Long Beach Pet Adoption Tips
If you have been waiting for the perfect time to add to your family, you’ve probably been putting a lot of thought into the type of animal that will make the perfect addition.
There are a lot of questions you need to ask yourself and things you need to take into consideration if you want to adopt a pet. The answers to these will tell you if you’re ready to adopt or if the time isn’t quite right for you.
Thankfully, we had the opportunity to talk to those that know a lot about pet adoption in Long Beach: amazing rescue and shelter volunteers!
We connected with Director and Co-Founder of Helen Sanders CatPAWS, Deborah Felin.
We spoke to Susan Peszat who is a lead volunteer at Long Beach Animal Care Services and who has an amazing 22 years of experience working in rescue.
We also spoke to cat specialist Janet McWhorter who also volunteers at LBACS. She is a Long Beach resident with some great insight into the ins and outs of cat adoption.
Keep reading for advice and pro-tips on adopting a pet in Long Beach!
What To Consider When Adopting A Pet In Long Beach
Is this the right pet for your lifestyle?
A pet is a long term commitment, and choosing one because it’s cute is definitely the wrong way to go about it.
We think that Deborah says it best:
“The most important thing for a potential adopter to recognize and internalize is that by adopting they truly have a life in their hands, a sentient, feeling being completely dependent on them, who trusts them and for whom they are responsible. It is a rewarding journey but one not to be entered lightly.”
Think about the way you like to live your life and how much time you have to give a pet.
Cats need love and attention, but if you work late a few nights a week it won’t affect them the way it will a dog.
Are you an active, outdoorsy type who loves hiking the Long Beach trails? Then a very small dog might not be the right fit. If you’re lazy with bursts of energy, then a high energy dog won’t get the exercise it needs and can turn destructive. Take Susan’s pro-tip to heart:
“Research the breed or breed mix of a potential pet & make sure they're a fit for your life.”
Where you live is an important part of your lifestyle to keep in mind. Susan has a reminder before you adopt:
“A key question is, are you able to have a pet where you live & are there any size, breed or number of pets restrictions?”
If you rent, it is very important that you speak to the landlord, and find out what the restrictions are regarding pets. The City of Long Beach itself does not have any breed specific legislation, but your landlord may.
Is everyone on board, and can you handle the challenges?
Adopting a pet definitely requires everyone in the household being on board.
You can’t just adopt a dog or cat and expect things to stay exactly the same. As Susan states:
“The first days, weeks, even months with a new pet can be an adjustment period for everyone. Will you be patient with a pet having potty accidents in your house, chewing the corner of your table, lots of barking, using your couch as a scratching post? [Or what about] fur everywhere on your furniture, floors and clothes?”
Let’s face it; there will be extra vacuuming because animals are going to shed. A dog may have a few accidents as it adjusts to being in a new home. Pets are wonderful, but they will shake-up your routine. Is this something you are ready for?
Are you ready for the expense?
There’s more to pet care than just making sure they have food and water. There are also regular veterinary visits. In addition to these, are you ready to handle the financial burden if there is a medical emergency? Janet recommends getting a pet’s medical history before adopting, which can avoid expenses you may not be able to handle:
“Ask for the medical history of the animal. This is so important! Just because the cat looks healthy does not mean he/she has always been healthy. You don’t want to be surprised after you take the cat home that he/she has liver or kidney disease and needs a special expensive cat food for the rest of its life."
Having a pet will certainly make your expenses go up, and this is something you need to keep in mind before proceeding.
Get to know the animal before you make a decision
Dogs and cats have very distinctive personalities, and some of them might not blend well with yours. Everyone in your household should meet the pet under consideration before a decision is made. Janet strongly recommends this to avoid personality clashes between the humans and the animals:
“Don’t just like a cat by how pretty or handsome the animal is. Make an appointment to meet the cat. Interact with the cat by petting him/her, start with a gentle, forward touch where the cat can see your hand and smell you, pet the cheeks, head and shoulders, play with the cat, hold him/her if the cat will allow you to. If he/she purrs, head butts you, makes biscuits with its paws and interacts back, these are excellent signs that the cat is very happy and the chemistry is good between you and him/her.”
While Janet refers specifically to cats, this holds true for dogs as well. Take the dog out on a leash, pet them, and see how well you interact together.
Be prepared for the adoption process
Do a little research on the way adoptions are handled at the shelter or rescue group you are working with. Some will do a home visit before allowing one of their animals into your care. Others have an application for and may call in with occasional checks for the first several months. Janet shared a detailed description of the adoption process and the foster-to-adopt process with cats at Long Beach Animal Care Services:
“The process for adopting at LBACS is simple. We require the person to complete an adoption application (1 page) and [ask for] a copy of one’s driver’s license. If the cat is not spayed or neutered yet, we also request signatures on a foster application as well. A foster-to-adopt program is when the person/family takes a cat home until the date arrives for the cat to be altered. They take him/her back for the surgery, then pick him/her up later that day, then the cat is officially adopted and can be taken home. During the foster period (usually a couple weeks), if the cat is hurt or ill, the person/family is financially responsible for taking care of the cat.”
When it comes to cat adoption, Janet has several other caveats:
“A ”pro tip” is if a person has a bad past of hoarding cats/dogs or hurting or mistreating animals, they will not be able to adopt at most shelters or agencies.”
“Another tip is that many shelters or agencies are against declawing cats. Some will not let you adopt a cat if they have that question on their application and you answer yes, you will declaw. My personal tip is to please keep your cat indoors!”
We owe a huge ‘thank you’ to these wonderful volunteers who shared their insight into adopting a pet in Long Beach.
Now, are you ready to adopt? Bringing a new pet into your home is a big decision but certainly something to celebrate. Don’t forget to share the big news with Pet Waggin’!