Make a Perfect Match

Many roads may lead to your ideal kitten. Here's where to start.

By Theresa Meyers

Page 2 of 5

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Be aware that not all shelters and adoption facilities are the same. Some specialize only in cats, some are nonprofit and others are county-funded or national organizations. Each has a different screening process to determine if you can take a kitten home with you. Questions may range from the type of lifestyle you lead and how many hours you spend at work and home to the other people and animals living in your home. PAWS bases its interview process on guidelines developed over the 35 years that the nonprofit adoption facility has been in operation.

The adoption process itself is usually more in-depth than people anticipate, Wilder said. We have a lot of people come in and tell us that this is harder than adopting a child. Well, in a way you are. As part of the screening process, PAWS requires every member of the family to meet the animal considered for adoption and, if the family rents their home, PAWS will contact the landlord to make sure the kitten will be welcome. It also requires that any cat adopted from PAWS be kept strictly indoors or have supervised outdoor time. While this may seem daunting, the chances of finding a kitten that is a good fit for you and your family is much higher because of the process, according to Wilder.

The one question Wilder gets most often is, What will the kitten be like when he/she grows up?

I have to tell people that we honestly don't know. All kittens are cute, fun and active, but how they mature depends on a lot of factors and we don't know what their personalities will be like, she said.

Kittens from shelters or adoption clinics will most likely be spayed or neutered and current on their shots. This can save you a chunk of change, but remember that they will usually ask for an adoption fee ranging from $25 to $100 depending on the facility. The fee helps to defray the costs of preventive health measures and makes it possible for the facilities to help fight overpopulation.

If a particular look or personality is what really matters to you, start your search by reviewing the different cat breeds and attending cat shows. From there you'll be able to determine what breed matches your expectations and look for a reputable breeder. The advantage of pedigreed kittens is that you have a good idea of the personality, size and look your kitten will have as an adult. Kittens from a breeder are often well-socialized and enjoy human companionship.

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