Should You Adopt A Cat?

Muffitt's faceMuffitt by Christine Krebs

I got an email today from a man who wanted to adopt a cat from my rescue. Only problem was, he’d just gotten new furniture, and he wanted a cat who was guaranteed not to scratch his leather couch. Oh, and he needed a cat with perfect litter box habits.

I actually live with the perfect cat. Muffitt uses her scratching posts and tree trunks, not the couch. Her litter box habits are beyond reproach. And she’s sweet and gentle and a wonderful friend. She loves to go for walks with me, and she curls up beside me every night and licks my hand until I fall asleep. Really. She’s the perfect cat, and beautiful, too.

But I realize that Muffitt might not always be perfect. As she ages, she might require different litter box and scratching arrangements. Like older people, older cats sometimes require special accommodations and extra patience and love.

The man who wrote to me today got a snippy reply. I told him adopting a cat was probably not a good idea for him. My rescue gets too many pleas from shelters and people who just don’t have the patience and flexibility to live with a cat, or any kind of animal companion. I certainly wasn’t going to adopt to him and have the cat returned, or even worse, enter the kill shelter system, for “bad behavior.”

Over the years, I’ve come to realize that not everyone who wants a cat should have one. After all, adopting a cat is a long-term commitment. The average lifespan of a cat is 16 years, and many live much longer. It’s a financial and lifestyle commitment, too. If the thought of having litter boxes in places that are convenient for the cat, but not necessarily for you, doesn’t appeal to you, you probably shouldn’t consider adding a cat to your family. If your new furniture is more important to you than just about anything else, you probably shouldn’t have an animal companion to mess it up.

The thing to remember is that cats (and dogs) form strong bonds with their family members of all species and rehoming them or taking them to a shelter can literally break their hearts. Here are more things to consider before you adopt. And please take your decision seriously. Your new cat’s life depends on it!

If your wondering about Muffitt, a good Samaritan found her wandering the streets of Baltimore with a flea collar embedded in her neck. She spent an astonishing amount of money on vet care and planned to keep her. But her cat hated her so much, he got sick, so she gave her to the Howard County Cat Club. After a year in our shelter, I decided if no one else wanted her I did. Cat things usually happen for a reason, and maybe I was meant to have Muffitt, the perfect cat.


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