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Adopting a Shelter Cat – Before you bring your New Kitty Home

Is it time to get a kitty? Deciding to get a cat is more than just picking a collar and a name. This blog discusses things you need to consider before you decide to get a cat.
Are you ready for a Cat?

It’s no surprise, having a pet is a big responsibility. Your new kitty is going to be with you for years. An article from Doctors Foster and Smith suggest you ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Am I emotionally, financially, and personally ready to take the responsibility of having a new cat?
  2. Do I understand the nutritional, housing, and health requirements of a cat?
  3. Have I acquired the necessary items needed to take care of a cat, and have I cat-proofed my house?
  4. A cat isn’t a spur-of-the-moment acquisition. Make sure you have a good idea about the traits you’re looking for and would fit in well with your lifestyle. Having a good idea of the type of cat you’re looking for gives you a better chance at finding success with your kitty. Ask yourself ‘do I know what I’m looking for in a cat’:
    1. Breed and/or size
    2. Temperament and personality
    3. Gender
    4. Age
    5. Energy level
  5. Are all of my family members in agreement about getting a new cat?
  6. Have guidelines been set for the feeding, grooming (if necessary, for example long hair cats might need grooming attention), discipline and training (which can be tricky for cats), and cleaning up after kitty?
Before Kitty Comes Home

There are 2 main areas of preparation before kitty comes home: 1) cat-proofing, and 2) cat stuff.

It’s a good idea to cat-proof your house. Here are some suggestions from Petfinder:

  • Cats are territorial and a new house can be intimidating. Find a small place in your home where kitty can hang out for the first few days. Set up all your cat’s amenities. Kitty will feel safe as he acclimatizes to your home. You and kitty can get acquainted here too.
  • A lot of cats love a small place to hide. Consider getting a covered bed, or if you’re creative you can make a fort from a box or blanket.
  • Cats scratch and climb stuff – it’s just what they do. You might want to remove any items you have on display that could easily be knocked over or damaged.
  • Cover any holes in the walls that lead to ductwork – you don’t want kitty to get lost in the walls.

You’re going to need cat stuff. If you have second hand cat stuff that’s ok – but as cats are territorial make sure you wash it. Here are the basic cat items you’ll need:

  • Cat Carrier
  • Litter box – make sure you get one that’s big enough even if you’re getting a kitten. Also, some cats enjoy digging so consider a high back, or covered box.
    • Litter – there’s a lot of different cat litter out there, clay to crystals, pellets to walnut shells, scented to unscented. Make sure to pick the one that’s most appropriate to you and the type of cat you’re getting (kittens have different litter needs than adult cats)
    • Poop scoop and litter liners
  • Food – your local pet store has aisles and aisles of pet food. Get the one that’s best for your cat/kitten
    • Food and water bowls
  • Toys
  • Treats
  • Bed/blanket
  • Scratching post/Cat tower – keep in mind that cats scratch to wear their claws down and that scratching is one of the ways that cats take ownership of an item. Better they scratch a post than your stuff
Adopt or buy – that is the question. As it is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month we’re going to focus on the adoption option.

Adopting from a shelter has a lot of advantages:

  • There’s a lot of choice – unfortunately there are a lot of cats in shelters, you’re certain to find your dream kitty
  • In general, shelter cats have been spayed/neutered, immunized, dewormed, microchipped/tattooed, and examined for behavioural and medical issues
    • Most shelters screen for feline Leukemia and HIV
  • You can choose a cat with a personality that matches your own – you’ll be less likely to have to bring the cat back to the shelter if you choose the right personality
  • You’re saving a life

Need more convincing? Check out S.E. Smith’s article 10 Reasons to Adopt a Shelter Cat

Here’s an overview of the adoption process according to Doctors Foster and Smith:
  • Fill out an application
    • Proof of age and permanent residence
    • Pet ownership history (may include vet records)
    • Proof of vaccination and licensing of other pets
    • Photo ID
  • Choose your new cat – it never hurts to visit shelter cats a couple of times before you make a choice
  • Waiting period
  • Sign a contract and fee payment – (contracts vary between shelters)
  • Trial period
Cost
Adoption fees differ from shelter to shelter. Also, it depends on the cat’s age and sex. Here’s an example from the BCSPCA:
One-Time Adoption Expenses
Adoption Fee $100
Spaying/neutering and tattoo $160
Total
$260
The costs don’t end with the adoption fees. Here’s what you need to be aware of for your budget:
One-Time Expenses
Food and Water Dishes $9
Collar $8
Brush $10
Litter Pan and Scoop $15
Scratching Post $30
Carrier $25
Toys $15
Total $112
All in one-time total
$372
Annual Expenses
Food (Wet and Dry) $336
Treats $30
Litter $144
Vet Checks and Vaccinations $120
Total
$630

The above costs don’t include things like anti fur ball meds, deworming, flea/tick meds, pet insurance, or dental care.

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Want More?

Check out the article mentioned in the blog:

10 Reasons to Adopt a Shelter Pet – http://www.care2.com/causes/10-reasons-to-adopt-a-shelter-cat.html

Adopting Cats from an Animal Shelter – http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=1+2137&aid=829

I’m Adopting a Cat, Now What? – https://www.petfinder.com/pet-adoption/cat-adoption/cat-adoption-first-30-days/

BCSPCA, Cost of Care – http://www.spca.bc.ca/pet-care/adoption/5-steps-to-adoption/cost-of-care.html#Cats

LAPS, Adoption Process – http://www.lapsbc.ca/get-involved/animal-adoption/adoption-process/

Adopting a Senior Dog

November is Adopt a Senior Dog Month.  This blog defines what “senior” means and gives the positives of adopting a senior dog and an overview of what to expect when bringing your new senior dog home. What is a Senior Dog? According to the ASPCA dogs reach the senior stage of life on average between 7-10 years of age depending on their breed.  Big breeds reach senior-hood earlier than small breeds; large and giant breed dogs (51+ pounds) reach their golden years as early as 5. Positives of Adopting a Senior Dog There are a lot of misconceptions about adopting a senior dog.  This section includes information from Cesar’s Way and The Winnipeg Humane Society.  If you’re thinking of adding a dog to your life here are some things you might want to consider before deciding what dog to bring home:

  1. Old dogs can be taught new tricks.  Just because a dog is in the late stages of life doesn’t mean that it can’t learn.  Old dogs are just as capable as puppies at learning new things.
  2. Senior dogs generally don’t need to be trained.  Most old dogs already know basic commands like “sit” and “stay”.  Further, senior dogs are, in general, already potty trained.  This will save you a lot of time as you won’t have to worry about starting training from the beginning.
  3. Senior dogs are experienced dogs.  Old dogs are typically less excitable and calmer than younger dogs.  Senior dogs have already lived through the puppy stage and have experienced different living situations and types of people.  Many senior dogs have an even-keeled temperament which makes them good with children and less likely to destroy your home and shoes.
  4. Old dogs make great companions.  In general, older dogs already know how to accompany a person on a walk and how to play fetch.  You won’t have to train them to heel or bring you their favourite fetching toy.
  5. You might be saving a life.  Older dogs are often over looked at shelters in favour of younger dogs.  This means that older dogs are the first to be euthanized.  When you choose a senior dog you are likely saving its life.
  6. Senior dogs settle into your life quickly.  Senior dogs have pack experience – they know how to fit into your life and can adjust more readily than a young dog.

These are only a few of reasons adopting a senior dog is a great idea.  Remember, when adopting a new pet always look around first – find the pet that will fit your lifestyle. For more information on the benefits of adopting a senior dog check out:

Bringing a Senior Dog Home If you’ve made the decision to adopt a senior dog here are a few tips from Petfinder:

  1. Take it easy – don’t invite over a lot of people to meet your new dog on the first day.  If you have other pets introduce your new senior dog to them individually.
  2. Take the tour – take your senior dog on a guided tour of your home and yard.  Once the tour is done let your senior get settled into their space.
  3. Safe spot – provide your senior pup with his/her very own safe spot.  The spot doesn’t have to be secluded from the rest of the family.  Place your dog’s bed and toys there.
  4. Diet transition – if you’ve decided to change your senior dog’s food take it slow.  A sudden change in foods with very different qualities can make your dog sick.  Mix the old and new foods together for a week or so – slowly decrease the amount of the old food.

You may also want to arrange a vet visit with in the first week.  For more tips and information about your new senior dog’s first days at home check out:

PHOTO CONTEST Do you have a senior dog?  Go to our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/DoonGo) and post a picture of your senior pup along with your pup’s name, breed, and age. The contest closes November 12 at 11:55pm.  The winner will be announced November 15 on our Facebook pack. For more information or if you have any questions please feel free to contact us through our website: doo-n-go.com, Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DoonGo or email: [email protected]. Remember to Share: Do you know someone with a senior dog or who is thinking of adopting a dog?  Share our blog with them J

Adopt a Shelter Pet Month

There are tons of dogs in shelters waiting to be adopted.  October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month – reminding people that there are lots of furry friends waiting in shelters. This blog give a quick overview of what to consider when adopting a shelter dog.

Things to Consider when Adopting

  1. Finding the right match. Adopting a pet isn’t like buying a new wallet, you need to know what your needs are and the needs of your potential new dog.  Are you active, or too busy to exercise?  Do you have allergies?  Do you live in an apartment?  These are just some of the questions you need to ask yourself to determine which breed of dog will be your best match.  Dogbreedinfo.com has a couple of quizzes to help you figure out your dog match: http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/searchcategories.htm
  2. Time consideration. Remember that owning a pet can take up a lot of time.  If you live on your own and have a very busy life make sure you choose a dog that doesn’t need constant attention. Once you know what kind of dog you’re looking for it’s time to hit the local shelters.  Sharon Maguire of dogbreedinfo.com says that it isn’t necessary to pick a dog from the first shelter you visit.  You’re bringing home a new family member – it’s important to take your time and visit different shelters
  3. Alpha dogs. Nicole Pajer of Cesarsway.com listed lack of training as the top reason dogs end up in shelters.  Dogs are pack animals and packs have a hierarchy.  You need to be able to train your new pup consistently.  If you can’t establish yourself as the alpha dog your pet isn’t going to listen to you.  Before you adopt make sure you have the time and ability to establish yourself as the leader
  4. Adoption Day The day you adopt your dog will be the happiest day of your new pup’s life.  But it isn’t all hugs and treats – here are some tips to be aware of before adoption day:
  • Don’t invade your dog’s space.  Try not to smoother your new dog with hugs and kisses until you’ve exercised them and shown them their new home.  In dog language hugs can be considered an act of dominance.
  • You’ll need a leash – take your dog for a super long walk before you go home.  Dogs that have lived in shelters typically don’t get enough exercise and all that pent up energy can spell disaster at home.  Always remember establish yourself as the leader during this first walk: enter and exits doorways and gates before your dog and make sure your dog heels.
  • When you arrive home keep your dog on the leash, it’s time for the guided tour.  Lead your dog around the areas of the home she/he will be allowed in – always enter and exit the room before your dog.  Do not show your dog areas that are off limits to him/her.
  • At the end of the tour show your dog his space – bed or crate area.  You can put some treats down so your dog has happy thoughts about this space.

For more information on adopting shelter dogs check out: http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/articles/adoptingrescuedog.htm http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/articles/abusedrescuedog.htm http://www.cesarsway.com/channel/dog-rescue/adoption-tips https://www.petfinder.com/dogs/bringing-a-dog-home/tips-for-first-30-days-dog/ Have a question we didn’t cover?  Have a tip you’d like to share?  Let us know on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/DoonGo.  You might even win a prize J

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