100 Questions to Ask When Adopting a Cat

So you’re thinking about adding a furry friend to your family? Adopting a cat can be a wonderful experience. They make great companions and can give you years of love and laughter. But before you take home a new cat, you should ask yourself and the adoption agency some important questions to make sure it’s right for you and the cat.

I’ve made a list that will guide you through the adoption process, the cat’s behaviors, and the financial commitments involved. Let’s get started!

Understanding the Cat’s Background and Health

  1. What is the age of the cat I am considering adopting?
  2. Has the cat been spayed or neutered?
  3. Can you provide a history of the cat’s vaccinations?
  4. Does the cat have any known allergies or sensitivities?
  5. What is the cat’s medical history, including past illnesses or injuries?
  6. Is the cat currently on any medication or special diet?
  7. Has the cat been tested for FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) and FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus)?
  8. What is the cat’s flea/tick and heartworm prevention history?
  9. Does the cat have any chronic conditions that require ongoing medical attention?
  10. Can you explain the cat’s dental history and needs?
  11. Has the cat been microchipped, and is the information up to date?
  12. What is the general temperament of the cat during veterinary visits?
  13. Are the cat’s ears clean, and does it have a history of ear infections or mites?
  14. Does the cat have a history of litter box issues or accidents in the house?
  15. How does the cat react to being groomed or handled?
  16. What are the cat’s feeding habits, and what brand or type of food does it eat?
  17. Has the cat exhibited any signs of stress or anxiety when in a shelter or foster care?
  18. How often has the cat interacted with a veterinarian?
  19. Has the cat ever had surgery, and if so, for what reason?
  20. Could you provide the contact information for the cat’s previous veterinarian?

Assessing Cat’s Personality and Behavior

  1. How does the cat behave around other animals?
  2. Does the cat enjoy being held or prefer to be more independent?
  3. Can you describe the cat’s energy levels throughout the day?
  4. How does the cat react to strangers or new environments?
  5. What kinds of toys or play does the cat enjoy?
  6. Is the cat used to being indoors, outdoors, or both?
  7. How does the cat communicate, and what do different meows mean?
  8. Does the cat have any quirks or unique habits that I should be aware of?
  9. How does the cat handle stress, and what signs should I look out for?
  10. Is the cat accustomed to a schedule, such as feeding or playtimes?
  11. Does the cat use a scratching post or other specific objects to scratch?
  12. Has the cat ever displayed any forms of aggression?
  13. What is the cat’s usual sleeping routine or favorite sleeping spots?
  14. How interactive is the cat with people or other pets in the household?
  15. Does the cat prefer a certain type of litter or litter box?
  16. What does the cat do when it wants attention or affection?
  17. Has the cat been socialized with children?
  18. How does the cat behave during grooming sessions like nail trimming?
  19. Can the cat perform any commands or tricks?
  20. Are there any known triggers that may upset or scare the cat?

Preparing Your Home for a Cat

  1. What are the essential items I need to purchase before bringing a cat home?
  2. How can I cat-proof my home to ensure it’s a safe environment?
  3. What type of litter box setup would you recommend?
  4. Are there certain plants or household items that are toxic to cats that I should remove?
  5. Can you suggest the best location for the cat’s food, water, and litter box?
  6. How should I introduce a new cat to my current pets?
  7. What’s the best way to create a comfortable sleeping area for the cat?
  8. How can I provide adequate climbing and scratching opportunities for my cat?
  9. Should I consider installing gates or cat doors in certain areas of the house?
  10. How can I ensure the cat feels secure and has hiding spots if needed?
  11. What kind of grooming tools will I need for the cat’s coat type?
  12. How do I set up a feeding schedule that aligns with the cat’s current routine?
  13. Are automatic feeders or water fountains recommended?
  14. What can I do to prevent the cat from scratching furniture?
  15. How can I accommodate my new cat’s need for exercise and play?
  16. What steps should I take to introduce the cat to new family members?
  17. Would you recommend any specific brands or types of cat food and treats?
  18. How can I establish a designated area for my cat to look out windows safely?
  19. What cleaning supplies should I have on hand for litter box maintenance and potential accidents?
  20. Can you recommend any resources or books on best practices for taking care of a cat?

Adoption Process and Policies

  1. What is the step-by-step process to adopt a cat from your organization?
  2. Are there any adoption fees, and what do they include?
  3. What documents or information do I need to provide for the adoption?
  4. Can you explain your organization’s return policy if the adoption doesn’t work out?
  5. Will I receive the cat’s medical records upon adoption?
  6. Does the adoption fee include spaying/neutering if it hasn’t been done already?
  7. What kind of support does your organization offer post-adoption?
  8. Is there a trial period to ensure the cat is a good fit for my home?
  9. Can you provide details about the cat’s history in the shelter or in foster care?
  10. Do you require a home visit before finalizing the adoption?
  11. How quickly can I take the cat home after the adoption is approved?
  12. Are there any specific criteria I must meet to be eligible to adopt?
  13. Will I need to sign an adoption contract, and can I review it beforehand?
  14. Does your organization have any policies regarding declawing or letting the cat outside?
  15. What happens if the cat requires medical attention shortly after adoption?
  16. Are there any breed or age restrictions I should be aware of?
  17. Does your organization provide any resources or educational materials for new cat owners?
  18. Can I meet with potential cats more than once before deciding to adopt?
  19. How are the cats in your care socialized and prepared for adoption?
  20. What is your organization’s policy on updating you about the cat’s well-being after adoption?

Financial and Long-Term Commitments

  1. What is the estimated monthly cost of caring for a cat?
  2. Can you provide an overview of the cat’s long-term healthcare needs?
  3. What types of unexpected veterinary expenses should I prepare for?
  4. Should I consider pet insurance for my cat, and what does it typically cover?
  5. What are the essential regular grooming tasks, and what might they cost?
  6. How often will the cat require vaccinations, and what is the approximate cost?
  7. What is the average lifespan of a cat, and how might care needs change as they age?
  8. Can you break down the costs related to feeding, including special diets?
  9. How will travel or moving to a new home affect a cat, and what should I budget for?
  10. What are some common illnesses or health issues that may arise in a cat’s lifetime?
  11. Are there costs associated with spaying/neutering if it hasn’t been done?
  12. How should I budget for routine parasite control like flea, tick, and worm treatments?
  13. What is the cost of emergency care for cats, and how can I prepare for it financially?
  14. Can you recommend any savings plans or budgeting strategies for ongoing cat care?
  15. Are there any subsidies or support programs available for pet owners in need?
  16. How do costs vary for different breeds or cats with special needs?
  17. What is the typical cost of end-of-life care, including euthanasia and cremation?
  18. Should I set aside funds for professional pet-sitting or boarding services?
  19. What kind of investment in time is required for daily cat care and bonding?
  20. How can I plan for my cat’s care in case of my own health issues or incapacitation?

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if a cat’s personality is a good fit for my household?

When looking to adopt a cat, it’s crucial to consider the personality and energy level that will mesh well with your home life. If your household is active, you might look for a cat with a playful and adventurous spirit. If it’s more laid-back, a calmer cat that enjoys lounging around might be a better match.

Ask the shelter or rescue about the cat’s behavior and history. They can often provide insights into how the cat interacts with people, other pets, and in different environments. Additionally, spending time with the cat before making your decision can give you a good sense of their personality.

How do I prepare my home for a cat’s arrival?

Preparing your home for a cat involves making the environment safe, comfortable, and stimulating. Start by cat-proofing your home; remove or secure loose wires, toxic plants, and small objects that could be swallowed.

Next, set up the essentials: a litter box in a quiet location, food and water bowls, and a comfy bed. Cats also need plenty of mental and physical stimulation, so provide scratching posts, toys, and areas where they can climb and explore.

Lastly, consider where your cat can look out the windows, as many cats enjoy watching the world outside.

What are the costs associated with cat adoption and care?

The cost of adopting a cat can vary widely depending on the agency, location, and whether the cat comes from a shelter or a breeder. Adoption fees typically cover initial veterinary care, such as vaccinations, spaying or neutering, and microchipping.

Once the cat is home, expect ongoing expenses for high-quality food, litter, regular veterinary checkups, and occasional treatments like flea, tick, and worm medications. Factor in additional costs for toys, grooming supplies, pet insurance, and any unexpected health issues.

It’s a good idea to set aside a budget for emergency veterinary care, as well. Overall, it’s essential to consider both the initial and long-term costs to ensure you can provide a caring and stable home for your cat.

Final Thoughts

Choosing to adopt a cat is a big step, but taking the time to think it over and asking important questions means you’re ready for a great friendship full of love and special moments. Get excited about the happiness and fun your new cat will add to your life!

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Jessa Claire is a registered healthcare provider. Music lover. Daydreamer. Thalassophile. Foodie. A hardworking Capricorn. Most days, an incurable empath. An old soul. Down-to-earth. Vibrant. When she's not writing, she can be seen relaxing with headphones on or engrossed in her favorite fan fiction book.