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Is a cat the best pet for you?

Each spring thousands of stray and unwanted kittens enter animal shelters already struggling to cope with the volume of pets they receive. To help raise awareness and promote cat adoptions, American Humane designated June as Adopt-A-Cat Month—the ideal opportunity for you to offer a forever home to a kitten or cat in need.

The relationship between humans and cats dates back thousands of years. Archaeological evidence from both China and Egypt suggests that wild felines were first drawn to human communities because of the abundant rodents there. And it didn’t take long for people to realize the value of a good mouser. Since then, cats have become popular household pets (second only to dogs). And their reputation is well earned: The modern feline has many characteristics that make it an ideal pet.

  • Cats are affectionate. Our cats let us know they love us by cuddling, kneading, rubbing, and purring. They keep us warm under the covers in winter and are a comfort to us when we’re sick.
  • Cats get their daily exercise without needing to be walked. Cats don’t need a tour of the neighborhood to get their exercise. With some toys or another cat for company, cats are well equipped to entertain themselves.
  • Cats are easily litter trained. Most cats quickly understand where to take their bathroom breaks.
  • Cats control pests. Cats were first adopted by humans as a way to control rodents and other pests, and they still fulfill that function today. An adept mouser can rid a home of pests in a hurry, and keep new arrivals away.
  • Cats thrive in apartments. Unlike dogs, cats don’t have a huge range in size—most are between 8 and 10 pounds. So they’re not easily cramped by apartment living.

If you’re thinking of adopting a cat, there are a few things you can do to make the process easier—both for you and the cat.

  • Budget for the short- and long-term costs of cat ownership. Consider the costs of what your cat will need on a daily basis (food, litter, toys, scratching post, etc.) and for long-term care (vaccinations, veterinary care, cat insurance, flea and tick prevention. etc.) and determine whether these fit within your budget.
  • Cat-proof your living space. Remove or safeguard any items you feel may be too tempting for a cat (loose wires, for example, should be secured or hidden, and food should not be left out on counters or surfaces).
  • Become familiar with the special needs of certain cat breeds. Some cat breeds require regular grooming due to their long fur, while others have hereditary conditions to consider.
  • Check whether the other people in your home are amenable to a cat. If you share your living space, be sure the other people in your home don’t have severe allergies or objections to sharing the home with a cat.
  • Determine how any animals already in your home might get along with a new cat. Determining how well the pets you already have are socialized will help you assess whether they’ll accept a new cat. You may want to do a “trial run” by introducing a friend’s cat to your pets.

We hope these tips will help you decide if a new cat is right for you.

Cecily Kellogg is a pet lover who definitely has crazy cat lady leanings. Her pets are all shelter rescues, including the dog, who is scared of the cats. She spent eight years working as a Veterinary Technician before becoming a writer. Today she writes all over the web, including here at Figo.

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