Your decision to adopt a cat or kitten is one that will enrich your life immensely. And good for you: You're doing your homework first to get off on the right foot as a new pet owner. These tips will give you a helpful overview of what to bring home and why it's needed. Add love and attention, and you're off to a great start!
Think safety first for your new pet. Even if you plan to keep your cat or kitten indoors, there's a chance it could escape from your home and become lost. Two things will help prevent this potentially heartbreaking situation: a collar with an ID tag attached and a microchip.
There are many materials, patterns, and colors to choose from for a cat collar, but the most important trait to look for is a safety breakaway feature. Cats are dedicated explorers and can easily find themselves in situations from which they need to escape, even within your home. Should a cat find itself caught on something by its collar, this type of collar will allow it to break away and escape from the object holding it, rather than choke to death. Choose a collar size that fits comfortably: not so tight that it chokes or chafes your cat's neck, and not so loose that the cat can easily slip out of it. Need an example? Be sure you can fit two fingers between your cat and its collar. The attached ID tag, which can be ordered online or purchased from your veterinarian, should include your pet's name and your contact information (name, phone number, and address).
You may consider a microchip to ensure your lost pet will be returned to you. A veterinarian injects a tiny identifying integrated circuit under the surface of your pet's skin between the shoulder blades. The process is not harmful or painful, and can be compared to your pet receiving a vaccination. The microchip contains an ID code unique to your cat that you register with a microchip company, along with your contact information. If your lost pet is found and turned over to a shelter or veterinarian, its microchip can be scanned. This provides your pet's rescuer with the information necessary to contact you so your pet can be returned safely.
Continued on page 2: Cat Carriers