Adopting a Cat

New Pet Owners  •   Pam Karkow  •   Jun 19, 2018

The smoky gray cat followed us as we walked down the sidewalk.  When we turned, he turned with us, and when we were certain he wouldn’t leave our heels, we finally spun our dog around and let the two meet, nose to nose.  They sniffed each other up and down, seeming to say, “Hey, good to make your acquaintance.” And then we were on our way, but not without the charcoal beauty trailing behind.  That cat was our shadow for the entire walk throughout our neighborhood.


I know who this cat belongs to and have heard from others that he is just the friendliest feline.  His sister, not so much.  When she gets a good look at our dog, her back arches up, and she is anything but friendly.  These two cats, and the fact that it is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month, have gotten me thinking, when you’re ready to adopt, how do you make sure you end up with a cat who fits your family, and how do you introduce your new addition to your existing four-legged children?


Let’s start with how to choose a cat.  When adopting from a shelter, you often don’t have many choices, but it can help to know the difference between types of cats.  Here’s what you need to know...


Common house cats average 10-15 pounds and can live up to 16 years.  They only require an annual checkup and are good with kids and other pets.  They love to eat, so make sure to monitor your cat’s diet.  Since a house cat is a combination of a variety of breeds, they come with a variety of temperaments.  Purebred cats, while similar in size, have a shorter life span, averaging 12-15 years.  Every breed has their own distinctive traits, so if you do your research you will know what you’re in for.  If you are looking for a cat who is good with your children, the Birman is first on PetMD’s list of Top Five Calm Cats.  The Birman “loves to love,” won’t run away and hide when company comes, and is receptive to training.  Some breeds need more grooming than others.  For example, long-haired Ragdoll cats need to be brushed every day to avoid matting and hairballs.  Certain breeds are prone to genetic diseases as well, which could drive up the vet bills.


And how to make sure they get along with your other family members?  This can vary, for sure, but the best thing to do is to give your existing animals a lot of grace.  There can be jealousy, anger, and even resentment when a new pet is welcomed into the home, and it will take time for everyone to learn how to coexist.  If you are adopting a kitten, see our post, Tips for Kitten Proofing Your Home.  If it’s an older cat you are bringing home, see our post, Handling Jealousy Among Pets, for tips on keeping jealousy at bay. 


Once you have decided on a new friend, it is important to make and keep vet appointments.  PetPartner’s certificate program can help you out with the expenses associated with adopting.  Newly adopted cats are eligible for 30 days of coverage through PetPartners Insurance.  Learn more about PPI’s coverage by visiting the Insurance Certificate Program page.

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Pam Karkow

About the Author
Pam Karkow

Hi, I'm Pam. List maker, note taker, and avid reader. I'm married to my college sweetheart and we have three amazing kids, all of them boys. We also have one furry child, a golden retriever rescue dog. I have been blogging for PetPartners since 2015, and I love researching and writing tips about how to be a better pet parent. I spend most of my time sharing my adventures at, where I share the ways I am learning to be a better wife and mom--to my two and four-legged children.