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Adopting a Cat? What You Need to Know

There are many unwanted pets in the United States. Each year, there are about 1.6 million dogs and cats euthanized (670,000 dogs and 870,000 cats) simply because they have no one to take care of them. There are about 6.5 million cats, dogs, and other pets that enter shelters every year that need good homes. And this is just in the United States. The numbers worldwide would be staggering most likely if they existed.

New Market Animal Hospital offers the best care for cats and dogs. We offer preventive pet services, as well as more advanced veterinary services, such as when you need an emergency vet. From diagnostics to surgery and vaccinations, we’ve got all of your veterinary needs covered for your pets. Below, we’ll dive into everything you need to know when you adopt a cat. Contact us today for your first cat appointment!


Buy Cat Supplies Ahead of Time

Your cat will be stressed from the moment it is put in the cat carrier at your local shelter. You want to get your new cat to your home as quickly as possible so stopping to pick up cat supplies on the way home will not be good for your kitty. Instead, prepare ahead of time by buying a small bag of cat food (in case your kitty has a special diet), a cat litter box and cat litter, cat bowls, a cat brush, and maybe a few toys. Cats need to wear down their claws regularly so investing in a scratching post is a great idea. Also, cats love to climb and sit in high places out of the way and watch everything and everyone. Investing in a cat tree, if you can, will do wonders to give your cat a place all their own.

Your Cat Will Be Stressed

Unlike dogs, cats get very stressed when you take them out of their familiar environment. This is because they are very territorial (did you know that the reason cats rub up against you is not because they love you; it’s because they are marking you with scent glands they have on their faces and bodies). They are also very uneasy in new situations. After all, most cats spend the majority of their lives inside one home. They don’t like uncertainty, and having been at a shelter for a period of time, they have become acclimated to that life. New Market Animal Hospital wants you to know that it’s perfectly normal for your cat to meow piteously the entire ride home to your house.

Introduce Your Cat Slowly to Your Home

Your shelter cat has probably been used to a small cage for a while. It’s best to set up a room where your cat can hang out for a few days by itself so it can get used to its new home. Put a cat litter box, food, water, and toys in there, and visit your new cat often. However, let your new feline approach you; don’t force the issue. New Market Animal Hospital recommends choosing a quiet room away from other pets, such as a spare bedroom or even a laundry room.

Your Shelter Cat May Hide From You

Don’t be surprised when you let your new kitty have the run of the house, he or she finds a safe place to hide. Again, your cat is trying to get used to their new environment, and cats do this slowly. Your new cat may not eat much for the first few days. New Market Animal Hospital recommends that you allow your cat the time it needs to feel comfortable. Many people get antsy during this stage. After all, you adopted a new kitty to be with you. Don’t worry; your cat will warm up to you in time.

Cat Proof Your Home

Cats love places to hide; that being said, they can find places like your ductwork and become stuck, requiring a rescue operation to ensue that may even require removing ductwork or worse. Before you bring your shelter cat back home, walk around your home, looking for places your cat might think are great hiding places. Also, cats like to look down on their territory i.e. your home so check the tops of bookshelves and furniture for picture frames, vases, and the like that your new cat might accidentally knock off and break.


After a few days, your curious new feline will begin to explore their new territory. New Market Animal Hospital recommends that you allow your shelter cat to explore at will and on their own. Don’t force them to come to you either or go in different rooms; they will with time. All cats are different. For some, it will only take a few days; for others, it may be weeks.

The good news is that after a few weeks, everyone should be settled, and before you know it, your new feline friend will be a part of the family, and it may even be hard to remember life without them!

Your First Cat Wellness Exam

It’s a good idea after a few weeks to take your new shelter cat to a local vet, such as New Market Animal Hospital. Many shelters have partnered with local vets who offer this first visit for free. At this first veterinary visit, your cat will be given a thorough check-up and wellness exam. The veterinarian will check your cat’s body, teeth, eyes, nose, paws, and more just to make sure your kitty is in good health, or if your cat has an existing condition, to examine that as well. This is your chance to ask your local vet any questions and to bring up any issues you may have noticed within the first few weeks of having your kitty.

Consider Adopting Older Cats

Older cats are the hardest to adopt out and the most likely to be euthanized because they can’t find a home. Older cats, however, are often the best cats. They are already cat litter box trained, and they lie around and sleep for most of the day, making them perfect for working couples or a retired home. Your older cat may still play, but it won’t be as much as a kitten does. Plus, cats live on average of 12-14 years. If you adopt an older cat that is older than 10, you won’t have that many more years with your cat. The advantage of this is that your time commitment to a new pet is minimal; the disadvantage is that you won’t have many years with your kitty, and you’ll have to deal with its death sooner. That being said, when you adopt an older cat, you are most definitely giving them the best final years of their lives. Plus, your life will be the richer for it as well.


By adopting one shelter animal, you are saving it from possible euthanization, but definitely from an unpleasant life. Animals that live on the streets are in very poor condition and have to scrounge for food on a daily basis. Truly, it’s no life for an animal meant to live in a human home. By adopting a shelter cat or dog, you are saving them one at a time.

New Market Animal Hospital is the best local vet. We offer amazing veterinary services to cats and dogs. If you’ve adopted a cat or dog, we’d love to see you. Bring in your new family member for a thorough veterinary evaluation. We can also offer all the advice in the world on cat care, from the best cat food to the best places to scratch your cat.

Welcoming a new member to your family is exciting and fun. Your shelter pet, once acclimated to his or her home, will come to be a happy, purring addition to your family. All cats are unique with quirky personalities. Some will be companion animals with dog-like personalities that will want to sit on your lap all the time, and some will be more aloof, preferring to watch from afar, but then sneaking in bed to sleep with you at night.

New Market Animal Hospital thanks you for adopting a shelter cat. We offer the best in preventative veterinary care, as well as emergency vet care. Call us today to schedule your first wellness visit!