Adopting a cat can be a profoundly rewarding experience, and with the right planning it can be a great one for everyone involved. Here are some things to consider to determine if you're properly prepared to introduce a new feline member to your family.

Make Some Kitty and Me Time

All pets need time to interact with and get to know their human companions — even independent cats. And all animals can benefit from a little training and, of course, plenty of play.

If you're concerned about adopting a single cat, you might want to consider adopting two. Cats are more social than many people think, and the company one cat can give another can keep them from becoming bored or stressed and can help them adjust to a new home. Plus, two cats means double the love for you! Dogs and humans can also provide companionship to a newly adopted cat.

Budget for Your New Pet

Always keep in mind that there are costs associated with living with a cat that go well beyond food and litter. Other costs include toys, grooming, bedding, petsitting, and routine visits to the veterinarian. Veterinarian bills can also add up if your cat gets sick or has an accident. It might be a good idea to invest in pet health insurance to keep expenses from getting out of hand. Insurance is also a great way to cover vaccinations and routine checkups, giving you peace of mind about your pet's continued health.

You should always have a reliable person or service who can look after your pet if you go away on vacation. The caretaker doesn't necessarily have to be a friend or relative, just someone reliable who will take care of your pet properly. Either way, you should plan on some expenses related to petsitting.

Budget for Space, Too

Cats like to roam. They need a place to call their own where they can get away from it all, enjoy soft surfaces, and soak up some sun! They also need a dedicated eating and drinking area and a place for their litter box, preferably away from dining and food preparation areas or where children play.

All Aboard!

If you share your home with others, especially children or other pets, you'll want to make sure that they're comfortable with a cat or kitten joining the household. Be aware of anyone in your household who has allergies or anxieties before beginning the adoption process. It's also important to follow any instructions provided by your shelter or rescue organization when introducing a new adopted cat to your home.

When adopting a cat, there's no certain right or wrong time to bring a new cat or kitten into your life, but the tips above may help you make the right decision for you — one that will create countless fond memories for years to come. As with so many other major life decisions, it pays to be prepared.