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Adopt-a-Cat Month

Welcome to the pet care section of Diana L. Guerrero's Ark Animals. Cats are the most popular pet in America. Each year, springtime births flood pet agencies with unwanted felines. June is national adopt-a-cat month so join in the feline fuss and adopt-a-cat or adopt-a-kitten. Learn the whole kitten kaboodle in this article filled with tips and hints for celebrating adopt-a-cat month. Feel free to visit the media room for press releases, recent media coverage, and related items.

Adopt-a-Cat Month

According the American Humane Association the estimated population of homeless cats in the United States (70 million) is almost equal to the number of pet households owning felines (75 million).

Animal shelters throughout the country are inundated with dozens of litters of kittens on an annual basis. Over 70% of those animals will be put to sleep because there are not enough loving homes for them.

Each June, in response to the challenges of pet overpopulation, shelters and other agencies encourage the adoption of cats and kittens during adopt-a-cat month.

For those searching for the perfect puss here are seven points to ponder with a few additional hints about other steps you might take in your community to help cats.

1. Family Feline or Particular Puss?
Pet selection can be tricky. When searching for a new critter to add to the household make sure to carefully ponder the age and sex of any new animal.

For instance, kittens are cute and playful but they can also pose challenges to young children or to households without other pets. They need constant coaching and supervision. Kitten kindergarten is a must so the wild child is directed into better behavior.

Mature cats can be ideal additions although some may be set in their ways. Most will adjust easily into family households. The added advantage of adopting older animals is that they are calmer and less active.

Senior animals are often overlooked but can be the perfect pet. Just remember that age can mean added veterinary care and dietary restrictions.

2. Background Check for Cats
When considering a new pet, always ask about friendliness to other animals and children. Make sure that the whole family (including other pets) gets to meet the newcomer on neutral territory before making the commitment. Most shelters will encourage family visits prior to adoption. In some cases they may have some background on the fur ball they house. If the notes say “no pets” or “no children” don’t argue, there is a reason for the notation.

3. Cat House or Finicky Feline
Multiple cat households can be a pleasure or a nightmare. First, make sure everyone makes time for each pet. Quality attention is just as important as good exercise. Avoid preferential treatment and notice which animal acts like top cat. Understanding the dynamics between animals will help prevent competition and altercations between the critters.

If cat households provide a selection of feeding stations, ample litter boxes, and lounging areas they can avoid conflict and competition. However, some finicky felines prefer to be the only animal in the household.

4. Perky, Personable or Persnickety
Pet personalities can vary. Abandoned or rescued animals may not always exhibit their true colors until they are integrated into the home and stress is reduced.
Quiet households will appreciate a calmer, shy animal while active households may enjoy the antics of a younger cat. Assessments made by animal services staff helps in selecting and placing the correct animal in the right household.

5. Hairy Experience
Grooming needs vary according to the cat’s coat condition. Long-haired cats need frequent coat care and hairball remedies. Brushing and professional grooming may be needed to maintain a long coat. In many cases, a medium coated or short-haired animal may be more appropriate for busy households or those homes not wanting to maintain a fur ball.

Speaking of fur balls…hairball hurlers seem to pick the one spot you will step on or sit one. Management helps reduce hairballs. Include a diet that includes good fiber, administer approved hairball remedies regularly, and make sure to brush your animal at least once a day.

6. Cat Care
In addition to good nutrition, exercise, and mental stimulation, felines need regular veterinary medical care. Physically examine all critters daily and make sure to avoid toileting terrors by keeping the litter box odorless and clean. Veterinary medical checkups should be scheduled annually.

7. In or Out
Disease transmission, predators, parasite, vehicles and theft and other risks make it wise to keep your pet indoors. Cat condos and aviaries are nice, safe and humane alternatives if you want your cat to get sun and fresh air.

Helpful Hints
You don’t always have to bring a feline into the household. In fact, there are many volunteer opportunities available to pet lovers. For instance, Cat lovers will enjoy helping misplaced felines in humane societies. Learn pet essential skills while you play, groom or supervise misplaced felines. If you are more inclined toward the purebred lines, many breed groups need assistance with their breed rescue and fostering efforts.

Feral cat rescue opportunities exist if you are concerned about abandoned or orphaned animals living in the community. These animals are in dire need of animal management, inoculations, and population control through sterilization. Please make sure you align yourself with recognized organizations for optimal training and understanding of the issues surrounding feral cats. Groups like Feral Cat Rescue exist nationally.

Finally, get your feline fix through fostering opportunities via many established pet agencies. You’ll have fun and provide a valuable service.

About the columnist: Since 1978 Diana L. Guerrero has worked professionally with both wild and domestic animals. Guerrero has been affiliated with, and certified by, a variety of animal programs in the USA and Europe. Based in California, she writes, consults, and speaks. Information on her animal career programs, training courses, and her books {What Animals Can Teach Us about Spirituality (SkyLight Paths, 2003), Blessing of the Animals (Sterling, 2007), Help! My Pet is Driving Me Crazy (Guerrero Ink, 2007), Animal Disaster Preparedness for Pet Owners & Pet Professionals (Guerrero Ink, 2007)} can be found in this web site and in the shop. Questions for Guerrero should be submitted via the blog comments or membership forum.


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