Ask This When Adopting a Cat

The decision to adopt a cat or kitten will no doubt be met with excitement, a bit of anxiety and plenty of questions. Choosing to provide a loving home to an animal in need is often the easy part. Finding the right place to adopt from and selecting the best animal for your home and family may take a bit more research and planning. Cats, like people, all have personalities and needs of their own. Some do well with children or other pets, while others do best as an only pet. Some cats are happy to curl up on your lap and love being around people, while others prefer to be left alone most of the time. Some felines may be older or have medical issues. There are many important factors to consider when choosing which cat to adopt. Ask the following questions to find a good match.

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How much does it cost to adopt a cat from a shelter?
Since fees vary greatly depending on the shelter and the care the cat required while there, your best bet is to contact local shelters individually to ask about fees. As a general rule, however, most adoptions range anywhere from $50 to $150, and usually include spaying/neutering and current vaccinations. 
How can I help my current pets acclimate to the addition of a new cat?
Helping current pets adjust to the addition of a new pet can be stressful if not done properly. If your new cat is already comfortable around other pets, the process may go a lot more smoothly. If your new cat is accustomed to being an only pet, however, be cautious and patient when introducing him to other pets in the home. Try to keep your new cat secluded in a separate room for a period of time, to allow everyone to adjust to new scents and sounds before meeting face-to-face. Your vet or the shelter or rescue organization where you adopted your kitty may be the best source for information on making the process go as smoothly as possible. 
Can I take a cat back to the shelter after I've adopted, if things don't work out?
Taking a cat back to the shelter should only be done when absolutely necessary, not as a matter of convenience. Most issues you might run into with your new pet can be resolved over time. Because of this, the shelter may not take the cat back, unless the circumstances really warrant it. To find out whether your particular case would allow you to return the cat, contact the shelter where you got the cat. 
What do I do if my adopted cat is refusing to eat after bringing him home?
Most cats will require an adjustment period when brought to their new home. Everything is new and strange, and your cat may feel anxious or scared for the first few days or weeks after coming home with you. He may hide under beds and refuse to eat (though most cats will sneak a few nibbles when no one is looking), until he feels more secure and settled. Allow your kitty some time to adjust to his new surroundings, while keeping fresh food and water available at all times, even if he doesn't seem interested at first. It's also a good idea to use the same food your cat was being fed at the shelter, a least for a while. If your cat still hasn't eaten anything after a few days, it's time to talk to the vet or the shelter you adopted your cat from and ask for advice, as it could be a sign of a serious medical issue.
How long do I have to wait to bring my cat home after adopting from a shelter?
Since procedures vary by shelter, your best bet would be to call the shelter directly and ask the shelter staff how long you should expect to wait before bringing your new cat home. 
What should I feed my cat after bringing him home from the shelter?
Most cats will do better if given the same food they were being fed at the shelter, at least for a while. After the first week or so, ask your vet which food will be best for your cat. Shelter staff should be able to let you know which food the cat ate while at the shelter. 
Do I have to pay to get my pet spayed/neutered when adopting from a shelter?
Generally speaking, shelters will not release pets that aren't fixed. Some may allow you to bring your pet home, however, as long as you have paid for and set an appointment for the spay or neuter. Call and check with your local animal shelter or humane society to find out about their specific policies. 
How do I deal with fleas on the cat I just adopted?
First, most reputable shelters will have already treated all animals for fleas before putting them up for adoption, so call the shelter and ask which flea treatment was used. Otherwise, contact your vet for advice. 

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