June is National Adopt a Shelter Cat Month

Kittens cannot be left alone for long periods, of course; they are babies after all and you wouldn’t want your baby to develop anxiety problems. But once your kitten has gained some confidence, you can leave the house for an entire day — overnight even — knowing that he will be fine.  As lone hunters, cats are naturally independent and don’t mind not having a constant companion; nor do they need constant supervision. This makes them the perfect pet for workaholics, city dwellers, people living in apartments, and the mellow pet person who doesn’t want to feel obligated to go for multiple daily walks. While you can walk your cat if you wish to — and it is a healthy activity — it isn’t necessary to their lifestyle.
Independent they may be, but cats can also be cuddle fanatics. Try lying down to watch a TV show or read a book without your cat joining you. Nestled into a warm spot against you or lounging across your chest and demanding an ear scratch, you will find that cats are extremely affectionate. Greatest part? The purring.
Have you ever tried to give a cat a bath? Oh, it’s possible (and the younger you start the better), but unless you have a Turkish Van, bathing your cat will be one of the greatest challenges of your life. Having a pet that cleans itself is an amazing benefit. And they are so good at it too. Have you ever buried your nose in a cat’s clean fur? Heaven.
In addition to cleaning themselves, the other fantastic trait cats have is ease of housebreaking, i.e., litter box training. For most cats, all you need to do it set up a litter box with litter, introduce the cat to the box, and you are done. Cats prefer to hide their waste, and a box full of litter is the perfect place to do it. Living with a cat means never having to worry about getting home late and realizing that you will still need to go out into the cold, cold darkness. And cleaning a litter box is not as half as bad as non-cat people like to describe it. In our humble opinion, it’s easier than picking dog poo up off the ground with a plastic bag. Yech.
Hunting Skills
There is a reason that 10 Downing Street still keeps an official mouser on staff. Cats will keep your home clear of rats, mice, and other pesky critters that might try to hone in on your cereal stash. They are also very proficient bug killers and dragon slayers — which is to say, lizards. Do keep in mind these very important precautions: As much as possible, do not allow your cat to actually ingest any of its kills, since there is a possibility of ingesting some of the parasites that live in those small animals (and insects – especially roaches). And don’t use rat or mouse poison in your home, since even a small bite of a rodent that has ingested poison can make it into your cat’s body, too. Help your cat to stay on his hunting toes with a laser pointer.
Given a variety of toys, cats can entertain themselves whenever they get bored or need to get a little energy out. Cat toys like furry mice, feathered birds, crinkle balls, catnip pouches – even balled up pieces of paper – are all great objects to provide for your cat. And much like human children, a good, empty box is a much bigger draw for a cat than the most expensive toy. Use small boxes that can double for play and toy storage, and larger boxes to make “caves.”
And make sure to designate at least one window in the house just for your cat. If the window does not have much of a sill for him to rest on, you can easily install a shelf or place a small dresser or table just under the window so your cat can sit and watch the world from his perch.
Couch-Potato Companion
Cats spend, on average, about 15 hours a day sleeping. So when you take a day off from the grind, you can make your theme, “When in Rome,” and spend it like a cat. Your cat won’t be trying to get you to play or run around or take him for a walk, because he will be happy to have your warm body to snuggle up with as you act the part of the lazy lion – a lazy lion who watches TV and eats cookies for a whole day. Bring an extra bag of cat treats so the two of you can veg-out together.
Saving a Life
According to The HSUS, between 6 to 8 million cats and dogs are taken in by animal shelters each year in the U.S., and 3 to 4 million of those cats and dogs are eventually euthanized. By adopting a cat today, you could be single-handedly saving a life. There’s nothing shabby ‘bout that.
Saving Your Life
In addition to the happy feeling you will have knowing that you have saved your cat’s life, there are also the health benefits he will be bringing to you. Living with a pet has been attributed to significantly lowering blood pressure, the risk of heart disease, and the risk of depression and anxiety.
There are so many health benefits to having a cat it’s impossible to list them all, but here are a few: The simple act of stroking a cat for a few minutes has been shown to release “feel good” endorphins in the brain — endorphins that are excellent for heart health; living with a cat from birth actually lowers the risk for developing allergies and strengthens the immune system (this protective benefit increases in homes with both cat and dog); having a life to care for gives purpose to the day and something to look forward to; having a non-judgmental companion can be a relief for the anxiety prone and learning disabled; and research suggests that the purring vibration we all love is actually beneficial to our bodies as well as for the cat’s. The frequency of a cat’s purr is the same frequency that encourages bone and tendon healing in rehabilitative therapy.
They’re Awesome
Of course this is number one. Cats are what they are — and that is awesomeness. You can’t argue with facts — the numbers prove it. Cats are the most popular pets in the world. In fact, there are statistically more cats in U.S. households than there are dogs. They’re soft, adorable, affectionate, easy-going companions that are capable of bringing great joy (and health!) into your home. So what are you waiting for? Get thee down to the local shelter this week and find your new best friend!

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