Shelters today are loaded with unwanted pets, waiting for someone to come and adopt them. This is a great place for busy professionals to find a wonderful pet, displaced by the death of a family member, abuse or other unfortunate means. By choosing an adult cat, busy people can rest assured that once acclimated to his new home, kitty will fit right into the family. What is needed from you is love, caring, food and to change his litter box. Working late into the night, don't be surprised if you have a furry friend curl up on your feet. Cats are very loving and affectionate, given kindness and caring. Even the most confirmed pet hater can usually be turned around once he or she gets to know a cat well.
When going to the pound or local Humane Society, ask to see the cats that are in most dire need of homes first. When pets go into these places, they either get adopted or, if nobody claims them, eventually euthanized (unless it is a "no-kill" agency.) Find out which pets have been there the longest from the organization, and see which one suits your needs. Do you like energetic, lively pets? Choose one who is personable, who comes to you quickly and is very friendly. Do you like a more laid-back, quiet pet who will seek you out on his own terms? Choose a more aloof cat, who will come to you if he feels like it. Like people, pets have different personalities. Like us, how they respond to us is a combination of how they were previously treated, natural personality and response to the current situation that they are in. If you are in a place, like the hospital, that you don't like, your personality may be a bit stressed. This is to be expected of a cat sitting in a cage, in a strange place he doesn't want to be in. Cats are creatures of habit. They like being in one place, and not being moved around. They like familiarity and routine.
Realize that in adopting a cat, you must provide for the kitty's health needs. Keeping the cat indoors is a good idea; to keep away extra problems, such as disease, fleas, injury by cars or dogs, and other hazards. My three cats live exclusively indoors, and they love it. Don't feel sorry for indoor pets; having a home, any home away from the barred cages of a shelter, or the unknown of being outside in the elements, is a good home. By adopting a pet from a shelter or off the street, you are saving a little life, as well as giving yourself companionship. Even if you are busy like I am, it is OK to let them entertain themselves.
I read somewhere that cats sleep 80% of each day. That is normal for them. They aren't lazy, it's just the way that they are genetically predisposed to be. Watching the different sleeping positions of my cats is just plain funny, as I work from home. I am a workaholic with limited time. My pets come and see me when I'm off the phone or not otherwise occupied. Somehow they do know when I'm not busy. It isn't unusual for one of them to come suntan under my desk lamp as I work. It is charming and comforting to reach out and pet a peaceful cat, smiling as he sun-worships. Watching this has a way of melting stress like you wouldn't believe.
To help yourself out, buy a few things that will make your life as a new pet owner easier. A great tool for busy pet owners is the LeBistro Pet Water or Food Dish. I have one of both, for my cats, so they can feed themselves as I work. At the end of the day, I feed them a can of cat food, but their tummies are full from being able to help themselves to dry food all day long. One of my cats takes ownership of the water dish, and will come from any part of the house to watch me clean it, to make sure it isn't being manhandled! Also, a laser pointer is a fun toy you can use from your desk as you work, to give kitty a little fun as you're hunched over your computer. A good catnip toy or mat is always a well-appreciated cat gift, too. Being a workaholic, I work hard but also spoil my cats rotten with a gift or two every month, just for fun. It's payback for their providing me with unlimited stress-relief as I work.
A kitty condo is a good investment for a new cat owner. Just put it next to a window, so kitty can watch birds. If your adult cat is older, make sure it has a ramp to climb up the condo with. There are different foam steps you can buy for older pets, so they don't have to wear themselves out jumping on higher surfaces like the upper levels of cat trees. Cats like to be up high, so cat trees that are tall make great cat hangouts. Cats know when that condo comes out of the box, that it is for them. Maybe it's instinct. Condos help keep cat hair off the furniture, since your cat will usually spend most of his time on top of it. Put a little catnip on it from the beginning, and he'll get the idea quickly that this piece of furniture is his.
Animals add so much to our lives. Cats make great pets because they are loving, don't cost much to feed and don't need to be walked every day. Consider adopting an adult cat today from your local pound and add some fun into your life. You'll be doing him, and yourself a big favor.
Carolyn McFann is a scientific and nature illustrator, who owns Two Purring Cats Design Studio, which can be seen at: http://www.zazzle.com/twopurringcats Educated at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, Carolyn is a seasoned, well-traveled artist, writer and photographer. She has lived and worked in Cancun, Mexico, among other interesting professional assignments in other countries. Clients include nature parks, museums, scientists, corporations and private owners. She has been the subject of tv interviews, articles for newspapers and other popular media venues.