Have you ever thought about adding a cat to your dog household? June is Adopt-A-Cat Month®, the American Humane Association initiative to draw attention to the millions of cats and kittens that are awaiting forever homes. Due to “kitten season,” those shelters are more crowded than ever this time of year.
As you know, we’re a family of two dogs and four cats. We most recently adopted again in February after the death of our dear Felix.
With two dogs hovering around 70 pounds each, we had definite ideas about the type of cat we wanted to adopt:
- We wanted a kitten young enough to make the transition into our home of three older cats, two 7 years old and one 14 years old.
- We wanted a kitten old enough to be very mobile, able to jump up on tables and out of reach of Irie and Tiki, if either got a little too energetic.
- We wanted an indoor-only cat. All of our cats live indoors only although they have free use of a screened catio so they can safely go outdoors and enjoy fresh air and watch birds at the adjacent bird feeders.
- We wanted a male cat. With two females and one male, we wanted to keep the balance, if possible.
Finding An Adoptable Cat
Sadly, there is no shortage of cats looking for forever homes, especially during the spring months. Once we had our criteria set, we sat down to think what criteria we were looking for in terms of a shelter:
- We wanted a shelter whose cats had been tested for FeLV (feline leukemia). Most in the area did.
- We wanted a shelter whose cats had been tested for FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus). Some local shelters did, some didn’t.
We couldn’t tell from online listings if all cats had been pre-tested at some shelters, so we made calls to ask.
Visiting the Shelters
We headed to online resources and began our search. Once we had some potentials, we headed out to meet the cats in person, packing our cat carrier for each of the shelter visits.
But none were quite right. We met one beautiful cat with a blue eye and a green eye. He was far, far too energetic, though. We knew he’d frighten our older cats. Then we met a handsome black cat who was just too shy. Although we love shy cats (our Inca will attest to that), we worried that he might be intimidated by Irie and Tiki.
After a day that involved visits to three shelters and four local pet supply stores with on-site adoption events, we headed home to do some more searching…and came upon this listing on the Austin Pets Alive! website:
He sounded absolutely perfect…and we have a huge soft spot in our hearts for black and white cats. Through the years, we’ve had many tuxedo cats: KitKat, Elaine, and, most recently, Felix.
We were off to Austin Pets Alive! the next morning before they opened. Soon we were in an adoption room with then Tuxie:
There was no denying that he was super cute. But would he be a good fit for our household? Would he be happy in a home with three other cats and two dogs?
Although the adoption room was very small, just about five feet square, both John and I sat down to see how Tuxie responded to us. We let him wander freely in the room, seeing how much interest he showed in both of us.
For the first few minutes, Lucky was still, watching us a bit but mostly sitting beneath the room’s bench. Austin Pets Alive had a selection of toys and treats in the room. We have each a try. No interest. We gave Lucky some more time.
Next I untied my tennis shoes and dangled the strings. That did the trick! Lucky sprang into action, ready to play!
We played with Lucky for about 15 minutes, watching him become more and more relaxed around us. Next, though, it was time to determine how outgoing he might be in our busy household. Would he be an outgoing cat or a nervous cat among our other residents?
We wanted until Lucky turned his back on us then tossed down a full set of keys. They jangled and clanged against the concrete floor and echoed in the small room.
Instead of running back beneath the bench, Lucky ran toward the keys to check them out. We felt we had our answer.
Lucky came home with us that day and, as we guessed he has been a great fit in our household:
Lucky quickly showed himself to be super confident:
He loves his canine sisters:
If you are considering adopting a cat in your dog household, please be sure to check your local shelters and rescues during #AdoptaCatMonth!
If you have questions about acclimating your cat to a dog household, also see our tips on introducing your new cat to your dog.
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