I have recently been a lot less active on the blog, one of the main reasons being I am pretty busy with work; but also our little cat Buffer got suddenly very ill. Nursing him was time-consuming (and expensive!) but he is now much better, although left with some questionable shaved patches where the IV and blood tests were done.
This sassy ball of fur has been in our life for 6 years. Buffer made appearances on the blog a few time as my little sidekick (I say little… The dude is actually on the larger side and gets body-shamed by the vet every time). Him getting unwell has really reminded us how much we love him and how devastated we would be if anything was to happen to him.
Since bringing him back from the rescue centre, Buffer has brought us so much joy. So I thought it was time for me to share his adoption story!
Getting ready to adopt a cat
Parents will hate me for saying that but I think getting a pet is like deciding to have a baby, you will never really be ready for it until they are there. However, there are a few things you need to think about before deciding to bring a new being into your family.
Are you ready for the time commitment?
Getting a pet means you will need to be very present at the beginning and train them, even more when it is a young one. It is time-consuming, it is tiring (you just wait until your kitten goes ‘cat-crazy’ at 3 in the morning) and you will need to commit to a more rigid schedule. I am writing all this while Buffer is walking across my keyboard xvazqhfdeg.wqewei/#errttt to remind me that it is dinner time. Finally, a cat can easily live up to 12 years, so you will need to think about your lifestyle now but also in the future to make sure your new addition can be part of the journey.
Are you ready for the financial commitment?
Adopting a cat from a rescue centre isn’t too expensive, you are only asked to give a donation, ours was around £75. A cat needs a bed, a litter tray, not so basic litter (trust me, you don’t want to go cheap when it comes to litter), scratching posts, some decent food (aka not the supermarket varieties), a cat-sitter when you go on vacations and insurance. All those things add up, and although some are one-off costs, you will still need to spend a fair bit of money within the first 2 months. My best advice is to get the insurance, DO NOT in any circumstances try to save money on this! Buffer had zero health issue for the first 6 years of his life and 2 weeks ago we had to foot a £900-bill for vet treatments. Painful but thankfully he is insured!
You can overthink it as much as you want but if you can answer ‘yes’ to the two questions above, you are ready! Andrew and I almost talked ourselves out of it on our way to the pet shop to buy Buffer’s things the day before he arrived in our lives. Thank god we didn’t, because I can easily say that it is one of the best things we have ever done.
The cat adoption process
Pet adoption processes can be very intimidating. When you read the details on some charities’ websites it feels like you are going to go for a job interview and a house inspection, and that you may even be asked to quit your job to look after your pet. Fear not, it is actually not that bad at all!
The staff in rescue centres is as keen for the animal to find a family as you are to find a cat. They can also tell if someone is serious or not about it. Andrew and I showed up at Cats Protection UK with a folder containing pictures of our flat, a letter from our landlady, and other various documents. We had done our homework and it showed. So much so that we left on the same day with a kitten!
So start by preparing your application, gather the documents you may need and get in touch with charities. Have an open conversation with them and let them guide you. We, for instance, were set on getting an indoor adult cat (and were open to FIV cats), however, the rescue centre introduced us instead to 12-week old Buffer. Because we were young (still are! Right?) and our family and accommodation situations could change (buying a house, maybe children one day), they thought a kitten would be better suited as he would grow with us and be more flexible. And how right were they! Although the first 10 months were a lot more work as a result, baby-Buffer was bursting with energy and teenager-Buffer was a brat, he settled so well and adapted to us moving houses, taking him on vacation to France and even getting a canine brother without any complaints.
Finally, be prepared for the fact that you may get home with your cat on the same day! Buffer was Andrew’s birthday gift, so I gave him a card on the Friday, Cats Protection told me we had an appointment with them on the Sunday, we rushed to get everything we needed on the Saturday, and by Sunday evening the three of us were watching TV together.
Cats Protection UK
I looked at a few rescue centres ahead of Andrew’s birthday and settled on Cats Protection UK because they were very helpful, quick to respond to my emails and one of their centres was close to ours.
I had to complete a form and provide a letter from our landlady as we were renting at the time. We then had a call with them so they could assess which cat would be best suited for us. We skipped the house visit as we discussed on the phone and I came with pictures of it on the day.
A donation and a bit more paperwork later, a kitten once found very sick by a bin was off to his forever home!
Life with a rescue cat
We fell madly in love with Buffer about 2 minutes after he was out of his carrier.
Getting a kitten was work. They burst with energy and behave like bouncing balls. The first few days were tiring but the great thing with cats is that they are creatures of habits, so after two weeks we could predict the exact time he would need to be played with.
The teenager phase was interesting, as cats actually behave like human teenagers. He gave us the cold shoulder and showed a few mildly aggressive behaviour traits from 7 to 12 months (don’t touch me mum!!!). He eventually settled and is now a very content tom.
One final thing you should be aware of if you are considering adopting, with a kitten you won’t know what their personality is really like until they are about 18-months old. We were hoping for a lap cat but Buffer turned out to be on the more independent side. So if you want a very specific type of personality, adopt an adult cat!
I hope this post will help you feel less intimidated by the process of adopting a pet and more importantly inspired to rescue a cat rather than shop for one!