Are you looking for a furry friend to keep you company or a special friend for your children but don’t want to take on a huge commitment? A cat maybe just the kind of animal you are looking for. There are many cat breed specific rescues that can help you find the purr-fect fuzzy friend. Many pure bred cats are also surrendered at local shelters.
By adopting a cat from a shelter or rescue you are:
- saving a life.
- helping with pet overpopulation.
- saving money because the cost of adopting is much less than buying from a breeder or pet store.
- getting a knowledgeable opinion from pet rescue staff on the best fit for you since all cats are assessed for the type of home they would fit best.
When thinking about adopting a cat, it is important to research what characteristics each breed is known for. All cats are different, so it is important to spend time with any cat you are thinking about adopting to make sure you are the purr-fect friends for each other. Here are some breeds and their characteristics that we most often see at Gilbertsville Veterinary Hospital.
Orange Tiger (Domestic Shorthair): They are very loving and playful pets and often can be found to get into a bit of mischief around the house. Orange Tiger cats tend to attach to one person as their best friend/caregiver but are social with the whole family.
Gray Tiger (Domestic Shorthair): Gray Tiger cats are very gentle souls who enjoy showing complete devotion for their humans. They love to snuggle and can be found giving the extra love you need when you are feeling down.
Tuxedo Cats – Black and White (Domestic Shorthair): Tuxedo cats are very regal and love to explore their surrounds. They can often be found ruling over their humans from their spot of choice.
Siamese: They require attention!!! Siamese cats are 100 percent committed to building a relationship with you and will go out of their way to make sure you know you are their best friend. They are very vocal cats, opinionated and will let you know if you are ignoring then. When adopting a Siamese be prepared to commit the love and attention they need.
Main Coon: Main Coon cats are very social animals, enjoy the company of the family but are not needy. They are known to greet their humans and come when called and tend to be goofy. They are playful, very intelligent and tend to not be lap cats but do like to be near you.
Persian: Persian cats are very sweet tempered cats that tend to lay back and be observers in your daily activities. They are dignified, docile and are most happy in a serene home where there is little change from day to day.
Himalayan: Himalayan cats are sweet, docile and quiet. Some describe them as ornamental in quality because of their enjoyment of sitting on their humans lap and being petted. They enjoy the company of children and will often play house with getting brushed and treated like a baby. They are committed to their humans and outsiders must gain their respect.
Cornish Rex: Cornish Rex cats are very active cats who like to get into things. They enjoy using their long legs to jump to unbelievable heights. They are devoted to their family and almost dog like between their devotion to family and are often know to retrieve thrown toys.
Russian Blue: Russian Blue cats are quiet and shy cats with delicate souls. Their feelings can easily be hurt. They enjoy quiet, stable environments. They do enjoy play but in their own time.
Remember when adopting a cat to do your research thoroughly. Every cat is different. I believe that cats make a great friend for everyone, as they are low maintenance, loving, and require little space. But then again, I am partial to cats seeing as I share my home with 8 of the adopted furry, funny, four-footed friends.
Meghan Burnell, AS
With an adult cat you can find the “purr”fect fit for your family. There are so many benefits to adopting an adult cat!
- Adult cats are individuals who do not require the constant supervision of a kitten. You can rest assure that your adult kitty most likely will not attempt to climb the curtain while you are gone. You can leave your home knowing that when your arrive back home your adult kitty will have gotten into little or no trouble.
- With an adult cat you know the size of the kitty you are adopting. If you would prefer a snuggle bug you may look for a smaller, lighter kitty to sit on your lap. If you are looking for a kitty that can keep up with the activity of children you may look for a sturdy, muscular, active kitty.
- Adult cats make better companions for existing older pets. A kitten will be full of lots of energy and your older kitty may not want to play or be willing or able to put up with the activity of a energetic kitten. Instead look for a young adult that already has some sense of respect for pets that were there before them.
- Many adult cats waiting to be adopted were indoor kitties therefore they have formed good litter box habits.
- Adult cat are often a much better match for young children than a kitten. Kittens operate with reckless abandon. If they’re picked up, they will use their tiny, razor sharp kitten claws to get away. It is also a lot less likely for a small child to accidentally injure an adult cat. Adult cats are more robust and can often tolerate more attention.
- With an adult cat, behaviors and patterns are generally already formed. If he’s a cuddle bug at the shelter you can almost guarantee he will be that way for the rest of his life. Most of the characteristics and personality of the adult cat are fully developed so will know the habits and temperament of your adopted friend. The sad truth is most adult cats are often overlooked at the shelter, however, there are many benefits to adopting an adult cat. I will admit that my heart melts every time the adorable furry ball of a kitten comes in to the hospital. But, my heart also melted the day I brought home my last adult kitty and no more then 2 hours after being home I found all 4 cats were asleep under the Christmas tree. I know my family is happy we adopted adult kitties to add to our family.
Below is a list of area shelters and rescues where you can find you “purr”-fect feline friend.
Cat Angel Network – www.catangel.org
Stray Cat Blues, Inc. – www.straycatblues.org
Animal Rescue League of Berks Country – www.berksarl.org
Montgomery County SPCA – www.montgomerycountyspca.org
Berks Humane Society of Berks County – www.berkshumane.org
So you are thinking about adopting a Greyhound? I say GO FOR IT! I may be a little biased though as I have my own retired racer, and have had a love for the breed most of my life. These retired athletes make great pets, and there are thousands in need of a home right now!
Here is a little history about the breed:
- Greyhounds belong to a group of dogs called Sighthounds. Sighthounds are usually characterized by having long legs, deep chest and a narrow waist. These dogs were bred to hunt independently from humans, and hunt by sight and speed, instead of by scent and endurance as scent hounds do.
- The exact origin of the Greyhound is not clear but there are depictions of greyhound-like dogs in temple drawings in Turkey as far back as 6,000BC; as well as ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, and even mentioned by name in the Bible. They don’t know for sure how old the breed is, but it’s widely regarded as one of the most ancient breeds of dog.
- In the Middle Ages Greyhounds became nearly extinct during times of famine but were saved by clergymen who protected and bred them for the nobility. They were known as dogs of the aristocracy for a period of time, and killing a greyhound was punishable by death. In 1014 laws were put into place that only nobility could own these dogs.
- The US Cavalry used greyhounds while scouting the day before battle because they were fast enough to keep up with the horses. In 1912 the first Greyhound track opened in California, the sport grew quickly and by the 1980’s there were over 50 tracks in the US. Today there are 22 tracks still open in the US. Greyhound racing is a widely debated topic, mostly in regards to the treatment and housing of the animals.
For the first year of their lives greyhound puppies live together with their litter mates. They start training as early as a few weeks old, encouraged to run and chase each other. At 4 months of age, they start keeping them in individual crates where they spend most of their time between training and exercise. At 18 months they are sent to the track where they start their racing career. If they do not consistently do well, or show little or no prey drive they are retired, returned to breeding farms to be put back into the breeding program, put up for adoption or euthanized. For the most part today’s tracks put the retired runners into their own adoption kennels where they are given a specified period of time to be adopted, if they are not adopted by that time, unfortunately they are euthanized to make room for more retired dogs. This is where rescues come in. The rescues take groups of greyhounds from the track adoption kennels and bring them to their own adoption kennels and find homes for these unwanted dogs.
If you’re interested in taking one of these little angels home, there are things to consider. Their lives have been EXTREMELY regimented their whole life so far. They have a routine, and like to stick to it. They usually spend 15-20 hours a day in an individual crate, the only time they have outside of the crate is to go out for exercise with the other greyhounds, and occasionally racing. So when they are brought into a home for the first time they are in a completely alien world. Many are scared without other dogs around because they have been around other dogs since they were born. Some greys are even scared of other breeds of dogs, since they’ve only ever been around other greys their whole lives. Things as simple as a television, a ringing phone, a vacuum cleaner can scare them! Most have never seen stairs before, and will need to learn how to climb up and down them. One of the scarier issues with greys right off the track is big windows, or glass doors. They see a rabbit or squirrel outside and will instinctively RUN for it, crashing through the glass. This does happen, so it’s something to be aware of. Some people put stickies on the windows so that they can see there is something there and it’s not an open space to the outside. That being said, many greys like to be crated, since they’re used to it, it’s always safe to keep them in a crate for the first few months you have them when you’re not home. Eventually many can be trusted without the crate.
Another good first-time greyhound owner tip is that you should NEVER let one off leash in an area that isn’t completely fenced in. They have been bred for thousands of years to chase small animals, and they will. The prey drive that is instinctive to them is further reinforced and encouraged during their training at the track. Because they are sighthounds and don’t use their noses while running down prey, once the chase is over, they don’t know how to get back to where you are. And since they can reach speeds of up to 45 mph in 3 strides they can get pretty far very quickly.
Once you understand the basic mindset of a greyhound they are VERY easy pets. I like to joke that mine is like my 3rd cat….a 70 pound cat!! He sleeps on the couch ALL DAY! They are fast dogs, but they are HUGE couch potatoes! That being said, he still LOVES going for hikes, running around the dog park, and rides in the car, but he’ll never turn down a good lazy day on the couch either!
They’re very calm, quiet and laid back dogs. While they RARELY bark, they do like to let out a good howl if you can get them started! If you’re looking for a dog that will constantly be running around the house looking for you to play fetch 24/7, this isn’t the breed for you. They do LOVE to play, but they appreciate a good nap as well. They are widely known as being extremely affectionate and sensitive. While they made their careers out of running, they aren’t a high energy breed, they’re sprinters, not endurance runners and only need a walk a day to satisfy them!
Their lean body has often been criticized out in public. At least I know when I go out with Manny I have heard it all! Whispering about how I must starve him, been asked to my face why I don’t feed him etc. These dogs have a very small body fat percentage, less than half the amount that other dogs have. So it is normal to see their ribs since there isn’t a layer of body fat over them, unlike other dog breeds. If you can’t see a Greyhound’s ribs, they are considered to be overweight. They also have a very thin coat, and with both of these characteristics combined they don’t tolerate extreme cold well or extreme heat. If you are cold without a jacket, chances are your greyhound will be cold as well, so stock up on some sweet sweaters and cute jackets!
If you’re looking for a well-mannered, laid back, affectionate companion who will never leave your side, look into a Greyhound! They don’t like to be alone, and will follow you wherever you go. Manny could be in a deep sleep and I get up off the couch and walk into a different room, I hear him running up right behind me leaning on my legs as if to say “where are you going?! Don’t leave!”
There isn’t enough that can be said about people who rescue pets. You are amazing, compassionate people and we thank you for giving a second chance and a loving home to animals that are unwanted for whatever reason. There is something about a rescue – they seem to know that you saved them – and make absolutely amazing pets! For more information on Greyhounds and adopting a retired racer, look into your local Greyhound Rescue, you won’t be disappointed!!