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Adopting a cat

I've decided that it's not too soon to start looking for a cat after Magic. I think he'd know that I need a furry friend. After I convince my dad that I should get a cat, I need to know what to look for in regards to and adoption or rescue place. Can someone tell me what the signs are of a a place that values their animals? Also, what places should be avoided? I don't want to endorse someone who isn't kind to the animals they are adopting out.

I apologize if this seems like an obvious question, but sometimes I just miss the obvious.

Look for places in your area online and read their practices and mission statement. Then when you go to check it out in person look at some of the kitties and make sure they have clean food, water, blankets/bedding, and cages as well as no fleas or other visible pests. Also, make sure they have the kitties medical history, age, weight, when they came in, etc in plain site. Those are signs that they cats are generally well cared for.

To be honest, county/city adoption centers are usually the worst. I got my kitty from one and his medical history was unclear, he had TONS of fleas, and was like a wild cat always biting and peeing everywhere. Since then I have found a close by one that is strictly for cats and the place is fantastic.
http://catadoptionteam.org/
Thats the website for it and you can just look around and see some of things that they say/do. It really is an amazing place for the kitties.

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Look at the cats: clear eyes? Good fur? No obvious respiratory problems? Are they lively but friendly? Don't be afraid to brush their fur back and look for fleas...the first kitten I adopted was crawling with them.

Look at the place: Is it clean? Does it smell clean? Yeah, it may smell of disinfectant, many do, but as long as it doesn't smell of pee and feces or old food. Is there bedding in sight? How clean is it? Do they have food and water, and are the dishes decently clean? Does the food if any look fresh, or has it obviously been sitting around for a long time?

What questions if any do they ask you? Do you sign an adoption agreement, or do they just hand you the animal and goodbye? (In France for example they do ask questions about your lifestyle, how much time you can give to the animal etc. and you do sign a sort of contract, that if you change your mind you will bring the animal back there...and they will check up on you periodically during the first year to make sure people don't just dump an animal they have tired of). Is there any sign that they care about the animal's continued welfare, or do they just want them out of there?

Depending on the cat's age, does it come to you neutered/vaccinated/etc? If it's too young for neutering, do they offer you the service, or tell you where you can go?

A friend of mine always recommends adopting from people with kittens at home, so they don't end up in a shelter (or, locally, in the river). I did this with my second cat, since the first (the one I got from a shelter, full of fleas) was semi-feral. No matter where you end up going, good luck finding your new friend!

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Guess I am the odd man out on this one.  

I wouldn't adopt a kitten from someone who has kittens at home.  It encourages them to be the irresponsible pet owners they are.  As in letting their cat have more kittens.  Many people feel if they find the kittens good homes, they can continue to let their cat breed.  An exception, someone who brought a stray in that was already pregnant but is planing to spay their cat when the kittens are weaned.  

As well, I tend to take in ones that may not be so healthy.  At least my dogs.  Ones no one else will take and don't have a chance for a good life.

There are so many cats in shelters that don't have much of a chance as well because they are a little older.  Not a tiny kitten.  Most people want a kitten or puppy.  

Whatever kitty you decide to choose, it will be one very lucky cat.  One that will be loved for a lifetime.

Good luck in your search for your new fur baby!

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Reading you are willing to open up your heart and adopt a furbaby made me so very happy!  I don't have any real advice for you on where or how to adopt.  I think that depends a lot on you. 

My furbaby was a rescue.  She was going to be put down....out of her misery...when I spoke up and said I wanted her.  She had a slew of health problems so many that I wound up spending well over $1500 on vet visits the first month.  Unless you are really committed though I wouldn't recommend this route.  I was lucky at the time to be able to afford all the treatments.  Happily now though she is a healthy old lady...if a bit cantakerous at times but we all have are days don't we?

Back to the topic though...I don't know about your area but around here there are many older cats whos previous companions have either passed away or can no longer care for themselves or an animal anymore.  Nothing wrong with thethe cats...just a bit older and not as 'cute' as kittens are.  Still they need love and are willing to love back given the chance.  So I hope you might consider an older kitty friend. 

I'll be really happy for you whatever you decide though.....and oh you know you have to post pictures!

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Things that a "good" rescue/shelter should do:

1) All of the animals should be spayed/neutered before they go home.  Even kittens.  Early spay/neuter is becoming more accepted in the vet world and they actually recover much more quickly than adult cats, so  all the animals should be altered before going home.

2) All should have their standard vaccines and should be tested for FeLV/FIV.  They should also have had proper vet care for any infections/ailments.

3) Not really a necessity, but definitely should be done:  microchipping.  Make sure to ask if they will register the chip for you or if you need to call the company yourself.  It varies by rescue.

4) They take their animals back if their adoptive family can't keep them.  Every shelter should have this policy--they should know who the animal is with. 

5) Have you fill out an application and not just take the animal.  Ideally, they should also call a reference or two, but I know that most county shelters don't do this (mainly something that private rescue groups do). 

Other things to consider:

1) While you may be more persuaded to adopt from a no-kill, adopting from a "kill" shelter (i.e. open admission) is still saving an animal.  I don't think it matters what kind of facility you are supporting as long as they are properly caring for their animals.  They all need homes.

2) Kittens get adopted super quickly, so if you aren't set on adopting a kitten, consider an adult cat.  One of my cats was adopted as a kitten and the other two were adult strays that we took in.  They have all made wonderful companions.  Our dog we just adopted in January is about 4-5 years old and she is a wonderful dog.

Where to look:

PetFinder.com is probably the easiest.  Most shelters and rescues use it and you can type in your zipcode and what type/age/sex for the animal you are looking for.  Then you can research the individual rescues from there. 

Zootoo.com is another option, and you can read reviews on shelters that are registered on there.  Not all shelters/rescues are on there and not all have extensive reviews, but if you live in a bigger area, you'll likely be able to find good info on there.

Good luck and thanks for making a home for a homeless feline :)  Of course, you are now obligated to post pictures once you find a new buddy ;)

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KB, petfinder is soooo getting me in trouble. There are so many deserving kitties!

After talking with my dad about getting a cat, he said that any cat that I got would need do be declawed (because our other cat is and it wouldn't be fair, blah, blah..). He also said I would have to get a job to pay for the declawing. So on Petfinder I searched for declawed cats, because getting a kitten isn't so important to me. I think I found one. He's declawed in all 4 feet (what were they thinking?!?). He's vaccinated. The only drawback is that he's in ALABAMA. According to Google, it would only take me 2 1/2 hours on the road to go visit him. I might email the shelter about him to see if he's worth it.

http://www.petfinder.com/petnote/displaypet.cgi?petid=13395916

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According to Google, it would only take me 2 1/2 hours on the road to go visit him.

In 2 CDs you'll be there- go for it!
:)

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Though city shelters typically aren't as good about all the procedures as private shelters, since most (except SF?) do euthanize, maybe it's better to get a kitty from there anyway, to spare a life? There's sort of a difficult decision - if you adopt from a shelter that euthanizes, you may be saving a life (but at the same time paying $$ to a place that does it), but if you adopt from a no-kill, you're adopting an animal who would never be euthanized anyway. Also, there's some debate about the quality of conditions at no-kill places (since they either run out of room and turn down new animals or they take on too many than they can adequately care for).

Also, there's some evidence that microchips may (somehow!) increase cancer rates (though the particular study was kind of flawed... they used mice who were pretty inherently prone to cancer, regardless of what you put under their skin). But, still, something to think about. I think the AVMA released a statement a while back that there needs to be more research about that, but for the time being they think the benefit outweighs the cost.
I wonder what kind of radiation the scanner uses. Maybe that's the cause? (not just the chip's presence, but the action when scanned)

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Oh, Lewie is a very handsome gentleman!  I think a road trip is in order...just my opinion.  I mean if the weather is good and the music is fine....what the hell?

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Lewie is beautiful.  I so hate de-clawing.  I worked for a couple of vets and they all hated de-clawing as well.  My parents first two cats were de-clawed (my cats too as I lived at home and brought both strays home, not my choice for the de-clawing).  They got along just fine with my clawed cats later on.  

Lewie needs a home.  You would be a perfect mom for him.  I say, go for it!

Another thing someone mentioned. Bringing home a neutered kitten if you go the kitten route.  This has nothing to do what you said.  Just thinking out loud about the other post.  The vets I worked for and the vets I go to all do not believe in neutering kittens/puppies.  Neither do I.  They should get to develop before neutering.  The perfect age for a female is before the first heat.  Five to five and a half months, a male. 7 to 9 months.  

My personal opinion is that it is wrong to neuter a baby.  They should have time to develop. I like the shelters that give you a spay/neuter certificate or make you sing a promissory note that you will have it done and then check on it.  

When I got Cali (dog), she was spayed.  She was 9 months old.  Had she not been, they would have done a home visit to ensure I had it done.  That is if she had been too young to spay before I got her.  She wasn't.  

Lewie is soooooo cute!  

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I'm going to give my dad some cookies and show him Lewie today.

We adopted Magic from the local SPCA when he was a young kitten. He was not neutered, but they made us sign a promisory. We did get him neutered, but my mother neglected to submit the paperwork to the SPCA, and they tried to take her to court because they thought she didn't neuter him.

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I didn't even get to show him Lewie. He changed the conditions on me. I'm never going to get another cat.

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*sigh* Oh the joy of fickle fathers...... :-\ I'm sorry hun. My dad was the same way w/ my sister.....but he did change his mind later. Remember, if he can change his mind this quickly one way, there's the possibility it can change again. Hang in there, and don't give up. Have you talked to your mom about this?

If you feel you NEED a cat to help you get through what life is throwing at you (to me, it sounds like Magic was indeed a life saver that way for you), have a heart to heart with one or both of your parents and tell them in the minute of details what you are going through physically, emotionally, etc and how Magic helped you, and how you know you need another furry to be there for you now as well. If you can't do it in person, write a looong letter. Also tell them how you are aware of the "emotional drain" they are going through and you don't want to be any more of a burden on them, and how you believe/know having a furry will help you to be more "emotionally independent". Because like it or not, parents can't be there for their kids all the time, no matter how much they may want to be. Your new furry is like an "insurance" for your emotional stability.

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I didn't even get to show him Lewie. He changed the conditions on me. I'm never going to get another cat.

Tell him too bad- you already told a bunch of people on Vegweb and got their hopes up!
:'(

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That is totally unfair.  And if he changes his mind I wouldn't say you would have to get another cat that is declawed because the other cat.  We had a cat that we adopted that had already been declawed and brought a companion home for home that had claws.  I don't remember any issues about the one with claws hurting the older cat.

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Bonnie was the first cat my family had when I was a kid. Parents got her two years before I was born. My mum apparently stuck her head round the bathroom door while my dad was taking a bath and said, "Dear, do you like cats?" Him: "Why?" Her: "Because there's a kitten downstairs and we're keeping her."

While I don't recommend you waylay your father in the bath, I do think his mercurial temperament sounds like my dad. Give him some time and leave artfully-arrange pictures of kittens with enormous eyes lying around the house.

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Before, his only condition was that the cat had to be declawed for me to get one before finding a job. Now he says the cat has to be apyed/neutered, vaccinated, declawed, and FREE. And before that, he and my mom have to pay off : brother's wisdom teeth extraction, brother's legal fees, Magic's vet bills, trip to cousin's wedding, and my mom has to stop putting things on her credit card because of all the emergency expenses (brother and Magic). Because that's realistic. My mom doesn't think that it's fair that I have to put off getting a cat because my brother can't pay for things.

You know, I do feel like I need a cat. Emotionally. I've had at least one definite panic attack since Magic died a week ago. In the whole 5 years that I had him, I had one. Before Magic, I had panick attacks all the time. That was in middle school. Now I have bigger things to worry about. I think there's a definite correlation.

Dad's telling me that we still have a cat, Splash. But he's my mother's cat. Yes, he loves me, and yes, he let me sob into his fur when Magic died, but he's not my cat. We don't have that special connection. I love Splash to bits and pieces, but he's my mother's cat.

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The cat has to be declawed???? :-X
I would only consider a cat then that has already been declawed.

I am sorry your Dad is being so harda** about this...

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Things are looking up in my quest for a cat. I got super upset and starting crying. Then my mother asked me what was up, and I spilled out everything that my dad told me about getting a cat. Later they had a discussion about it, rather loudly, and my mom told him that their finances should not come into play for my cat. She also told him that I need a cat to survive. "You think she's been ALRIGHT this past week?!?"

We're going out of town the first week in May, so I've decided to wait until we come home to bring in a new friend. I'm about to shoot off an email about Lewie to see if he'd be right for us. If he's still around in May, then I can go for it. If he's not right, or isn't available, hopefully I can get over it.

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I am glad that you were able to confide in your mother, and that she's supported you so. I hope she continues to do so!

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