul searching.

It’s not only the time and devotion required that you’re going to need to consider, but it’s also important to think about the cost. Bottom line; it’s going to be expensive.

While the cost of adopting a rescue cat is far cheaper than other methods, the cost of its ongoing care won’t differ much. It’s important to consider the financial implications of pet ownership like food, grooming, training, equipment, registration, micro chipping, vaccinations, insurance and vet visits. Medical complications in particular can be extremely expensive.

They'll need lots of love and attention. Image: iStock.

Your home needs to be ready.

It’s important to pet-proof your home before the new arrival, ensuring household chemicals are locked up, toxic houseplants are removed and expensive shoes are very well hidden.

To make the environment comfortable and the transition as simple as possible for your new friend, buy toys, food and water bowls, collars, kitty litter and beds in advance and make sure you’re stocked up on high-quality, nutritional pet food.

If your cat is entering a home for the first time, allow your cat to get acquainted with the new surroundings on their terms. You can do this by gradually expanding the amount of ‘territory’ to explore. Start with one room.

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As the comfort level rises, let them move into additional spaces in your home. This makes it less overwhelming than exploring the whole space at once. Finally, try to give your cat as much attention as possible to ease the transition.

You need to wait for the right one.

While you imagine yourself dropping into a shelter and having a cosmic connection with a particular cat, it’s not always the case. Just like you might not mesh with some humans and their personality traits (like loud chewers and slow walkers) you might not gel with some animals (they’re all going to be loud chewers FYI). But don’t be discouraged, it’s super important to find a furry friend that will fit your personality and lifestyle, for the wellbeing of both of you.

"Find a furry friend that will fit your personality and lifestyle." Image: iStock

Rescue animals aren’t necessarily ‘troubled’.

Don’t be discouraged from adopting a rescue cat because you think it might be ‘troubled’, as this isn’t always the case. People don’t just give up their pets because they are badly behaved or aggressive, it’s often because their family’s circumstances changed unexpectedly or they discovered they weren’t ready for the commitment.

A little patience goes a long way.

Animals may act inappropriately in a new environment but with persistent training your new fur baby can unlearn unwanted behaviour. Start laying down the rules from the moment they step over the threshold and be consistent with training that enforces positive behaviour.

You’ll fall deeply, madly in love.

If you understand what to expect (and expect the unexpected too) the tribulations of a rescue cat will outweigh the trials one hundred fold. Your new cat will become unconditionally loved, nonnegotiable members of your family.

What was your experience with adopting a rescue animal?

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