Once you've decided that you really want a cat, it's time to ask yourself if you will be letting the cat outside. Will the cat be an outside cat, indoor only, or an indoor/outdoor cat? Consider what will be best for the cat, and what you believe the cat would want the most.
You must also decide whether you want a cat or kitten. If you want to raise your cat, and have it grow up in your care, then you will want a kitten. They may need more training than adult cats. Kittens are more likely to be attached to you, as they will be growing up around you, and will know you all of their lives. When you adopt a kitten instead of an adult cat, it may be less likely to run away if you are letting it outdoors, as it doesn't have past homes to go to.
Adult cats can make great pets as well. They are more likely to be docile, and not as playful as a kitten. Adult cats can also be very playful. Past experiences may have made them attached to someone or something, making adult cats more likely to run away than kittens. Remember, as you are considering these two options, think about what will be best for you and your situation.
You've made your decision, and decided that it's time for you to get a cat. It is now time to prepare yourself and your home for your new kitty.
Cats are easy to care for. Their maintenance can cost from around 100-800 dollars a year. The yearly cost for Wessie is around 148 dollars. The way to keep costs down is to make your own cat toys, don't buy too many cat treats, and use old containers that you have around for cat food and water dishes. There are many ideas for keeping your cat care budget low. Outdoor cats also cost less, as they don't use very much litter.
You are going to have to feed your cat daily. It is best to give them measured food, as opposed to free feeding, to prevent your cat becoming overweight. You will also need to scoop your cat's litter daily, and change it at least once a week. Make sure that your cat has a clean bowl of water available at all times. You should also play with your cat daily. This will prevent it from becoming overweight, and will keep it healthy.
You know how to care for your new cat, so now it is time to prepare your home. Make sure that there is a safe and preferably small room that you can keep your cat in as he adjusts to his new home. Scan the room with your eyes. Do you see anything potentially dangerous for a cat? Strings dangling? Small things that the cat could play with, and choke on? If you don't see any of these things, get down on your hands and knees, and look around. Pick up anything that you wouldn't want near your new cat. Look around your whole house, and make sure that it is cat proof.
When you know that is safe for your kitty, it is time to get your supplies. First of all, you may want a cat toy so that you can give your cat exercise and supply him with play. You can even make your own handmade cat toys! Here's a link to my "how to make cat toys" page, which features a couple of easy toys to make. How to Make Your Own Cat Toys
You will also want to purchase a cat carrier. I use a Petmate pet taxi for Wessie's transportation. You'll want the carrier early so that you can take your new pet home from the adoption facility.
When you are at the adoption facility, look around. What cat or kitten catches your eye? If none do, then maybe your purrfect cat isn't there. It's important that you aren't just choosing the cat for its looks. The cat should be what you want, and have a good purrsonality. You and the cat/kitten should get along right off.
Once you have chosen your cat, ask to see it out of the cage. This is important, because if you really want a lap cat, you may discover that the cat you chose hates to be touched. When I took Wessie out of the cage, I discovered that he didn't like to be held. This trait has stayed with him all his life, and it is only once in a while that he actually sits on my lap.
Once you've held the cat, you have to find out if it's healthy. Don't solely rely on a staff member, rely on your own good judgment. Check in the cat's ears, eyes, and nose. If all of these places seem free of mucus, then the cat is probably healthy. Ask about the cats medical records. Make sure that it has had rabies vaccinations if you are planning on letting the cat outside. This is especially important if you live somewhere where there are a lot of rabies carrying animals, such as raccoons.
If you are fully satisfied with the cat, it is time to adopt. There are usually some papers that you will have to fill out. The adoption fees for cats vary, depending on where you are adopting your cat. Once you go through the adoption process, it is time to take the cat home with you.
Have fun with your new friend, treasure your new pet, and take good care of him!