BY PAT SUMMERS
They’re fluffy, wide-eyed, cuddly, playful and adorable: kittens. Even the word is appealing: kittens!
They’re all over the internet, and soon they’ll be all over New Jersey and everyone will want one. For a while, it will be heaven: a sweet little baby animal to watch and play with and take care of.
And then, guess what: that kitten will grow up. Very soon, s/he’ll be leggier, taller, heavier. S/he’ll be a cat.
And if you’ve adopted her, you’ve made a 20-year commitment (give or take). As a cute kitten, she gave little indication of what she’d be like as a cat – healthy, active, fun, or not those things, or somewhere in between.
There’s a compassionate way around this: adopt a kitten who already grew up: an adult cat. That way, what you see is what you’ll get, and you can decide whether s/he’s the cat for you for the long term. Don’t forget that long term.
What makes this compassionate? Easy. Adoptable adult cats are often overlooked, especially during kitten season. And this despite the fact that they need homes more – especially if they’ve already spent too long in a shelter, or they outlived their person and suddenly moved from home to shelter.
(And BTW, if you’re really compassionate, adopt a mature black cat. Through no fault of their own, this combo is typically double overlooked. Think: black cats are lucky cats – as well as sleek and sophisticated!)
Mature cats make great companions. Often, they’ve been there before and know about domestic life, whether with a family or one loving person. Adult cats are beyond all the “vetting” and training babies will need, so they can settle in and appreciate.
Two rescue groups in Mercer County know all about this. Both organizations care for cats of all ages, and right now they especially hope to find homes for adult/mature cats . . . before the spring kitten flood begins.
EASEL Animal Rescue League (www.easelnj.org) and Trenton Cats Rescue (www.trentoncats.org) both post adoptable cats on Petfinder, both “board” cats at retail sites like PetSmart and both have weekend adoption events – all detailed on their websites.
“With their crazy kitten years behind them,” an EASEL flyer says, “adult cats make ideal companions” – especially true for those who work during the day, or work or enjoy retirement at home. Adoptable cats can be seen at the Ewing Animal Shelter (behind the municipal complex, on Jake Garzio Drive) and in the EASEL trailer, adjacent to the shelter. Verify hours before visiting: 609-883-0540.
Kittens can be great hectic fun -- but adult cats are kittens who came into their own and show what they’re made of. That can be comforting. And it can contribute to a faster mutual friendship.
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Freelance writer Pat Summers also blogs at www.nj.com/pets.