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Cats may be mysterious but adopting one doesn’t have to be.
But before you do, there’s a few things you should know in general about felines. There are many ways to bring a cat into your household: you can adopt one from a humane society or animal rescue organization, take in a kitten from someone whose cat has had a litter or bring in a friendly stray.
The difference between stray and feral
A stray cat has lived indoors and was socialized to people at some point. It has become lost or abandoned and no longer has regular human contact. A stray may be socialized enough to be touched and often lives near people – under porches or garages for example. These cats can become feral if they spend too much time without human interaction, but they can also become a pet again, after a period of being able to re-acclimate.
Feral cats have had minimal contact with humans. They have not lived as domestic animals, are fearful of people and survive on their own outdoors. Essentially wild animals, they will never become a lap cat.
If a feral cat has been spayed/neutered and released, a small piece of their ear was likely “tipped” at the time to identify it has been done. They normally have a caregiver (someone leaving out food and water) and are living outside because that’s where they’re comfortable. These cats should not be trapped and brought to a humane society unless they are sick or injured.
Feral kittens – especially those less than 8 weeks old – can often be socialized and successfully adopted.
Tips on caring for a new cat
Once you have decided on your future feline and where to adopt it from, the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society and other pet experts offer this advice:
It’s important to remember cats – especially indoor ones – can live long lives. Paying for their care can get expensive but insurance can help. Spot Pet Insurance, for example, can reimburse you for vet bills covering things such as accidents, toxic ingestions, hereditary conditions, behavioral issues and illnesses such as cancer or diabetes. Their Advanced Wellness plan also help owners with the cost of annual exams, dental care and flea prevention.
Give your feline their best chance at nine lives!