According to The Berlin Longevity Institute, cats can add as much as 10 years to their owners' lives. Picking up a cat has a nearly instantaneous calming effect on humans, causing blood pressure to drop and the heart rate to slow.
The estimated population of homeless cats in the United States (70 million) is almost equal to the number of owned cats (75 million).
Throughout the spring and summer, animal shelters throughout the country are inundated with dozens of litters of kittens. Tragically, about 71% of these animals will have to be put to sleep because there are not enough loving homes.
This is why American Humane's Adopt-A-Cat Month was established. Celebrated every June, the tradition promotes cat adoptions from shelters and provides an opportunity to teach the public how to care for their pets responsibly.
According to American Humane, there are a number of things families should consider when choosing to adopt a cat:
Age: While the playful antics of kittens are hard to resist, adult cats are often better suited to families with young children. Mature cats respond better to the clumsy handling of inquisitive toddlers. The ultimate choice when considering the best age of a feline for you is whether your household is ready for a grown-up cat that can turn on occasional playfulness, or the constant playfulness (with regular naps) that kittens are known for.
Number: If you are thinking about adding another cat to your feline fold, it's important to consider the facts about a multi-cat household, including feeding, multiple litter boxes, and most important, whether the cats will get along.
Personality: Be aware that many cats are under a great deal of stress in the shelter environment. A cat's true personality may not come out until he has been in his new home for several weeks. Visit the cat you're interested in several times and read any information available from a previous owner. Generally, kittens should be active and enjoy being handled. And shy cats are best suited to quiet households.
Coat: Decide if you want a long-, medium-, or short-haired cat. The longer the coat, the more brushing that is needed to prevent painful matting.
Nutrition and Health: Good nutrition and regular (at least yearly) vet visits will keep your cat healthy and happy. Keep your cat indoors to prevent her from getting into accidents or fights with other cats. Check your cat for fleas, and make sure the litter box is clean and odor-free. Finally, set aside time every day to play with your loving companion; it is beneficial for you both!
If you decide to adopt a cat:
Get your cat a tag: Animal shelters take in millions of lost cats each year and most are not wearing any identification. Fewer than three out of four lost cats are ever returned to their caregivers. And the ones who are wearing tags are the ones that get home to their families the soonest. Make sure to include your cat's name and your name, address, and phone number on the tag. Even "indoor" cats can slip outside, so make sure she's wearing her tag at all times.
Prepare your house for your new cat or kitten: Adult cats and kittens love to climb and explore. Curiosity need not kill the cat. Be aware of possible hazards. Keep trashcans closed, toilet seat covers down, and cabinets latched. Don't let cords or wires dangle, and cover any floor heating or air vents. Houseplants may be pretty, but many are toxic, so check with your vet for information on cat-friendly indoor plants.
Provide the best care for your new cat: The cat should have bright eyes; clean ears, nose, and teeth; and a shiny coat. A veterinarian should examine your cat as soon as you adopt her, and at least once a year. Provide good nutrition, flea and heartworm control, home dental care, and other preventive care. Make sure her litter box is clean and odor-free. Keep your cat indoors to prevent her from getting into accidents or fights with other cats.
A new cat will provide years of love and happiness to families that give them the same!
Read more about Acquiring a New Cat.