is it safe to adopt a kitten from a shelter? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-04-2005, 02:38 PM Thread Starter
 
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is it safe to adopt a kitten from a shelter?

Is it safe to adopt a kitten from a shelter? How do you know if the kitten is healthy or is happy and doesn't have emotional/behavioral issues?
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-04-2005, 02:42 PM
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Is it safe to adopt a kitten from a breeder? How do you know if the kitten is healthy or is happy and doesn't have emotional/behavioral issues?

Cats that come from shelters are as likely as cats that come from the breeder of having emotional/behavioral issues and of being healthy. It's impossible to know for sure that the cat will have no issues and be completely healthy, no matter where you get it.

The best that you can do is be watchful, no matter where you are adopting, of the animals behavior and appearance when you are in the process of adopting. And even then, the sweetest healthiest cat may be different in your home environment.
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-04-2005, 02:45 PM
 
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You can never be sure - a lot of shelter cats can have such afflictions as ear mites, fleas, worms, flu, etc. However, all these problems are minor in my opinion compared to the love you recieve and the satisfaction of giving a good home to a kitten who really needs it.

There's a ton of cats and kittens who leave shelters perfectly healthy as well. Just make sure you meet your kitten before you commit, to see for yourself that he/she seems normal, playful, confident and healthy-looking. Check the coat for flea dirt, and the ears, nose and eyes for discharge. I always recommend a trip to the vets anyway, wherever you get a cat from.

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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-04-2005, 02:48 PM
 
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Cats in most shelters go through a quarantine period in which vets find out if they have any bad illness.

As to their behavior, if you want a more predictable cat, adopt an adult cat, not a kitten.
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-04-2005, 02:54 PM
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I'd like to second Roberto's advice. Especially since you have three young'uns at home. You'll need to know in advance if the cat will be compatible with small children. Adult cats are great because you know what their personalities are like. Kittens are just babies and their personalities will change as they grow older.
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-04-2005, 03:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitty's Mom
Is it safe to adopt a kitten from a breeder? How do you know if the kitten is healthy or is happy and doesn't have emotional/behavioral issues?

Cats that come from shelters are as likely as cats that come from the breeder of having emotional/behavioral issues and of being healthy. It's impossible to know for sure that the cat will have no issues and be completely healthy, no matter where you get it.

The best that you can do is be watchful, no matter where you are adopting, of the animals behavior and appearance when you are in the process of adopting. And even then, the sweetest healthiest cat may be different in your home environment.
I had been thinking more in terms of long-term illnesses. Things that arrise later without warning. Of course shelter cats are more likely to have things like ear mites, URIs, etc. But all those can be cleared up without long term effects and usually are by the time the cat is available for adoption.
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-04-2005, 03:31 PM
 
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A friend of mine bought a very expensive purebred from a breeder... she has spent so much money on vet bills with all the long term illnesses the cat had that her pet insurance refused to pay out on a few occasions and she ended up having the cat put to sleep because she didn't want her to go through any more pain. This is when the cat was 3 years old and she had followed every word the breeder said, good food, indoor only, regular check ups and grooming etc.

You can't guarantee the long term health of any animal, ourselves included and I don't think that being a shelter cat has much to do with long term illnesses etc. If you do think it will be a problem, ask about the history of the cat, was it given up by a family for some reason or was it abandoned and living outside for quite a while etc... this is more telling as it is more background that matters.

There are perfectly healthy shelter cats that have been given away by their owners because of a death, illness, allergy etc in the home of the owners.
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-04-2005, 03:46 PM
 
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Yes, YES, a thousand times yes!!!!!!!!

I have adopted ALL my animals from shelters or off the streets, and they have all been perdectly healthy...The one cat that was "purchased" for me, by a friend, from someone who had bred their cat, died of FIP at 10 months. My dog, Howie, who was a REAL gamble, because we adopted him (from a shelter) at age 12, and he had some existing conditions (age related), is still going strong and is one of the happiest, healthiest, well trained dogs I know.

Plus, there is nothing like the feeling you get from knowing that you saved the life of an animal that would have been put to death if you hadn't come along.
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-04-2005, 04:04 PM
 
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Well said Ianthe... I never realised Howie was that old... he looks way younger!
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-04-2005, 04:10 PM
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It depends upon the shelter, and how much money they have for vet care and attendants. Look around and ask questions if in doubt. Is everthing clean? Are the cages large enough? What kind of food do they usey?

You would want to look for the same things as you would at a breeder's home. (Of course, at home the kittens can have the run of an entire room--or the whole house, and you can't expect that at a shelter.)

You can check for some things yourself, such as black spots on the skin right above the tail (flea eggs) and black inside the ear (earmite eggs). Of course, you can check how thin or heavy the cat is, too! Good luck! I'm so glad you're getting a shelter cat. As far as worms are concerned, that's not unusual at all. Get the vet check, definitely!




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