/ / First Timer: Adopting Your Very First Cat

First Timer: Adopting Your Very First Cat

| by John Ceranic |

When is the best time to adopt a cat? Well, there is no time like the present! But, there is a few questions and preparations prospective cat owners should ask before bringing home a new feline friend.

1. Is it Really the Best Time to Adopt?

Although there may never be a purrrfect time to adopt, it is wise to consider life events or even potential life events. This would include anything like weddings, job changes, starting school or moving residences. This is especially true for cats like the ones at Le Cat Cafe. The Le Cat Cafe cats have lived on the streets of Philadelphia before getting rescued and then moved into a foster home. From there they may eventually move to Le Cat Cafe and then finally to their final furever home. That amount of change would make anyone’s head spin. So keep that in mind if considering adopting a new furry friend. There is no shame in waiting to adopt until you are properly setup to care for your new feline in the best possible situation.

2. Long Term and Financial Commitment

Cats can live 15-20 years so make sure you are in it for the long-run. Your adopted cat is now a member of your family! Expect to spend somewhere between $500 – $1000 a year, but also be sure to budget for any unforseen medical expenses. For example, something like feline dental work can be quite expensive. 

3. What Kind of Cat do you Want?

Do you want a super active cat, a lap-cat, a big ‘ole lazy bum or some combination? Are you looking for an adult cat or a kitten? Do you need a cat that has the right purrrsonality to get along with another cat, a dog or a small child? Although adopting at many shelters it is sometimes hard to determine the personality profile of a particular cat, it is very possible when adopting at Le Cat Cafe. The staff of Le Cat Cafe as well as previous foster parents know the cats intimately and can provide you with a good feel for their personality. 
However, there is no subsitutte for meeting the cats in person. If adopting from Le Cat Cafe it is HIGHLY recommended coming to the cafe for a visit. (as the cafe is currently closed due to COVID-19, you can schedule a virtual appointment or we can individually arrange a private meet and greet). I can’t stress this enough. Cats are like people; sometimes two people vibe together that you would never expect. I have seen people come into the cafe to meet a cat and makes an instant connection despite not showing the same type of love to any other people that enter the cafe! But no mater where you end up adopting, do your best to interact with the cat as much as possible and ask any staff for any insight about cat’s temperment and personality.  

4. Make Sure Your Cat is Healthy & Pick a Vet

All cats adopted from Le Cat Cafe have received basic rescue services prior to adoption.  We use clinics for rescue work due to the volume and costs. Each cat is treated for fleas immediately post rescue. At the vets they are tested for feline aids/leukemia, spayed or neutered and vaccinated.  Ears are cleaned and nails trimmed if the vet team has time. Kittens can be altered once they reach 3 lbs or approximately 3-4 months of age and cannot receive rabies until 12-15 weeks of age or it is not effective.   We give each adopter a copy of the cats medical records and recommend taking them to the vet , within 3 months of adoption, to the vet of their choice that they plan to use for annual visits.

If adopting at another shelter make sure to inquire about all of the these proceudues. As far as choosing a vet, Le Cat Cafe can recommend one or you can usually get a recommendation from the shelter you adopt from. And closer is always better (in case of an emergency). 

5. Setup Your House and Give Your Cat Time to Adjust

When your cat first comes home with you it is best to setup one room with the food/water, litter box, scratching pads, toys etc. (more on this later). Your cat should spend at least a day or two in this room (sometimes longer) getting used to the new home. After the adjustment period, show them around the house and and them open the door for the original room so that they can leave at their discretion. If they still seem frightened you can occasionaly bring them out of the room and just hold them and pet them so they get used to the sights, sounds and smells in the rest of the house. Be Patient. Sometimes cats take weeks or even longer to fully adjust to a new household.  

Now let’s talk about setting up your house long-term. Let’s start with the litter box. The general rule is 1.5 litter boxes per cat according to cat whisperer Jackson Galaxy. A bathroom or basement can be a good choice, but they can be placed anywhere as long as you are ok. Just make sure your cat knows where it is! 

For scratching pads, get a variety of choices until you figure out what your cat likes the best. There are scratching posts, scratching pads and there are pads that can hang from your cabinets. 

As far as food goes, ideally setup the food and water in a different spot from each other. Cats prefer this do to evolutionary reasons. At Le Cat Cafe, the cats eat a combination of wet and dry food and we would recommend that for your cat as well.

6. Do Your Research

This article is a good starting point, but learning about your cat is a lifelong journey. Keep learning and asking questions so that your and your new companion can live a long and fruitful life together. 


John Ceranic is a content creator, digital marketer and cat expert and has been working at Le Cat Cafe for the past four years.

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