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  • Writer's pictureHaley

Real Talk: Adopting Your First Pet

Here are some key things to consider when adopting a furry friend!

A few weeks ago I adopted my first pet! He’s a 6 month old cat named Finnegan who loves sleeping, staring at his own reflection in the mirror, and eating treats (which, like, same to 3/3).

I always had pets growing up, but this was the first pet I adopted and am taking care of entirely on my own. Adopting a pet is yes, very fun and very cute. But (not to sound like your mom) it’s also an undertaking that takes a lot of responsibility!

I learned a few key things when adopting and bringing a kitten into my home, and I’m here to share with you some major points to keep in mind if you’re also considering becoming a first-time furry friend adopter!

Be prepared to do interviews and send out applications.

Here I was thinking I could just walk into a shelter and bring a pet home with me. At least in my experience, that was not the case. If you are adopting from a shelter or rescue, they’ll likely ask you to fill out an adoption application, and even conduct a phone interview and/or a house inspection. Be ready to send out a few applications in case the pet you had your eye on gets adopted before you get the chance to interview. Know that it may take a little bit of time to get your pet if you decide to adopt through one of these avenues.

Think about your long-term plans.

Are you ready to keep a pet for up to 20 years? My pet adoption application for my less-than-a-year-old kitten asked this question. Which — reality check, I’ll be 42 then (cue existential crisis). So, don’t just think about the long-term, think long-long term when your adopting your first pet. Make sure you are ready to take on a commitment with a creature that will be depending on you for 100% everything.

Ask if any of your roommates are opposed.

Bringing home a surprise pet to your family/roommates/SO may sound fun and exciting, but more realistically, you’ll want to make sure everyone in your household is a-ok with your plan. The last thing you want is to get attached to a pet (and vice versa) just to learn your housemate is allergic and can’t live with an animal. For example, Sophia can no longer visit me without getting crazy allergies (sorry!!).

Could you see yourself moving?

As a 20-something, you have a lifetime of opportunities ahead of you - and they can take you anywhere! Before adopting a pet, think ahead to your future plans. Do you want to eventually go to grad school somewhere new? Maybe you are planning a long trip abroad, or want to find a new job out-of-state. You’ll want to make sure having a pet companion fits into your future housing plans, so your pet isn’t left on its own if your lifestyle changes.

Make sure you’re ready to buy all the necessary supplies.

Adopting a pet on free shelter day sounds great (because free!) but remember that buying a pet is far from a one-time cost. While my kitten was $130, the supplies added up to a whole lot more. Additional payments include routine and unexpected vet visits, toys, food, and potentially animal-sitting. Do research to determine exactly what your new pet will need, and how much. Like if you are getting an untrained puppy, will you have the time and resources to train it?

Layout your living space ahead of time.

Now that you have your applications filled out and your supplies ready, you can get to the really fun parts! Getting your space ready! Start planning how and when you want to introduce your pet to your home and any housemates. Slow and steady is probably a good rule of thumb! Decide where you want your pet to have access to - ie, your bedroom, the bathroom, backyard, etc. and make sure there’s not easy to chew-on things or dangerous food items accessible.

Enjoy every moment!

If you are deciding to adopt a pet — YAY! You’ll have so much fun welcoming a little animal into your home: dog, cat, or whatever it may be! It’s not only a step into adulthood but lots and lots of fun!

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