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Cat Rescue - You Can Be a Hero

Updated on September 25, 2013

Support Your Local Cat Rescue

If you're thinking about getting a new cat or kitten, first, visit a local cat rescue or animal shelter. Choosing the right cat or kitten to become part of your family is a big decision that can last for years and affect your life in many ways. At the shelter, you can observe various types of cats of different ages and pick out a cat with a personality that is compatible to yours as well as other family members and pets. You may also want to visit a cat show to learn all about cats. A cat show can give you an opportunity to learn about the characteristics of various breeds and you will have a chance to discuss cat behavior with breeders too. You should consider whether your cat will be an indoor or outdoor cat, as well as the cost and time commitment of kitten care. If you are unable to adopt from a cat rescue, you can still contribute by donating products or services that are always needed.

Your special kitten is waiting for you at your local cat rescue
Your special kitten is waiting for you at your local cat rescue

When you visit your local cat rescue, you'll find cats and kittens awaiting adoption are there for a variety of reasons. Many of the cats are strays and were unwanted, neglected and/or have wandered far from home. Some kittens are dropped at animal shelters because owners neglected to have the parent cat spayed or neutered and consequently were unprepared to raise all the kittens. A litter of kittens can be 5 to 6 kittens on average and sometimes it's difficult or impossible to arrange private placement adoptions for all the kittens. Sometimes, a cat cannot be relocated or the owner cannot place the cat in a different home and drops it at the shelter. For all these reasons and more, animal shelters are overrun with more animals than they can place. By visiting your local animal shelter, not only will you get a chance to make a real difference in the life of an abandoned cat or kitten, but you will gain a new commitment to the importance of spaying or neutering.

Observe Cat Behavior

Some of the cats at the local animal shelter may have health or behavioral issues. Usually, a veterinarian has examined the cats and notated any health issues on their paperwork, as well as providing basic treatment for some and initial vaccinations. A shelter will generally have cats of all ages enabling you to observe the characteristics of cats at all life stages. For example, you may enjoy the playful energy of a young kitten, but question the time and commitment to training. An older kitten or cat, already trained and in much greater need of placement could actually be a better fit in some situations. An active family with young children might prefer a resilient cat breed such as an American short hair cat; a more mature owner may prefer a docile breed such as a Burmese or Tonkinese. Some breeds like Persians require lots of grooming and suit owners prepared to devote much time and attention. Busy executives with little spare time may prefer low-maintenance short hair breeds like a Russian Blue or Abyssinian.

Families with small children should visit the local cat rescue, where the importance of spaying and neutering is evidenced by crowded facilities and cages full of unwanted cats and kittens. The crisis of pet population control should be discussed with children who are old enough to understand basic biological reproduction. Kids should also be reminded that although kittens are cute and appealing, the kitten stage only lasts for a few months and more importantly, the average lifespan of an indoor cat is 13 to 17 years. The family should also discuss the pros and cons of adopting a special needs cat or kitten. Although cats and kittens with health or behavioral problems are usually those in greatest need, the added responsibility, expense and time commitment should be considered. Parents should talk with their kids about the cat's special issues, expectations and potential outcomes.

Kittens are adorable, and a lifetime commitment
Kittens are adorable, and a lifetime commitment

Cat Adoption Tips

Another useful strategy in shopping for a cat or kitten is to attend a local cat show. Check newspapers and online publications for cat show schedules near you. Cat shows are fascinating and if you have not attended one you should plan to attend these whenever possible to develop more knowledge and insights into the cat world. These shows offer you a great opportunity to learn about and observe different types of cat breeds, as well as a chance to talk to individual cat breeders and owners. There are many professional cat breeders at these shows who enter their cats in various competition categories. Cats are judged against standards for their particular breed or division in the 'show ring' by knowledgeable judges who will usually explain the cat standards to the audience as each cat is judged. Winning cats and kittens are awarded ribbons such as best in breed, best in show and other categories.

Be sure to take a cat carrier to bring home your new cat or kitten

After visiting a cat rescue and at least one cat show, you will have narrowed down your choices. Hopefully, you will be able to find the cat that is the perfect fit for your family at a local cat rescue. To locate an animal shelter near you, contact your local humane society chapter. If you decide to adopt a cat or kitten from another source, don't forget to donate to your local pet shelter. The resources of shelters are stretched to the hilt and need money, goods or services. Ask about what items are needed and even arrange a charity fund raiser drive or event of your own. By choosing a cat that fits with the personality and lifestyle of the owners and committing to long-term care, a lifetime of learning all about cats is a wondrous adventure waiting for you.

Have you ever adopted a shelter cat or cat rescue?

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