Adult cats are often an ideal choice for owners who don’t have the time for an energetic kitten. As adult cats already have established personalities, it’s easier for you to pick the one that will best suit your lifestyle needs.
Choosing an adult cat
Many people prefer to adopt an adult cat. While many pedigree varieties can be acquired from a breeder, there are a number of cats to choose from at animal shelters. Some centres will request a donation to help caring for the animals they have taken in. Most centres like to desex, vaccinate and microchip cats for identification before they are made available. If not, they are likely to ask you to do so as a condition of adoption.
Remember many cats end up at animal welfare and rescue centres for a variety of reasons. The centres should have a fairly good idea of their cats’ nature and background to help you find the right pet.
Before taking on any cat, consider your lifestyle and the environment in which you expect your cat to live.
What do you want from a cat?
Living with pets is usually very good for our physical and emotional health. Cats can provide love and companionship, especially for people living alone.
If you have a strong desire to nurture your new pet, choose a cat that will enjoy nothing more than sitting on your knee for a fuss. For example, a cat that needs medical attention or a long-haired breed that requires regular grooming. An independent ex-feral cat, that prefers being out and about hunting rodents and comes home only at meal times, would be unlikely to fulfil your needs.
What type of environment do you live in?
Do you live on a main road or in a block of flats? If so, an indoor cat would be suitable. Or do you live in a rural location, which may be more appropriate for a free ranging cat, or even a tamed ex-feral? This can help you determine what type of adult cat to get. For instance, cats used to living indoors may hate the insecurity of an unlocked cat flap and will never venture out voluntarily, even if offered an open door to the outside.
How much time do you have?
Our busy lifestyles mean that we are often spending longer hours away from home. Cats are usually able to adapt to this independent way of life, especially if they have access to the outdoors. However, most cats would appreciate the company of another cat to play with while you are away, so think about adopting two cats at the same time - ideally two that already know and like each other. It is best to try and provide feline company for indoor cats, rather than expecting them to be left at home alone most of the time.
Do you have other pets at home?
The domestic cat is a solitary hunter and has therefore often been referred to as a solitary species. However, this is not the case. Many cats can form strong social relationships with other cats as well as people and even with dogs! If you already have a dog, or intend to get one, choose a cat that has already lived happily with one.
Can you afford a cat?
Make sure you consider the full costs of a cat including food, routine veterinary treatment such as vaccinations, worming and annual check ups and insurance. Boarding cattery fees also need to be taken into account if you want to go away. You will also need replace items such as food bowls, beds, litter trays grooming equipment and toys regularly.
Once you have established that you can care for and afford a cat, the fun of choosing a cat
and bringing it home can begin!