Cat Adoption Final Part: What to Expect
If this is your first time adopting or caring for a cat, this third and final article in our Cat Adoption series is for you. Our first article covered the reasons why we support ‘Adopt Don’t Shop’ and the second covered home and lifestyle considerations.
And in this final article, we’ll cover the duties and responsibilities of cat ownership. Because you must have a clear understanding of your cat’s life span, diet, grooming, and safety needs before you adopt.
For more detail, we’ll link to specialized articles. And as we grow our blog, we will continue to add more of these in-depth cat-care articles regularly.
Cat Ownership Isn’t Cheap, nor Should You Expect It to Be
We’re not guaranteeing that adopting a cat will break the bank. But there are certain expenses that you must be willing to pay to ethically adopt a cat. A reality check is healthy and illuminating, even if it proves disappointing.
Go in With Eyes Wide Open
Many cat lovers would love to care for a cat, but concede that financial and lifestyle restrictions could present needlessly heartbreaking decisions down the road.
Also, the average cat’s lifespan is 13 to 20 years, which is a considerable portion of your life. Adopting a cat or any animal requires the same careful consideration as bringing a child into your life and home.
Cat Adoption Isn't Right for Everyone and That's Okay!
While it might seem like a good deed to simply bring a cat home from the shelter, the buck doesn’t stop there. Because cats need more than love and cuddles! Sometimes when you love animals, that can mean letting go of the need to own them.
Your friends and family will never say no to a doting cat sitter! Local shelters always need volunteers to help care for cats in need. There are always ways to be of service to animals.
Initial, Regular, and Emergency Expenses of Cat Adoption
Spaying, neutering, and vaccinations take up the lion’s share of initial expenses when adopting a cat. Everything else, from a microchip to carriers, toys, bowls, and beds, fill out the final tab for initial expenses. And these can add up to around $700-$1900.
Our upcoming article ‘How Much Does It Cost to Keep a Cat?’ will go into greater detail about these essential expenses.
Regular Annual Expenses
Ongoing cat care includes litter, food, heartworm, tick, and flea protection, as well as routine visits to the veterinarian. And this annual care can match the initial expenses in the range of $600-$1800 each year.
Emergency and Additional Expenses
Unfortunately, cat ownership isn’t all cuddles and playtime. Just like humans, cats require additional healthcare like teeth cleaning, grooming, and cat sitting.
And of course, cats can sick unexpectedly. Cats can require operations, regular medication, or special needs accommodations like wheelchairs or prosthetics.
Because these additional expenses can run from $600-$3000, you need to ask yourself tough questions well before you decide to adopt.
Are you able to shoulder an unexpected cost should it arise? What does it mean if you can’t?
Identification and Microchips
Both identifications in the form of a collar and a microchip are necessary to ensure your cat can be quickly returned if they are lost. Even if this is unlikely, it is important to be prepared.
You might think that microchips aren’t necessary if your cat has a collar, but this isn’t true. A microchip, unlike a collar, cannot be misread, and the identification number is protected and secured.
This added layer of protection gives you peace of mind. Think of it as cat security insurance. You hope you don’t need it, but you’ll be glad it’s there when you do.
Everyday Life With Your Cat
Now that we’ve gotten the tough realities out the way, we can talk about the good stuff. Daily activities in which you’ll groom, feed, and play with your cat, all contribute to their overall well-being and health.
Some of these tasks, like nail trimming and teeth brushing, can be a chore to start. But just like caring for a child, caring for your cat should be a pleasure. Even if you’re nobody’s friend at nail trimming time, hands-on love and care are vital for bonding and trust to develop.
Feeding Your Cat
Most cats will eat around two to three meals per day. A great way to combat night-time rowdiness in your cat is to feed them their last meal of the day right before bedtime.
Kittens will require high-quality kitten food once they’ve been weaned, while adults will do well on a combination of dry kibble and canned food.
Cats are naturally impeccable self-cleaners, so brushing once or twice a week is all they need. As your cat gets older and less motivated to groom, you will help out more regularly.
Regularly brushing your cat’s coat helps to get rid of dirt, grease, dandruff, and skin flakes, while minimizing shedding and stimulating healthy blood flow.
Daily brushing is essential for humans and cats alike! During your initial visit to the vet for spaying, neutering, and vaccinations, inquire about the best toothbrush for your cat.
Your vet can recommend a high-quality cat toothpaste and finger brush based on their examination of your cat. Getting off on the right food with dental hygiene will keep your cat’s teeth healthy and tartar-free.
Nail trimming is a delicate task and needs some practice and patience. And cat’s nails need to be trimmed around once a month, or as needed.
We have a fantastic article that will teach you exactly ‘How To Trim Your Cat's Nails’. You’ll be an expert in no time.
But if your cat is particularly sensitive, there is no shame in hiring a professional groomer or veterinarian to do it.
An Important Notice About Declawing
We stand with the BC SPCA’s Position Statement on Cosmetic and Other Non-Therapeutic Alterations: “Surgical procedures such as tail docking, ear cropping, devocalization and declawing impact, with varying severity and duration, an animal’s ability to experience the Five Freedoms.”
Bottom line: Don’t declaw your cat. It is cruel and unnecessary.
Scratching Posts and Toys for Nail Maintenance
Your cat’s instinct to scratch everything in sight is their way of maintaining their nail and claw health. By introducing scratching pads, as well as sisal and plush toys to your cat’s environment, you give them tools that empower their instinctive self-care (and save your furniture!). This will also help to decrease paw pad and nail sensitivity when it comes to nail trimming time.
Cat Adoption: The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship
We hope you’ve enjoyed this final article in our Cat Adoption series. As promised, we’ll be providing more in-depth articles about some of the topics introduced in this article.
In our upcoming article: ‘How Much Does It Cost to Keep a Cat?’ we’ll break down the initial, annual, and emergency expenses in greater detail. Stay tuned!
BC SPCA (2014) “Position Statement on Cosmetic and Other Non-therapeutic Alterations,” BC SPCA, [online] Available from: https://spca.bc.ca/programs-services/leaders-in-our-field/position-statements/position-statement-on-cosmetic-and-other-non-therapeutic-alterations/ (Accessed 15 May 2021).
Hunter, T. (2021) “Microchipping Your Cat,” VCA Hospitals, [online] Available from: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/microchipping-your-cat (Accessed 14 May 2021).
Rover.com (2020) “The Cost of Owning a Cat in Canada 2020,” The Dog People by Rover.com, [online] Available from: https://www.rover.com/blog/ca/cost-of-owning-a-cat/ (Accessed 14 May 2021).