What to Know Before You Adopt a Kitten

Choosing to adopt a kitten is a decision that requires some forethought. People who choose to bring an animal into their homes should not do so in haste; only once they have thought the decision through should they choose to adopt a cat.

Consider the Initial Cost

The choice to adopt a kitten involves financial commitment. There is typically an adoption fee, which can range from $80 to $200, depending on the shelter. This fee helps defray the cost of having cared for the pet thus far. The new owners must then take their kitten to the vet for a check-up and a series of shots, which can range from $100 to $300 total. If the kitten is sick, which is a frequent occurrence in shelters in which many animals are kept in close proximity, the cost of treating the illness can run another $100 to $200. Kittens are also often not yet spayed or neutered, so the cost of the procedure will fall to its new owners. This can cost between $50 and $200.

Choosing an older cat will likely be significantly cheaper than choosing a kitten. Most older cats are spayed or neutered before adoption and will already be up to date with their vaccinations. Shelters often charge a slightly lesser adoption fee because fewer people adopt adult cats.

Consider the Long Term Cost

Choosing to adopt a kitten is a long-term financial commitment as well. Cats will need food, litter, a litter box and toys for a basic happy, healthy life. There will also be yearly vet exams and future vaccinations. These costs are much less than the initial cost of adopting the animal and may add up to as little as $20 to $30 per month, with an additional $50 to $100 for an annual examination.

Consider the Commitment

A kitten should not be regarded as a new plaything for a child. If the cat is healthy, she can live upward of fifteen to twenty years. The child for whom the kitten is purchased may "grow out" of his desire to have a cat long before then. The child must understand the responsibilities and commitment and the parent must want the kitten as well, in case the child no longer does.

Also, most households with children under the age of five do not make good matches for kittens, who are rambunctious, curious and delicate. Harm can come both to the child and to the kitten.

Consider the Effects on Your Home

People who want to adopt a kitten must understand that their homes and furniture will require extra cleaning. Fur will stick to surfaces, although owners can decrease the amount of fur shed by regularly grooming their cats. Furnishings may also be damaged if a kitten chooses to claw them. Owners can decrease this risk by buying scratching posts and covering their furnishings.

With so many kittens and cats in need of a home, shelters are always looking for people who are willing to adopt a kitten. However, potential cat owners should be aware of all of their options and all of their responsibilities before they bring their new pets home.