Red Flags When Adopting a Cat – 7 Things To Beware Of

  • By: Bob
  • Last updated: February 9, 2023
  • Time to read: 8 min.

Giving a rescue cat a safe, new home is an incredibly rewarding experience, but it’s important to be aware of any potential red flags when adopting a cat. Knowing what questions to ask and being able to recognize signs of poor health or unhappiness can help you make sure that your new furry family member will fit in well with other people and pets in the home.

Researching the history of any rescue cats you’re considering for adoption, understanding the financial commitment and ensuring they’ll get along with everyone else are all key considerations before taking on this special responsibility – so let’s take a closer look at what you should be looking for when choosing a new family member.

What to Ask When Adopting a Cat from a Shelter

red flags when adopting a cat
How to spot red flags when adopting a cat

When choosing an indoor cat from an animal shelter potential adopters should try to research the cat’s history. Ask questions at the shelter about the cat’s background and medical history. It can be helpful to ask if they know anything about how long the cat has been in their care or where it came from originally.

As a prospective adopter you will also want to ask if the cat uses the provided litter boxes and if he isn’t to be the only cat in the house, does he get on with other cats at the shelter or is he a loner?

You should always inquire as to whether there have been any behavioral issues that need to be addressed before adoption as this could be a red flag dependent on whether you have or don’t have other cats and family members.

What to look for when adopting a cat

You might consider taking them for a checkup prior to the adoption. This will give you an opportunity to assess their overall health and make sure they are up-to-date on vaccinations and other necessary treatments such as flea prevention or deworming medication.

A vet visit also provides an opportunity for you to discuss any potential concerns with your veterinarian so that you can ensure your new pet is healthy and happy when joining your family.

It is also important to get to know the cat’s personality before making a commitment; this helps create trust between owner and pet while setting boundaries early on in order for both of you to understand each other better over time.

Spend some time observing how they interact with people, other animals, toys, etc., so that you can determine what kind of environment would best suit them once adopted into your home and if you use one, cat enclosure.

It is important to research the cat’s history before adoption, as it can give you valuable insight into the pet’s health and personality. Knowing this information can help ensure that you are taking home a healthy, happy animal. Next we will look at signs of poor health or unhappiness in cats.

Newly Adopted Cat Behavior

Changes in appetite, weight loss, and lethargy can all be signs of an underlying issue. Also, watch for behavioral changes such as aggression or withdrawal which may signal distress. Be aware of stress indicators like excessive grooming or hiding which could point to an issue needing attention.

Look for Physical Symptoms

It is essential to pay close attention to the physical condition of your new pet when bringing them home from the shelter. Keep an eye out for any changes in their appetite – either eating too much or not enough – as this can be a sign of illness or unhappiness.

Weight loss should also be monitored carefully; if you notice sudden drops in weight then consult with your vet immediately. Lethargy and fatigue are other potential signs that something might not be right with your cat’s health so take note if they seem more sluggish than usual and seek medical advice if necessary.

Watch for Cat Behavior Changes

Behavioral changes can also indicate poor health or unhappiness in cats so keep a close eye on how they interact with people and other animals around them. Aggression towards humans and other pets may mean there is something wrong while withdrawn behavior could suggest depression-like symptoms requiring further investigation by a professional veterinarian.

If you notice any significant shifts in attitude then it would be wise to get them checked out sooner rather than later as some issues can worsen over time without proper treatment.

Be Aware of Stress Indicators

cat urinating on bed

When it comes to signs of poor health or unhappiness, look for physical symptoms, watch for behavioral changes and be aware of stress indicators such as inappropriate urinating. Next, we’ll discuss potential issues with other pets and people in the home.

Recap: When taking on the responsibilities of an adopted cat, look out for physical symptoms such as changes in appetite or weight loss, behavioral changes like aggression or withdrawal and stress indicators like excessive grooming. Monitor these signs closely to ensure your new pet is healthy and happy.

Potential Issues with existing Pets and People in the Home

When bringing home any new cat into a house with existing pets and people, it is important to do so slowly and carefully. Cats can be easily overwhelmed by too much stimulation at once, so take the time to introduce them gradually in order to avoid any potential issues.

Introduce the other cats in the house one at a time if possible, allowing each cat their own space and time to adjust before bringing in another pet or person.

Observe interactions between cats and other animals (especially dogs and small children) or people when they are together in order to ensure that everyone is comfortable with each other. Watch for signs of aggression such as hissing, growling, swatting or biting from either party as these could indicate that the situation needs further monitoring or intervention.

It’s important to understand the potential issues that could arise when introducing a new cat into its new space, including interactions with existing pets and your family members.

Financial Commitment of Cat Adoption

Cat adoption is an exciting experience, but it’s important to understand the financial commitment involved. Veterinary costs are essential for keeping your cat healthy and happy.

Even indoor cats require shots, spaying/neutering, flea treatments and other preventative care and it can all add up quickly. It’s also important to be prepared for unexpected medical bills in case of illness or injury.

Understand Veterinary Costs Involved

Before taking on a new kitty, research the average cost of veterinary services in your area so you know what to expect when it comes time for check-ups and treatments. Ask your veterinarian about any discounts they may offer as well as payment plans if needed.

Prepare for Unexpected Expenses

Unexpected medical expenses can arise at any time with cats just like with humans – illnesses or injuries that require treatment can come out of nowhere. Make sure you have enough money saved up in case something happens so you don’t have to worry about affording necessary care while dealing with an emergency situation.

Plan for Long-Term Medical Care

Cats need ongoing care throughout their lives which includes food, litter, toys and other supplies – all of which adds up over time. Budgeting ahead will help ensure that you’re able to provide everything your new pet needs without breaking the bank down the line.

Consider setting aside some money each month specifically for long-term cat care expenses so there’s always funds available when needed most.


Is it normal to feel regret after adopting a cat?

Yes, caring for an indoor cat is a lot of responsibility so it is normal to feel regret after bringing your new pet home. This can be due to various reasons such as the cost of caring for a pet, the amount of time and effort needed for its upkeep, or even feeling overwhelmed by the responsibility that comes with having an animal companion.
It is important to remember that these feelings are natural and should not be seen as failure; instead, they can help focus your attention on how best to care for your new pet in order to ensure both their wellbeing and yours.

What to look out for when adopting a cat?

When you adopt a cat, it is important to consider the breed and age of the animal. Some breeds are more suited to being an indoor cat than others, whilst some need more activity and playtime to remain fit and healthy, so be sure to choose one that fits your lifestyle. Additionally, kittens require more care and attention than adult cats do.
Consider how much time you have available for grooming, feeding, and playing with cat to build the bond between the two of you. It’s also important to make sure the cat has been spayed or neutered if they haven’t already been done by their previous owner or the animal shelter.
Finally, research any health issues associated with the breed before making a decision as some may require special medical attention or diet restrictions in order to stay healthy.

What is the 3 3 3 rule for rescue cats?

The 3-3-3 rule for rescue cats is a guideline to help ensure the successful transition of a rescued cat into its new home. It involves three weeks of quarantine, three weeks of gradual introduction to other pets in the home, and three months before introducing them to unfamiliar people or environments.
During this time, it’s important that the cat receives plenty of love and attention from their new family so they can learn to trust humans again. This will also give them time to adjust and become comfortable with their new surroundings. Following these steps will help create an environment where both you and your pet can thrive.

What should you not do when adopting a cat?

When you adopt a cat, it is important not to make any sudden changes in their environment. This includes changing their food or litter box suddenly from what they’ve grown used to at the animal shelter.
Once settled in his new home be careful when introducing any other animals into the household without proper introduction and supervision.
Many houseplants are safe for cats but some are toxic. Identify and check your indoor plants to make sure they are cat friendly.
It is also important not to neglect your cat’s health care needs such as regular vet visits and vaccinations. Lastly, do not leave your new cat alone for extended periods of time; cats need companionship and stimulation from their owners. By following these simple guidelines, you can ensure that your cat will have a safe and happy home.


Researching the cat’s history and looking for signs of poor health or unhappiness are key steps in ensuring that you’re making the right decision. Additionally, potential issues with other pets and people in your home should be taken into account before adoption.

Finally, don’t forget about the financial commitment associated with owning a pet – make sure you have enough resources to provide proper care for your new furry friend.

We can all help cats in need by choosing to adopt a cat. By understanding how to keep neighbourhood cats out of our yards and providing proper care for indoor cats, we can ensure that every kitty has access to safe and loving homes and not running wild.

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