Thinking there may be room in your life for a new, furry friend? Animal activist Lisa Hill, president and co-founder of Royal Oak’s New Beginnings Animal Rescue (NBAR), spoke with Hour Detroit on how to make a rescue cat a true love connection. Overall, she says, cats are easy pets to care for and adore. “What I love most about rescue, in general, is that I get to watch people fall in love every day. And it’s amazing.” Visit nbarmichigan.org for more information on her rescue, and read below for her advice
Select Your Shelter Wisely
First, it’s important to choose a shelter that’s given your kitty lots of love. Look for no-kill organizations, like NBAR, that focus on each individual cat’s needs and personality. It’s wise to take home an animal who’s fully vetted: vaccinated, fixed, microchipped, flea treated, and checked for diseases. Hill says NBAR provides this because she wants new pet owners to be able to simply go home and bond with their new friend.
Consider Your Lifestyle
Like people, cats have specific personalities. With a 15 to 18-year lifespan, it’s important to pick a cat who truly fits your lifestyle. If you’re simply looking for a cool roommate, Hill says to choose an independent adult cat. On the other hand, if you’re new to living alone, or you’re looking for someone to snuggle and watch movies with, go for what Hill calls a more affectionate “Velcro kitty.” Either way, have an open mind to allow experts to help you choose what type of cat makes sense for you.
Bond Over Food
As for food, Hill says cats tend to be dehydrated. To help with this, she recommends wet food with its high water-content once or twice a day. Whether it’s a pate loaf or extra gravy, your kitty will certainly let you know what it prefers. As for bonding, Hill says, if you offer up a little turkey lunchmeat, you’ll have a friend for life.
Provide Safe Spaces
For the first week or so, keep your cat in a closed bedroom, bathroom, or laundry room when you aren’t at home. Cats like to curl up in small spaces, Hill says, and can be a little nervous in a new environment. It’s best to have a contained area where they can be easily found and where they won’t feel overwhelmed. As they get more comfortable, they’ll do more exploring.
With research — through organizations like The Paw Project — Hill believes you’ll find how unnecessary declawing is. In agreement, the state of New York is poised to be the first state in the nation to ban cat declawing, which many animal rights activists say is inhumane. A scratching post is the No. 1 item for cat homes, Hill says. If your cat goes after a piece of furniture, put a post next to it. “You always want to give them the option to do the right thing,” she says. If your health needs require a declawed cat, adopt one that has already had this done.
As far as toys go, anything that moves, makes noise, and allows cats to pounce, stalk, and play is perfect. Hill says her cats are happy batting a balled-up piece of paper and love to crawl into leftover Amazon boxes. Toys containing catnip, a natural herb, make some kitties playful and excited and others happy and relaxed.
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