Ah, June. The beginning of a new season! The weather is getting warmer, the sun is shining, someone you know is probably getting married…. and cats are mating left and right.
Yup! The end of Spring is when cats are, well, getting busy, which makes June the peak of kitten season. This is also the busiest time of the year for animal shelters, due to this increase of kitten litters.
To help, American Humane founded Adopt-a-Cat Month: an event celebrated by animal lovers every June for the past 45 years. This initiative aims to promote cat adoptions across the U.S. and to highlight the importance of cat spaying and neutering, as this is often the root of the problem.
For most people, the month of June is a time to take a break, slow down and relax by the beach. This year however, things might be a little bit different. You know, with the whole end-of-the-world-pandemic thing. So what better time to welcome a (new) furball into your home than right meow? This article will give you all the good reasons to do so.
Adopt to save a life (or two)
If you’re on Meowtel, chances are you already have a cat. Maybe you love them so much that you decided to make cat sitting your career. Or maybe you were looking for a cat sitter and got distracted and ended up here. Whatever the case may be, you’re probably already in love with these precious furballs. So I’m not going to dive into the very obvious reason for adopting cats: that they’re freaking adorable and loving creatures!
But did you know that each year 3.2 million cats are waiting in shelters to be adopted?1
These facilities often have limited funding and space, making it extremely difficult to care for such a large number (which grows dramatically if you add dogs into the equation). The sad truth is that 70% of them are eventually euthanized. Even sadder, “of the 3 million cats and dogs euthanized in shelters each year, approximately 2.4 million (80%) are healthy and treatable."2
By adopting a kitty, not only you’re saving – or at least majorly improving – a life, you’re also helping out your local animal shelter. Even if you rescue a cat in need from down the block, you’re still contributing to the control of stray cat population. This indirectly benefits animal care organizations, since they won’t have to rescue that one, making way for another cat. So really, you’re saving two lives! Two cats with one stone. Uh, that sounded weird. But you get the point.
Adopt to improve your life
Another reason to consider: cats make for purrfect companions. It’s often said that cats tend to be independent and low-maintenance pets. You won’t need to walk them everyday and your neighbors won’t hate you for all that barking.
Having a feline roommate also comes with bonus health benefits! Yup, being around cats can:
- Lower your risk of heart disease. Cats can transmit their calming energy, making you less prone to strokes and heart attacks.
- Contribute to bone and muscle healing. Their purring is therapeutic, man!
- Relieve stress and anxiety. Hmm, maybe that’s why the internet is so obsessed with them.
Science! So don’t be scared to release your inner cat lady (or gentleman).
Prepare for trouble and make it double
Admit it, you’re itching for a (new) kitty. Great! Now, consider adopting two instead of one! Wow, wow, don’t get all freaked. I’m not suggesting you turn your apartment into a zoo. But having two cats could actually make your life as a cat parent easier.
If you’re adopting a kitten, it’s ideal for them to have a furry playmate because they require a lot of socializing at this stage. This will significantly reduce separation anxiety every time you need to leave the kitty compound.
Oh, but I’m adopting an older fella. Alright. Bringing a pair of cats home will make the transition a lot smoother as they’ll feel safer in their new environment. Many animal shelters will recommend a pair of bonded cats for you to take home. These cats have formed a strong bond and will be able to maintain that friendship in their new furever home.
In honor of Adopt-A-Cat Month, some shelters even have special offers or will waive adoption fees for the month of June! So call your local animal rescue and adopt a cat (or two) right meow.
Bringing your new kitties home
Ready to meowdopt? Fantastic! But hold on. Did you know that black and older cats are statistically the least likely to get adopted? Yet cats see no color or age when they choose their hooman. So why should either be a criterion for us? Try to keep that in mind when choosing your future best furfriend.
Okay no more lectures. So you’ve visited your local shelter and found the one. Now it’s time to bring that furbaby home. As someone who’s taken in many stray cats during my childhood (sorry about those ruined couches mom), I know how stressful this situation can be. Follow this mini checklist to make sure you think of everything.
Step 1: Gather the essentials
- Cat food
- Cat bed
- Cat carrier
- Litter box and litter
- Food and water bowls
- Some old towels (just in case)
- A few stimulating toys (you can even DIY them)
Step 2: Set up a quiet kitty room
Your new rescue might be overwhelmed, stressed or even scared on its first day. This is a big change and we want to make them feel as comfortable as possible. Bring all the essentials in this room and make sure the cat bed feels well protected. Your new kitty might feel the need to hide, so it’s not a bad idea to create a safe spot for them.
Step 3: Cat-proof your house
Make sure to store away any fragile or valuable items so as to avoid the tears later on. There should also be no exposed wires or cables laying around that your cat could bite on. Even items such as hair ties, rubber bands, and plastic grocery bags could wreak mayhem. Stash away, purrlease!
Step 4: Introducing your new cat to other pets/humans
As mentioned above, your new kitty is probably overwhelmed right now. It’s best to remind other family members (especially children) to maintain a calm energy. Let the new cat sniff around and explore the room. Try not to pick up or handle it too much. I know, I know. You can’t wait to grab and squeeze that cutie, but give it some space. If you have other pets, separate them from the new kitty and keep them in nearby rooms so they can sniff each other through the door. For a more in-depth guide, read this article.
Adoption during quarantine?!
In a recent article, we reported some good mews about cat adoptions: animal shelters are seeing a shortage of adoptable pets. This is possibly one of the few non-devastating effects of COVID-19. Due to the pandemic, more people are choosing to cat-dopt or to not rehome their cats as they have more time to take care of them.
Still, animal organizations need our support during these difficult times. While they are considered essential businesses, shelters are finding it hard to remain operational due to a lack of foot traffic, food, and kitty supplies. So, consider helping out by donating supplies, your time, or adopting a “pandemic cat” this June! Just know that you might be put on a waiting list.
Right meow is the purrfect time to bring a (new) kitty into your life! Not only will you be supporting your local animal rescue services, but you’ll be contributing to the control of stray cats. Unable to meowdopt? No worries. You can still support the Adopt-A-Cat Month initiative by making a donation to American Humane’s “Feeding the Hungry” campaign.