Is a cat right for me?
Deciding to become an owner of a cat is not something that should be decided on spur of the moment. Some thought should be put into the decision.
Things to consider:
- The cost: Initially you will have to buy things like a litter box, scratching post, food bowls and other bits and pieces. Supplies of food and litter will need to be purchased regularly. There will be routine veterinarian costs for annual shots and check-ups and occasionally unplanned visits for illnesses or injuries.
- Owning the cat vs. being owned by the cat: Almost all cat owners would agree that there is no such thing as 'owning' a cat. The cat typically owns the 'owner'. They are loving and easy to care for pets but unlike dogs they do things in their own way and own time. For instance, you can train a cat to beg for a treat but if the cat doesn't feel like doing the trick at that moment, it won't. It's better to think of it as adding a new member to your family.
- Easy maintenance: Sure a cat is easy to take care of; but it's not completely trouble-free. You'll need to make sure the cat has plenty of water, food daily, and a clean litter box, as well as keeping up with the health exams. Although most cats do not demand tons of attention, they will still want your affection on a regular basis. Take care of these basic things and you will have a companion for life.
- Age of children: If you have small children you may want to wait to get a cat until your children are older. Even if they are accustom to having a pet in the house the added stress on the new cat may be too much. However, if you will be supervising every encounter between small child and cat you'll probably be all right.
- Other pets in the house: If you already have existing pets in the house you'll need to consider whether they will get along with a cat. Obvious problems would be birds and small rodents. Also, if you already have a cat and it has been a solitary pet for a long time, the transition of bringing in a new cat may be long and stressful. Generally, gentle dogs will do fine with a new cat companion but if the dog is aggressive or territorial this could pose problems.
- Potential allergies: Does anyone in your household have pet allergies?
If you have decided that a feline would fit perfectly into your family, there are still more things to consider...
Do you want a kitten or an adult cat?
The attraction of tiny mewing kittens is hard to resist, but kittens need a lot of attention. On the plus side, kittens adapt quickly to their surroundings. For many people, an adult cat is a wise choice.
Do you want a male cat or a female cat?
Both male and female felines can be equally playful and affectionate! Gender is based purely on personal preference.
You may be the perfect cat owner if you...
- Believe caring for a pet for 15 to 18 years does not seem like a lifetime.
- Look forward to having your ankles rubbed by an affectionate, hairy animal.
- Don't mind sharing your house with someone who will never clean up after him or herself.
- Love a housemate who will randomly and regularly entertain you with outrageous and silly antics (at his whim, not yours).
- Want to take care of someone every day.
- Like your lap warmed whenever you sit down.
- Would like to spend your extra money on pet food, toys, veterinary care, kitty litter and more kitty litter.
- Want to be welcomed with a soft purr of appreciation.
- Believe that spaying and neutering pets will help solve the pet overpopulation problem.
- Can't imagine leaving your devoted pet behind when you move.
- Want to keep an ID tag on your pets, so they can always get back to you no matter what.
- Enjoy unconditional love and constant companionship.