10 things you should do before adopting a cat so you can be the best pet parent ever

So, you want a cat in your life? Bringing home a cat can be an awesome source of joy and companionship—plus, there are so many kitties who need homes, so adopting one will totally win you good karma for your act of public good.

Still, cat ownership requires commitment, and you should only sign up for it after you’ve made sure it’s the right fit for you. How sad would it be if you brought home a precious kitty only to realize you’re not cut out for pet ownership? Check out 10 things you can do to shape yourself up to be the best cat parent ever.

1Assess your lifestyle

Alright, friend. Time to take a hard look at your schedule, travel habits, social life, work obligations, and lifestyle in general. Do you have time for a cat? Will they receive the love and attention they need? Do you have someone to watch your furry companion when you’re away? Be honest with yourself when considering pet ownership. Your cat will deserve nothing less.

2Do your research

Yep, now is the time to google. Read up as much as you can about what owning a cat entails and what you should consider before bringing one home. Here’s a great article with 39 things to consider before adopting a cat.

3Check with your landlord

Renting? Check with your landlord to make sure they’re OK with you bringing a cat into your home. Better find out now, before you’re responsible for a feline life and risk losing your security deposit—or being forced to give up your pet.

4Plan for emergencies

You never know when emergencies might happen. Be sure to always have enough cat food and supplies to last a week or so at home, in case an emergency makes going to the store impossible. It’s also a good idea to keep phone numbers for your regular and emergency veterinarians in accessible places, like on your fridge and in the “in case of emergency” section on your phone.

5Make sure everyone you live with is on board

Before bringing home a cat, make sure every single person who lives with you is enthusiastically on board with it—and definitely not allergic to cats. Set clear expectations about who will be providing what aspects of care for the cat so there’s no tension or fighting over who does what.

6Vet a vet

Track down a good vet before you even bring the cat home. Whether you go off of personal recommendations or online reviews, make sure you find a vet you like within reasonable driving distance, and make an appointment for an initial checkup within days of adopting.

7Make plans to spay/neuter

Cat overpopulation is a HUGE problem, and it’s resulting in poor kitties being euthanized in shelters every day. Be sure to spay or neuter your cat ASAP, if it hasn’t been taken care of already.

8Get your supplies and cat-proof your home

It’s time to cat-proof your home. Make sure any live plants you have in your house aren’t toxic to cats, and store any cleaners, care products, and medicines out of reach. You’ll also need to make sure you have all the necessary supplies to give your kitty a good, healthy life. Here’s a good checklist.

9Fit your cat into your budget

Newsflash: Pet ownership can be expensive! Before adopting, be sure to consider the cost of regular vet visits, pet insurance, food, supplies, and emergency items like medicine and trips to the ER should your cat get sick. If you can’t afford these things, you can’t afford a cat.

10Prepare for a LOT of love! 

Cats have a lot of love to give, so be prepared to enter a whole new world of love, affection, and cuddliness that comes with pet parenting. There’s nothing better.