Shelters are full of wonderful cats who need loving homes. No matter how tempting it is though, you can’t take them all.

There are many factors to keep in mind before choosing your new feline friend. Here are some things to consider:

  • Consider your needs and expectations. If yours is a full-time working household, a low-key adult is a better choice than a kitten, who will need more time and energy. Will the cat be alone all day? Cats can become bored or depressed when left alone for long periods of time. In this case, consider a bonded pair of cats – cats who are buddies who can keep each other entertained while their owners are away.
  • Is this your first cat? If so, stay away from “excessive” cats – excessively shy, aggressive or demanding—they may be too challenging for your first feline experience. A better bet is the friendly outgoing cat who nuzzles and purrs and interacts with you. This is also a better choice for families with children younger than seven.
  • Do you have other pets? Your new cat must fit in with your other pets. Make sure to introduce them and see if it’s a fit before making a commitment.
  • Do you have children? Children should not chase or corner cats, and both cats and children should be supervised when together. Make sure your house is cat-friendly too – it needs high areas, such as shelves or counters that are inaccessible to children. Baby gates can also help create a safe space for the new cat. You’ll also need room for litter boxes, feeding stations and sleeping areas.
  • Consider a special needs cat—shelters are overflowing with cats, which means many elderly cats or cats with physical or behavioral challenges are the first to be euthanized. These special cats can make wonderful pets, and if you can accommodate their needs, it is well worth the extra effort knowing you’ve saved a cat’s life.

The wide diversity of cats in Pet Supermarket, local shelters and rescue groups ensures that with some patience and thoughtful consideration, you will find a kindred spirit. Many rescue organizations vaccinate, de-worm and test for feline leukemia before allowing cats to be adopted. Some spay/neuter before adoption as well. Ask for specifics on what is included in the adoption package.

Having a cat in your life adds companionship, humor and perspective. A cat can help teach your child responsibility and empathy for others. Once you make the commitment, your cat will enhance your life in ways only a furry feline friend can.