My cat Spike was previously owned, but in good condition. He wasn't shaking or throwing up on the floor or having some kind of a fit. For a cat in an animal shelter he seemed to be in pretty good shape! The animal services people said that he was available for adoption which made me wonder if the other animals in the cages were doomed already.
Adoption is just another word for a cat sale! They didn't want us to think this was a business arrangement, so they dulled the verbiage by telling us we were giving him a new home and a future; even hinting that if we didn't take him, he would be meeting the grim reaper the next day.
First Tip: Know what you're going to be spending and decide if the kitten is worth the money, as well as the cat hair on your new sofa when you get home.
The cat cost me almost $100 before I could even get him into the car, which to my way of thinking, I had just bought a cat. Adoption fees, city license fees and county license fees, worming and a few other medical necessities amounted to $115.00. The coupon they gave me to have him neutered would save me $20.00, but would still cost $30.00.
Any way I looked at this arrangement, we were talking about big money and I hadn't even bought any kitty litter or cat food! I was beginning to wonder if I had been scammed. This kitten certainly didn't look like he was worth a hundred dollars. Also someone obviously of limited intelligence had named this kitten Donnie! I immediately changed his name to Spike, which he seemed to appreciate.
Second Tip: Make sure the cat of your choice is in good mental health. That's right, I said mental health. According to animal experts, cats can stress out and go bonkers just like us humans. I wasn't aware of such a thing when I picked Spike out of the line-up at the shelter, but it could explain why sometimes when he's sleeping he will suddenly sit up and then bolt from his bed like its on fire!
Cat anxiety is evidently a fairly common malady for felines. Spike rarely appears anxious unless one of the raccoons that have invaded the woods in our back yard snarls at him over a bit of his cat food. He almost lost a leg to one of these food bandits a couple of years ago and since then he stays out of their way when they visit his garage at night. Otherwise he seems pretty laid back.
Occasionally he'll scratch the side of our antique couch when we least expect it. I think he's just trying to get attention from us, which he does when my wife grabs the broom and swats him out the door.
I asked a veterinarian about this behavior and he said that Spike was probably suffering some kind of emotional stress. He wrote me a prescription for Valium. He said if he showed any other emotional distress he would increase the dosage. That's all I need; a stoned cat!
Tip Three: Physical Health: Although it's impossible to tell just how healthy the cat you're interested in buying is, you have to hope that it's good enough to qualify him for health insurance. Spike appeared to be healthy when I bought him so I thought I wouldn't have to spend much money on his up-keep.
Then the raccoons and monstrous veterinarian bills arrived. After one of them chewed on his leg in a dispute over Meow Mix, I discovered that having a little insurance was probably a good thing. I also discovered that pet insurance is a lot like human health insurance in that there is a pre-existing clause. Even though Spike had never had an injury to his leg, the insurance company refused to pay for the medical attention he received, using the old "pre-existing" excuse!
Whether you buy your cat at a pet store or an animal shelter, it's going to cost you money, worry and time. Sometimes I think raising a kid is cheaper and they won't leave hair on your couch!
Bob Alexander is well experienced in outdoor cooking, fishing and leisure living. Bob is also the author and owner of this article. Visit his sites at: