Thinking About Adopting a Kitten? Read These 5 Tips from the SPCA First
Sure, you had a great time decorating your first post-college apartment with your roommate, and you never exercised more than when the two of you spent your weekday evenings doing YouTube partner workout vids together, but the time has come to move into a place that’s all yours. Ah, living alone is glorious, but it can also get lonely. Adopting a kitty companion is such a rewarding, enriching way to add joy and energy to your newly found bachelorette life, and one we’re all for (as well as getting a pet with your partner). If you’ve been thinking of taking the major step of adopting a cat, be sure to read on for some seriously valuable tips from the team at the SPCA in Richmond, VA.
1. Adopt two kittens. Yes, two. Tabitha Treloar, director of communications for the Richmond SPCA, says that if you live alone and work full-time, “Having a sibling gives your kitten a built-in buddy while you’re away, and while you’re home it’s double the entertainment in watching them play.” She says that kittens sleep much of the day, taking naps punctuated with bursts of play during the night, so having a playmate will also ensure you’re getting the sleep you need after adopting your fur baby.
2. Pay attention to their personality. Everyone I spoke with at the Richmond SPCA agrees that looks aren’t everything when it comes to adopting a kitten (or, you know, when you’re picking a romantic partner — but that’s another story). Behavior and training specialist Jessica Bristow advises, “Kittens’ personalities change as they grow and mature.” For that reason, she says someone adopting should take home the kitten they best connect with, “even if he or she is a little more shy or a little more energetic than you were originally looking for.”
Additionally, Tommy DeSanto, an adoption specialist, equates their socialization with their personality traits; “An outgoing, confident kitten is more likely to get into mischief such as scaling your curtains. A scared kitten is more likely to go missing for days if he’s allowed full reign of a big house.” Both sound like kitty nightmares, but be prepared. If you’re really worried about ending up with a kitten that’s too high energy or destructive for you, consider adopting a cat that’s a few years old. Older kitties need love too.
3. Litter box training is top priority. Once you get your newest family member home, your main goal should be to get your kitty litter-box trained right away, Tabitha says. Keep your kitty contained to one or two rooms with the litter box nearby. “As she becomes comfortable and confident and you open up more space for her to explore, she’ll still know where to find her litter box and water and food bowls.”
4. Keep them entertained. If you’re off to a nine-to-five every morning, Tabitha reiterates the importance of keeping kitty contained to a couple of rooms to keep her mischievous tendencies in check. Jessica suggests rotating a handful of toys for your new kitty to play with while you’re gone. She loves the interactive toys by FroliCat that’ll keep them engaged (and those tiny claws away from your new couch) while you’re away.
5. Foster first! If you’re still hesitant about making that 10+ year commitment, try fostering a kitten first. Get in touch with your local animal shelter and let them know you’d like to give some kittens a temporary home. You’ll quickly get an idea if adopting a kitten is right for you without the worry of permanence looming behind your decision. Plus, “We’re always happy to have a ‘foster failure’ if you do decide to make [your foster kitten] permanent,” Tabitha jokes.
Adopting a kitten may seem daunting if you’ve never lived alone and have never raised an animal on your own before, but Tabitha reminds us, “Adopting a kitten is a wonderful decision for a single person who is on her own for the first time. Not only will you have a constant companion and unconditional love, but by opening your heart to a homeless pet, you’re also making a socially responsible decision that will save a life.”
Have you recently adopted a kitten? Tag us @BritandCo on Instagram and show us your sweet new family member!
(Photos via Getty)