Pets can be an important part of family life, but knowing the right time to bring an animal into your home is tricky. To learn more about how parents can tell if their kids are ready for a pet, we talked to Gina DiNardo, a spokesperson at the American Kennel Club; KC Theisen, director of pet care issues for The Humane Society of the United States; Lisl Fair, author of "Good Enough Parenting" and Colleen Pelar, author of "Living with Kids and Dogs ... Without Losing Your Mind."

Here they offer their insight on what you should know before adding a pet to your family:



The Application Process

How can I adopt?

If you are interested in adopting a cat from Cat Posse, please take a few moments to fill out our adoption application. The process may appear more involved than you expected; we don't do this to frustrate you, but to give you the opportunity to tell us about what you are looking for in a companion animal, and what your current lifestyle is like. We want to give each or our cats the best possible chance of finding a permanent and loving home.

Please answer all application questions. If a question does not apply to you, just write in "n/a". A complete application helps us know which of our cats might be a good match for you and your family.

What happens after I submit my application?

Once your application has been reviewed, a representative of the group will contact you. We can then make arrangements to introduce you to our cats and help you in selecting an appropriate companion animal for your family.

Again, Cat Posse's goal is to provide our animals with loving, permanent homes; we want you to know that it is not our intention to make this a difficult process. Please keep in mind that it is stressful and heartbreaking for everyone involved (including the cat) when an adoption doesn't work out and a cat has to come back to us.

The adoption donation fee for all cats is $120.00, which includes FIV/FELV Test, FVRCP, Deworm, flea control, Spay/Neuter, Microchip, and Breakaway collar. If you are able to donate more than the $120.00, it would be greatly appreciated; the extra funds will be used to help pay for medical costs for cats in our care.