(Closed) What to look for when adopting a cat…

posted 3 years ago in Pets
Post # 2
1504 posts
Bumble bee

I think your best bet is talking to the people at a shelter, telling them exactly what kind of cat you’re looking for. They should be able to help you out as they will know the personalities of the kitties best.

Post # 3
2381 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

If you’re looking for a mouser that’s indoor/outdoor, ask your local shelter for recommendations. We have an organization here that places barn cats, and they’ll let you know if they’re the friendly indoor/outdoor type, or if they’re non friendly barn only type cats.

Post # 4
298 posts
Helper bee

check the cat’s teeth!

Post # 5
3343 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2013 - Rhode Island

It’s all about personality.  I bought my cat from a pet shop for $20, but he is the best cat in the entire world and I could tell in the shop by how he interacted with me and how he interacted with the other cats.

Post # 6
2317 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013 - Old Stone House in Brookyn

I would check for a rescue group that fosters shelter cats. The fosters will be able to tell you about the different cats’ personalities and will have a better idea of what the cat is like in a normal environment or with dogs. We had a foster cat who was extremely skittish and shy in the shelter but was very affectionate after a few days in our apartment, so it does make a difference.


One caveat: most rescue groups here won’t give you a cat unless it is going to be indoors-only. You might have a different experience if you are in a more rural area.

Post # 7
8000 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

Such a shame I couldn’t have sent you a kitty from when I was living next to a feral colony… I could have picked you one in a heartbeat!

However, I can see some potential issues.

1. You want to keep the cat in at night. This is an excellent idea, as most cat related accidents happen at night. However, cats are naturally crepuscular, and do most of their hunting at dusk and dawn, so if you want the cat to catch mice then you will have to let the cat out at dusk and dawn. If the cat is only allowed out during the daylight, you may find that they catch birds rather than mice! A solution might be to let the cat out just before it gets light, and just after dark, and feed the cat a few hours after dawn and dusk, to encourage it to return home after hunting. A light sensitive cat flap, such as a PetPorte, will also help you with this.

2. I suspect you live somewhere rural. The problem with this is that domestic cats are not native to the USA, and have only been around for a few hundred years. This means that barn cats in rural areas are happily chomping their way through the local wildlife. Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t native to the UK (where I’m from) either, but they have been kept as outdoor access pets for about 2,500 years here, so any damage that was going to be done to the ecosystem has already been done (and a balance has been restored). You can prevent damage to the ecosystem by placing an ultrasonic device on the cat’s collar which will reduce bird predation by around 50%… however, it will also make the cat a less efficient hunter of mice (by around 30%), which is a problem. You could always make the cat wear the collar during hours of peak daylight and take it off in the evening, I suppose?

It depends on how sensitive your local ecosystem is, and if you have any endangered bird species. Remember that cats will generally hunt birds during the day, and mice and rats at dawn, dusk, and darkness. I’m saying this because I don’t want you to get some nasty surprises!

… and now what to look for. You want a cat who is immediately friendly and takes to you. Confident and friendly. They should come to the front of the cage and rub against you, asking to be stroked. This shows a bold character, which you want in both a hunting cat and a pet. A young adult, preferably, as their personality is fully developed by then and you can see what they are like. They shouldn’t be too fat… fat cats aren’t good hunters. In developing countries, they feed cats about 75% of their total calorie intake, so the cat has enough energy to hunt but is also motivated… you never see a fat hunter there (not that I am suggesting you do this)! Hunting cats are muscular but never fat. Finally, I know that some people in the US declaw cats. Obviously, don’t get a declawed cat!

The shelter workers should be able to get you a cat with the right temperament.

Whew! Hope that was of some help…

Post # 8
3914 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

Really, it’s all about personality and what you’re looking for in a cat. We’ve only adopted kittens, so it’s kind of just been a hope and pray situation (as their full personalities don’t really come about until a few months to a year after they’re born–at least in my experience). We adopted two Tabbies, a brother and sister and they were supper sweet and cuddly kittens, but as they grew older they grew more aloof. One never wants to be touched, held, looked at…UNLESS you are on the toilet, and then he can’t get enough of you. The other one doesn’t ever want to be held, but she wants to be pet (on her terms) and will cuddle at night (on her terms). Our orange cat was seriously the bravest kitten. She would trot up to anyone, roll around for people, play with the other cats (even as she was getting her ass kicked) and then one day she suddenly became very skittish (like someone sneezes and she takes off, someone shifts on the couch and she gets startled, etc.)

Soooo, I would suggest that you speak the the volunteers and workers at the shelter. Explain what type of personality you want. They will probably be able to lead you to the right cat. However, I’m not sure where you live, but where I live they will not allow you to adopt a cat that you plan on letting outside. I went with my brother when he adopted his two cats and they made him sign a paper stating these would be indoor cats. You probably wouldn’t want an aloof cat, so try to find one that will let you handle it and has a good temperment. 

Post # 9
8000 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

… obvious question… sorry, because I feel stupid now… but which country are you in, please? I’m assuming USA, and so are PPs, but I should have asked before I wrote that answer, because I would have given a different answer if you are from a different country.

Post # 11
8000 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

BeckyS0:  Good! I have always been of the opinion that some cats should be indoor only, some must be outdoor access, and some can be both (I currently own a mixture). That sounds like a very good system which your local shelter has. If they are able to differentiate between the different needs of the different animals in their care in this way, I’m sure they can give you great advice!

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