Rebecca is a graphic designer and proud cat mom that likes to write . . . sometimes.
Have You Owned a Cat?
If you have never owned a cat before, then you need to go adopt one today! But wait, don't just run out there and pick a random cat because it's cute. There is a lot of thought that goes into picking the perfect feline to suit your home and lifestyle. Cats have needs just like we do.
The first cat you own may not be your soulmate, but I promise you there is a ball of fluff out there for you somewhere. You just need to know how to find it. Once you do, your life will never be the same.
Something to remember when looking for the perfect cat is that just because it's adorable doesn't mean it's a good fit. There are plenty of cats or kittens that I'm sure at first glance you would think, "Aw, look at that cute face," but once you hastily adopt it and go home you realize that cat is a menace to your poor little Maltese.
It is good to adopt from a place/someone who knows what the cat's temperament and dislikes are. Some cats don't get along with dogs or children but then others are completely the opposite and love having all the playmates in the world. Some cats naturally want to spend time outside while others are content with being indoor couch potatoes all day (like my cat).
If the shelter tells you that Jazzy doesn't like kids and he needs a home with just adults, listen to them. Never try to force a cat to accept an environment it deems uncomfortable. If you don't listen and that cat lashes out at your child who may have pulled his tail, then that injury is on you.
So always listen to the advice or read the descriptions of the different fluffy friends you are thinking of adopting. If you don't, then it's pretty obvious that you will not gain the amazing best friend relationship with your cat. If anything you will probably gain resentment.
Adoption Trial Period: My Experience
Every animal shelter I have worked with offers a trial period for you and your new cat. This time is meant for both of you to see if it is going to work out. Normally this is a seven-day trial, but a few places have offered 14 days. This will help you with the anxiety of paying the adoption fee. Yes, you still pay the fee when you adopt, but if during the trial period you don't think the fluff ball is a good fit for you then you get the fee back. This is a great way to find the perfect cat.
A Successful Adoption
The cat that I currently own came from a home that could no longer keep her. Since she came from a home, there was no trial period. Even so, I lucked out and found my perfect kitty soulmate, Bailey. Despite not having a trial period to make sure she would adapt to my husband and me, everything worked out. I could tell within a seven-day period that she was going to be comfortable and be the perfect fit for our family.
A Failed Adoption
A few years later, I tried adopting another cat. This time I did it through a shelter and got a 14-day trial period. The shelter didn't know of any problems this new cat had, but it was easy to tell that she was scared. I took her home and introduced her to Bailey. It was awful. The new cat loved me but hated Bailey and my husband. She bossed poor Bailey around who didn't even know what was happening. It was a massive disaster. I kept the cat for the 14 days but saw no signs that she was going to settle in and make peace. Unfortunately, this meant she had to go back to the shelter, but it was for the best.
You can't upset and upturn the world of your first cat just to adopt another. That will cause high tension and anxiety, which leads to fights.
My Relationship Bliss
Once you find the feline that loves being part of your home that is when the fun begins. Cats are full of personality and have plenty of love to give. Some are low key and lounge most the day, some are clumsy, some have deadly precision when pouncing, some are sassy, etc. There are so many types of cats there is no way to cover them all. So I will give you a look at what my cat and I have developed for a relationship.
The Closed-Door Policy
Bailey HATES closed doors. If there is a closed-door in the house, she has a fit. I'm not completely sure why it makes her uncomfortable but it does. If you're in the bathroom and close the door she will paw at it and cry at you until you open it. Forget ever closing the bedroom door, that is just asking for an earful from her.
Bailey is all about routines. So I decided to honor her kitty wishes and follow those routines because it seems to make her feel at ease and it boosts our relationship.
During mealtimes, she has me walk with her to the tub that holds her food, I scoop some out, and she walks with me back around the counter to place the food in her dish.
Anytime I shower she insists on going into the bathroom to stick her head in the shower so she can watch the water for a few seconds then she takes her head out and allows me to go in.
When I am sitting on the couch she prefers that I sit towards the right and then she'll hop up and pass out on my lap. She rarely will do this with my husband.
At night she only will lay on my right side to sleep. She tried laying on my left once when I first got her and she quickly learned that my husband rolls around a lot. So she smartened up and now uses me as a barrier between her and my husband.
Keeping Up With Bailey
Keeping up with these little routines have built an unbreakable bond between Bailey and me. She is my little fluffy shadow and a complete goofball. Her loyalty towards me is amazing. I suffer from migraines and she can understand that I do not feel well, so she will come over and lay with me. Sometimes she will even wrap herself around my head . . . I'm not sure if she believes she is healing me or not. Ha!
It's Time to Find Your Feline Soulmate
To sum up, just be smart when you are in those beginning stages of finding a new cat. Be mindful of what the cat likes or doesn't like. Never try to force the fluff ball to adapt to a situation that it really is not comfortable with. If you can take advantage of those 7 to 14 day trial periods that shelters offer, they are very helpful.
Once you find that perfect cat, pay attention to what it likes and make sure you honor that. If you do, you can have that amazing best friend relationship that I found with my cat because, in all honesty, I can not imagine what my life will be like when she is gone. She is a solid source of happiness in my life. I hope you all can find that too.
Cheryl on March 14, 2017:
I like the article. Made me think of different pets that our family has had over time. All sure have their own 'personalities'. Glad you have such a good fit for you and Bailey.