June 2009 Issue

So You Want to Adopt Another?

Be certain that you have the time, space and resources.

Anyone who rescues strays knows there is no shortage of cats. Wanting to provide a home can become a natural outgrowth of feeding them, and most people who adopt them have the best intentions. "They are caring, compassionate people who want to help them," says Pamela Perry, DVM, a lecturer in farm animal behavior at Cornell Universityís College of Veterinary Medicine. But there is a fine line between adequately caring for multiple cats and obsessively accumulating them. Before deciding to bring in just one more, some important factors need to be considered. Health Status. Free-roaming cats are subject to parasites and transmissible diseases with which an indoor-only cat might never come in contact. "When you take in an animal that you donít know, you usually know little about its background, including any diseases it may be carrying," says Dr. Perry. Before integrating the new cat into the household, the newcomer needs to have a thorough veterinary examination, including testing for infection with feline leukemia virus or feline immunodeficiency virus. "If you already have a cat, you donít want to bring another one into the house until it has tested negative for certain diseases," says Dr. Perry. The newcomer also needs to be vaccinated, given flea treatments if necessary and checked for intestinal parasites and ear mites.

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