8 Things to Consider Before Adopting a Cat

According to ASPCA estimates, approximately 860,000 cats are euthanized at†shelters†across the U.S. every year.††June is Adopt-a-Cat Month and a great time for people to open their hearts and homes to a shelter cat.

Things to Consider Before Adopting a Cat

Before you†bring that sweet fluffball home†from the shelter, make sure that you’re†really ready to add a cat (or another cat) to your life.

†1.†Choose carefully if you suffer from allergies.

Cat allergies are about twice as common as dog allergies, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Some adoption counselors suggest that first-time cat owners spend time with cats in the homes of a relative or friend to make sure they are not allergic.

Medical experts also suggest spending at least 30 minutes at the shelter petting the cat you are interested in adopting. That’s about how long it will take for an allergic reaction to occur.

Sometimes the type of cat you adopt can make a difference. According to an article on everydayhealth.com, it’s generally believed that:

  • Male cats produce more allergens than females
  • Unneutered males produce more allergens than those who are fixed
  • Light-colored cats produce fewer allergens
  • Long-haired cats generally give off fewer allergens into their environment than short-haired cats, because their fur does a better job of holding the protein allergen against the skin.

It hasnít been medically or scientifically proven, but there are cats that may be considered hypoallergenic, according to an article on cleartheshelters.com. This means they are less likely to cause an allergic reaction. These breeds include the Siberian, the Balinese, the Bengal and the Burmese.

There’s no need to visit a breeder, even if you’re looking for a hypoallergenic cat. Be sure to check for these breeds on Petfinder.com so you can provide a home to a cat in need.

2. Take the age of family members into account.

Kittens are adorable, curious, playful and full of energy. They can also be exasperating and demand lots of supervision. Adult cats are usually calmer, less bouncy and less mischievous.†With an adult cat, what you see is usually what you get.

Many parents like the idea of adopting a kitten for young children, so they can grow up together. While this sounds great, experts at the American Humane say that children under six and kittens are not a good match.

Young children tend to be active and may be too rough for fragile kittens, which can result in injuries to the kitten and/or a fearful, skittish adult cat. Also, kittens have sharp teeth and claws and can accidentally injure young children. Adoption counselors at shelters and rescues typically recommend a two to three-year-old cat for children under six.

Should you adopt a cat?

3. Does the temperament of the cat matter to you?

No two cats are exactly alike, and thatís true even when they are from the same litter.

Temperament can vary widely by breed, too. Persians, for example, are typically laid-back and sedentary, while Bengals and other exotic breeds tend to be extremely active.†Siamese cats have the reputation of being talkative.

4.†Do you want a purebred or mixed breed?

In general, mixed breed cats tend to be healthier, because their gene pools are much more diverse. There are hundreds of mixed breeds of all sizes and color combinations waiting for loving homes at shelters and rescues throughout the U.S.

If you do have your heart set on a specific breed, you can still adopt. There are rescues for almost every breed type. You can search for a cat breed and a rescue near you on Petfinder.com.

5.†Think about the length of the hair.

There is more work involved in the care of long-haired cats because of the extra grooming required to prevent matting and hairballs. While short-haired cats donít require as much brushing, grooming does help in removing loose fur, stimulating the skin and distributing oils through the coat.

6. Make sure you have the time.

Itís a myth that cats are self-sustaining, independent animals, say veterinary experts at Vetstreet Inc. Many household cats crave human attention, and behavior problems can occur if these needs are neglected.

Veterinary behaviorists say that even when cats seem fine at being left home alone all day, itís important that family members spend quality time engaging with the cat when at home.

7. Be prepared to rearrange your living space.

Adopting a cat also means rearranging your living space to make it more feline friendly. Decide where you will keep the litter box making sure that it is a quiet easy-to-reach space that will provide your cat with privacy.

It’s also important to create a stimulating space in your home for your new cat. It should include climbing and scratching posts, and cats also enjoy window seats so they can watch what’s going on outside.

8. Adopting a cat is a financial commitment.

Adoption fees can run as much as $200 and typically include spaying or neutering and vaccinations. According to experts at the Humane Society of Huron Valley (HSHV) in Ann Arbor, MI† it can cost up to $900 per year to care for a cat.

The Humane Society reminds potential adopters that adopting a cat is a lifetime commitment. Before making a final decision, remember that cats live an average of 10 to 18 years, and some may even live into their twenties.

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Photo credit: Thinkstock


Marie W
Marie W3 months ago

thank you

Peggy B
Peggy B4 months ago


Louise R
Past Member 5 months ago

Thanks for this

Ruth S
Ruth S5 months ago


HEIKKI R5 months ago

thank you

Renata B
Renata B5 months ago

I couldn't agree more.

Ann B
Ann B5 months ago

lets see flea meds, ear mite meds, distemper shots...micro chip..NEVER DECLAW...that adds up fast..and the long hair - no matter how much you brush will be on all your black clothes..but a loving cat /cats are worth it

michela c
michela c5 months ago


Sue H
Sue H8 months ago

Helpful information, thanks.

Lesa DiIorio
Past Member 8 months ago


thank you Vera...