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The Ultimate Guide To Adopting A Cat [2023]


The Ultimate Guide To Adopting A Cat [2023]


An adult cat comes with little guesswork. They may already be litter-box trained and probably won’t chew or scratch on everything. Plus, he won’t be running at maximum speed all the time. A kitten will be a lot more work in training and may take some extra trips to the vet for additional care. This post is all about the ultimate guide to adopting a cat.

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A kitten may test you and your other pet’s boundaries to see who is really in charge of the household. (Come to think of it, mine still does!) Kittens are also a clean slate, which can mean a stronger bond being built and watching him grow. Although a senior kitty cat will be incredibly grateful to his new forever home. Especially if the older cat was in a rescue or on the streets.

I really like this video that Jackson Galaxy did as it covers everything from costs, to integrating a new cat with one who already lives in your home. Watching this video will probably take away your anxiety. I think it will also give you great pointers, and some space to really think your options through.

This is a good video for a guide to adopting a cat!

Now that you made the life-changing decision to make your life better with cat adoption, there’s a lot to take into consideration before heading out the door. You want to make sure your home and other household members are ready for the change.

A cat will bring you and your family a lot of rewards and also a few challenges. It’s also crucial to where to adopt a cat or kitten.

For more information about adopting a kitten, check out our article 10 Kitten Adoption Essentials. Although it is tempting to go right to the baby kitten notion, there is a lot to be said for adopting an older cat!

To see if your next furry companion could be better suited to be a senior cat, check out our blog post: The Ultimate Guide to Adopting a Senior Cat. It breaks down the pros and cons of adopting a kitty that is not a kitten.

Should I adopt a kitten or an older cat?

An adult cat comes with little guesswork. They may already be litter-box trained and probably won’t chew or scratch on everything. Plus, he won’t be running at maximum speed all the time. A kitten will be a lot more work in training and may take some extra trips to the vet for additional care.

A kitten may test you and your other pet’s boundaries to see who is really in charge of the household. (Come to think of it, mine still does!) Kittens are also a clean slate, which can mean a stronger bond being built and watching him grow. Although a senior kitty cat will be incredibly grateful to his new forever home. Especially if the older cat was in a rescue or on the streets.

Kittens: Energetic, Playful, and Training Intensive

Kittens are undeniably adorable bundles of energy. From their tiny paws to their playful antics, they can easily steal your heart. However, adopting a kitten also comes with some challenges. Due to their young age, kittens require more time and effort in training. Housebreaking and teaching them not to scratch furniture or chew on cords are necessary steps in their development.

If you’re considering adopting a kitten, be prepared for frequent trips to the vet for vaccinations and check-ups, as they have weaker immune systems and need additional care during their early months. However, the journey of watching a kitten grow and building a strong bond from their early stages can be a truly rewarding experience.

Adult Cats: Relaxed, Litter-Box Trained, and Less Guesswork

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Opting for an adult cat has its advantages. Unlike kittens, adult cats come with less guesswork and a more established personality. Many adult cats are already litter-box trained and well-behaved, reducing the effort required in training. Additionally, they won’t have the same boundless energy as kittens, making them more relaxed and laid-back.

Adopting an adult cat also means saving a life and giving a second chance to a feline in need. Older cats can be incredibly grateful for their new forever homes, especially if they have previously experienced hardships on the streets or in a rescue environment.

You may ask yourself a few questions when considering adoption.

Considerations when adopting a feline

What is my age and living situation?

Adopting a cat or kitten requires a significant amount of time and energy, so it is important to consider your age and living situation before making a commitment. If you are young and live in a busy or chaotic home, you may be better off waiting until you can provide the necessary time and attention for a pet. 

  1. Age and Living Situation: Before making a commitment to adopt a cat or kitten, consider your age and living situation. If you’re young and live in a busy or chaotic home, it might be better to wait until you can provide the necessary time and attention for your new pet.
  2. Space Availability: Cats need space to feel comfortable and secure. Assess the size of your home and the number of other animals or people living there before deciding if you can provide your pet with the appropriate space.
  3. Long-Term Commitment: Keep in mind that adopting a cat is a long-term commitment. Cats can live up to 20 years, so be prepared to provide consistent care and love throughout their lives.
  4. Budget for Pet Care: Adoption comes with financial responsibilities. Consider the costs of pet food, litter, vet visits, and other necessary supplies when evaluating your budget for pet care.
  5. Time for Care and Attention: Cats need love and attention. Be honest with yourself about how much time you can dedicate to your cat or kitten each day to ensure their well-being and happiness.

Do I Have Enough Space for a Kitten? Tips to Ensure Your Feline’s Comfort and Security

When considering adopting a kitten, one crucial factor to evaluate is whether your home provides enough space for your new feline friend to feel comfortable and secure. Cats thrive in environments where they have room to explore and play. In this section, we’ll explore essential tips to ensure your living space is suitable for a kitten’s needs, allowing them to lead a happy and fulfilling life with you.

Creating a Comfortable and Secure Environment for Your Kitten

1. Evaluate the Size of Your Home:

Before bringing a kitten home, take a close look at the size of your living space. Consider whether it offers ample room for your new feline companion to move around freely. Cats love to explore and exercise their natural hunting instincts, so having enough space to roam is essential for their physical and mental well-being.

2. Consider the Number of Other Animals and People:

Take into account the number of other animals or people living in your home. An overcrowded environment can cause stress for a kitten, making it challenging for them to feel comfortable and secure. Ensure there is enough space to accommodate everyone, providing your kitten with opportunities for both play and privacy.

3. Provide Vertical Space:

Cats are natural climbers, and they enjoy perching in high places to observe their surroundings. Consider providing vertical space, such as cat trees or shelves, where your kitten can climb and perch safely. This not only enriches their environment but also satisfies their innate desire for height and security.

4. Create Safe Hideaway Spots:

Kittens, like all cats, appreciate having quiet and cozy spaces where they can retreat to when they feel overwhelmed or need some alone time. Ensure there are safe hideaway spots, such as cat beds, boxes, or dedicated cat rooms, where your kitten can relax and recharge.

5. Play and Interaction Areas:


Designate play and interaction areas in your home where you can engage in interactive play sessions with your kitten. Use toys and encourage active play to stimulate their physical and mental health. These designated areas help create a positive association between play and specific spaces in your home.

Keep in mind that cats love cozy spots, and even a simple cardboard box can become their favorite hiding spot. You don’t need to fill your home with elaborate structures; providing a few well-chosen cozy spaces can bring immense joy to your kitten.

Designing the perfect abode for your kitten doesn’t require a massive space or elaborate constructions. Cats love small spaces that offer comfort, security, and opportunities to express their natural instincts. By creating cozy and enriching spots, incorporating vertical elements, and setting up designated play areas, you’ll be well on your way to providing a welcoming and satisfying environment for your new feline companion.

Remember, a happy and contented kitten will undoubtedly bring immeasurable joy and companionship to your life. These posts have great content for designing a cat or kitten room that can be very valuable.

Making the Most of Cat Furniture in a Studio Apartment

New Season, New Look: How to Use Spring Colors to Brighten Up Your Cat Room

Super Easy Tips For Making A Small Cat Room Feel Bigger Instantly 

Am I prepared to commit to the long-term care of a cat or kitten?

Adopting a cat or kitten is a decision that comes with long-term responsibilities and commitments. Before bringing a furry friend into your home, it’s essential to consider the impact this commitment will have on your life. Cats can live up to 20 years or more, and providing for their well-being throughout their entire lives requires dedication, time, and financial responsibility.

Understanding the Longevity of Cat Companionship

When adopting a cat or kitten, it’s crucial to realize that this is not just a short-term arrangement. These delightful creatures become beloved family members, and their companionship can last for decades. Are you ready for the journey of being a loving and responsible cat owner for many years to come?

Time and Attention

Cats, like all pets, need care, love, and attention. They are social animals that thrive on companionship. Spending quality time with your feline friend helps strengthen your bond and ensures their emotional well-being. Whether it’s playing, grooming, or simply cuddling on the couch, your cat will cherish the time you invest in them.

Financial Considerations

Owning a cat or kitten involves financial commitments. You’ll need to budget for regular expenses such as high-quality pet food, litter, toys, and regular veterinary check-ups. Additionally, unexpected medical expenses may arise, especially as your cat gets older. Being financially prepared to meet their needs is essential for providing the best care possible.

Stability and Life Changes

Consider your current life situation and any potential changes that may occur in the future. Cats are creatures of habit and prefer stable environments. Moving to a new home or experiencing significant life changes can be stressful for them. Ensure you are prepared to provide a stable and secure home for your furry companion.

The Journey of Growing Old Together

Caring for a cat or kitten through their various life stages can be incredibly rewarding. Watching them grow from a playful and curious kitten to a wise and affectionate senior cat is a unique and heartwarming experience. Are you ready to be there for them through every phase of their life, offering love and support along the way?

The decision to adopt a cat or kitten should not be taken lightly. It requires careful consideration and a genuine commitment to providing a loving and stable home for your feline friend throughout their lifetime. From dedicating time and attention to ensuring their health and well-being, being a responsible cat owner brings immense joy and fulfillment. If you feel prepared for the long-term commitment, adopting a cat or kitten can be one of the most rewarding experiences, enriching both your life and the life of your new furry companion.

What is my budget for pet care?

Adopting a cat or kitten is a big financial commitment. You need to consider the costs of pet food, litter, vet visits, and other necessary supplies. 

Cat SuppliesEstimated Cost
Cat Food$20 – $50 per month
Litter Box and Scoop$20 – $40
Cat Litter$10 – $20 per month
Food and Water Bowls$10 – $20
Collar and ID Tag$10 – $20
Cat Carrier$30 – $50
Veterinary Check-ups$50 – $100 per visit
Vaccinations$50 – $100 per set
Flea and Tick Prevention$15 – $30 per month
Deworming Medication$10 – $20 per treatment
Toys and Enrichment
Interactive Toys$5 – $20 per toy
Cat Scratching Post$20 – $50
Catnip Toys$5 – $15 per toy
Grooming Supplies
Cat Brush or Comb$10 – $20
Nail Clippers or Grinder$10 – $30
Optional Comfort Items
Cat Bed$20 – $50
Cat Tree or Condo$50 – $150+
Window Perch or Hammock$20 – $40
Training Treats$5 – $10 per pack
LitterLiners (if applicable)$5 – $10 per pack
Emergency Fund$100
Pet Emergency SavingsVaries

Note: The costs provided above are estimated ranges and can vary based on factors such as the quality of the products, your location, and your cat’s specific needs. Additionally, initial costs may be higher due to one-time purchases like a litter box and carrier, while ongoing expenses, such as food and litter, will require regular budgeting.

When planning your budget for pet care, it’s essential to consider not only the initial setup costs but also the ongoing expenses associated with cat ownership. Having an emergency fund for unexpected medical expenses is also recommended to ensure you can provide your new kitten or cat with the best care possible.

Do I have the time to provide adequate care and attention?

Cats need a lot of love and attention. Be honest with yourself about how much time you can devote to your cat or kitten each day. 

How much daily activity is ideal for me and my cat?

Different cats require different levels of activity. Consider your own activity level and the activity level that you hope to provide your pet with. 

What type of cat would fit best with my lifestyle?

Consider the personalities of different breeds and types of cats and decide which one would be the best fit for you and your lifestyle.

Choosing the Perfect Cat: Finding the Feline Companion that Matches Your Lifestyle

Deciding to bring a new cat into your life is an exciting and life-changing decision. However, with so many cat breeds and personalities to choose from, finding the feline companion that fits best with your lifestyle can be a rewarding yet challenging task. To ensure a harmonious and fulfilling relationship, consider the following factors when determining the type of cat that would be the perfect match for your unique lifestyle.

1. Activity Level:

Evaluate your activity level and energy level as well as the amount of time you can dedicate to interacting with your cat. If you have an active and outgoing lifestyle, a playful and energetic breed, such as a Bengal or Siamese, may be a good match. On the other hand, if you prefer a more relaxed and laid-back lifestyle, a breed like a British Shorthair or Ragdoll, known for their calm demeanor, might be a better fit.

Why Are Siamese Cats So Vocal? Unpacking The Furry Details

Understanding The Unique Health Needs Of Siamese Cats 

The Benefits of Regular Veterinary Checkups for Siamese Cats 

The Ultimate Do Siamese Cats Make Good Pets Guide

2. Living Space:

Consider the size of your living space and whether it is suitable for a particular cat breed. Some breeds, like Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest Cats, are larger and may require more space to roam and play comfortably. Others, such as the Singapura or the Scottish Fold, are more compact and adaptable to smaller living environments.

3. Allergies:

If you or someone in your household has allergies, it’s essential to choose a cat breed that is less likely to trigger allergic reactions. Breeds with minimal shedding, like the Sphynx or the Russian Blue, are often more suitable for people with allergies.

Top Cat Breeds for Allergic People

Cat Allergies: Can You Live With Cats If You Are Allergic?

A Look At How Pet Air Purifiers Can Help Any Cat Or Dog Owner Control Dander And Minimize Allergies

How to Reduce Cat Dander

 Best Grooming Brushes For Luscious Locks Of Long-Haired Cats

4. Time and Attention:

Consider how much time you can devote to caring for and interacting with your cat. Some breeds, like the Abyssinian or the Bengal, thrive on human interaction and may require more attention and playtime. Others, like the Persian or the British Shorthair, are more independent and can tolerate periods of solitude.

5. Grooming Needs:

Different cat breeds have varying grooming requirements. Long-haired breeds, such as the Maine Coon or the Persian, may need more frequent grooming to prevent matting and tangles. Short-haired breeds, like the American Shorthair or the Burmese, require less grooming maintenance.

Finding the perfect cat that fits best with your lifestyle is a journey of understanding and consideration. Each cat breed comes with its unique characteristics and temperaments, and finding the right match ensures a harmonious and joyful relationship. Take the time to assess your activity level, living space, allergies, and the amount of time you can devote to your feline companion. Whether you prefer an energetic and playful breed or a more relaxed and independent one, there’s a cat out there that will complement and enhance your lifestyle, bringing immeasurable joy and companionship into your life.

What type of personality do I prefer?

Some cats are more social and outgoing, while some are more shy and reclusive. Think about which type of personality you prefer and look for a cat that matches it. 

RELEVANT: The Charming Personality Of The Maine Coon Cat

What kind of cat can I manage?

Different cats require different levels of grooming, exercise, and playtime. Consider your own skills and abilities when it comes to managing your pet. 

Are there any other members of my family who will be interacting with the cat?

If there are other people living in your home, it is important to make sure they are comfortable with the idea of a cat or kitten before making a decision.

Is anyone in my home allergic?

This is a big one. Be sure you don’t get your cat home just to find out your son or daughter is allergic. Let everyone visit with the cat ahead of time and see if anyone has break-outs or asthma triggers due to the cat’s dander.

RELEVANT: Cat Allergies: Can You Live With Cats If You Are Allergic?

Guide to Adopting a Cat: Where can I adopt a cat or kitten?

If you’re new to cat adoption, there are numerous places you can go to find your new feline friend. Rescue groups, shelters, breeders, classifieds, and other resources will help you.

Even a simple search online will offer many places of opportunity for adopting a cat. Each outlet has its red flags, but many offer more benefits than anything.

  • Breeders: If you want a cat that is purebred and comes with papers and long and potentially exhaustive bloodline, then a breeder is a fantastic choice to get your cat. A good breeder will interview you to make sure the cat is going to a right home, and you may have to sign a contract.

  • Shelters: From adult cats to even a new kitten, shelters are a great place to rescue your pet. Plus, many volunteers can also give you insight into any personality quirks. Many shelters are kill shelters meaning if an animal isn’t rescued within a specific time, it may be put down. That’s why rescuing an animal from a shelter is so important. You’re saving a life on top of getting a new pet.

  • Rescue Groups: These groups fall into organizations that don’t have a building but work by placing animals in foster care until a permanent home is found.

  • Internet: Many shelters and breeders have websites that are only a click away. Many organizations can help you find the right cat in your area or within a reasonable driving distance that may be a state away.

  • Newspapers or Classifieds: While this may sound relatively archaic in today’s digital world, the classified section is still perfect for finding a new job, car, and even a new pet! If you do go this route, be careful of scams and ask the owner for any vet records and vaccinations.

  • Pet Stores: Known more for puppy mills, pet stores are more concerned about money over the health and well-being of the animals they sell. Kitten mills are a real thing, and many pet stores have moved away from this practice and become off-site adoption agencies for shelters and other animal organizations. If a shelter makes you hesitate, then a pet store that offers shelter animals may be a viable alternative.

  • Strays: Unfortunately, there is no shortage of animals being left on the side of the road, our dumped in rural areas. Cats are abundant and can suffer from horrible owners. While you’re searching for that perfect cat, you may find that one has already chosen you as its new human. These cats are more than grateful to have shelter, and regular meals plus saving an animal from the street brings a host of rewards of its own.

As you adopt a cat or rescue it from his less than stellar surroundings, keep your eye out for kitten mills and potential online scams.

Also, rescuing a cat from a shelter is a fulfilling and heart-warming experience. It’ll become one of those moments that stand in your memory forever as you’ve saved a life.

Cat adoption, who saved who?

You may come to realize that the cat has saved your life as well. Many new cat owners report of being rescued emotionally from trauma, loss of a loved one or just loneliness. There is even evidence to report cat owners dealing with Covid-19 much better due to having a cat companion. Pet adoption is definitely a two-way street.

Adopting a cat from a shelter can have it’s challenges, many animals wind up at the SPCA or rescues due to unfortunate circumstances. Re-homing your new pet will take time and patience so preparing mentally to be patient and thoughtful is important.

There is also the genetic legacy of the cat to consider, as you won’t know what can or could happen in the future.

While legitimate breeders may cost more, you’ll have a thorough history to rely on, which will help you make the right decision in any vet care. That being said, many cat breeds have physical ailments due to over-breeding.

Should my cat be indoor or outdoor?

An indoor cat can live an average of 12-18 years, sometimes more. An outdoor cat has a shorter life expectancy of 4-5 years. This is usually due to being hit by a car, dog bites, and nature can be unforgiving. Indoor cats might have more behavioral issues you’ll have to deal with. This stems from boredom and lack of exercise so investing in cat products that encourage playtime is essential.

A cat wheel can be a great way to keep your kitty indoor and safe while giving her lots of exercise.

Either way, adopting a cat can be a rewarding experience and bring joy to your life. While no cat is going to be perfect, your new feline companion will be perfect for you.

Now that you have chosen to adopt a cat, the hardest part is choosing his name!

Lisa Illman

Lisa Illman


Lisa is the Founder of Kritter Kommunity and the Inventor of the Kritter Kondo, an outdoor portable catio. She also designed the Pet Lodge, an outdoor pet pen for traveling cats and dogs. Lisa writes for Kritter Kommunity frequently and is also a regular contributor at Catington Post. Lisa is owned by her Tuxedo male cat Finnegan who also has his own Facebook page.

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