There are couple of things which make this blog relevant to readers. Firstly, in November we begin to think about Christmas and what presents we can potentially buy for friends and family. There is also 'National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week', an opportunity to support the wonderful work that local shelters provide to unloved and uncared for animals. Finally, this November also saw the launch of the film release of 'A Street Cat Named Bob', a heart-warming and true story about homeless busker James Bowen and the relationship he strikes up with Bob, a stray cat.
There is an opportunity to adopt a pet at any time of year, but as a trained vet, I'm cautious to remind readers of the commitment and costs of buying or adopting around Christmas. I thought it would be good to note things you should consider if you are considering adopting a cat. There's many things you need to consider and not just costs. Owning a cat is a 10 to 15 year commitment, it is not a decision to be taken lightly!
Here's what to know:
• Affordability: Firstly, can you afford to have a cat? Research shows that depending on size and breed, a cat can cost up to £17,000 in its lifetime. Owners need to consider everything from food, medical care and insurance.
• Housing: Do you live in an appropriate surroundings? Cats may not need as much space as a large dog but they do like safe spots and hiding places, as well as access to outside space. A top floor flat may not be suitable.
• Lifestyle: What does the family think? It's a big decision and everyone needs to be involved. Also, remember that cats are sociable animals. Will there be someone around to play with your new pet regularly?
• Type: Kittens can be adorable but require an owner who's prepared to look after them from an early age. Adult and mature cats are great alternatives for people who wish to have a cat who is toilet trained, well-behaved and already has a routine.
• Where do I adopt? Check online to find your local pet shelter. They are a great place to find a cat to re-home. Be cautious of kitten and puppy farms, whether it be an individual or kennels, however, as the animals may have been illegally trafficked and therefore may have health issues that owners will be unaware of.
Every pet deserves a loving home and unfortunately owners can sometimes fail to understand the costs and commitment of owning a pet, which can result in them being abandoned or placed with already pressurised animal shelters.
Adopting a pet is a commitment for life and should not be underestimated. If you're considering doing this, speak to friends and family who already have a pet, consult online and seek advice from your local vet. If you decide to go ahead, please visit your local animal shelter, do your homework beforehand and make sure you ask the right questions about the cat's heritage and background, and any particular needs it might have.