10 things to consider before getting a cat

Before running out of the RSPCA with an armful of kittens, it’s important to think about how a cat will affect and change your lifestyle. These ten considerations will help you begin to understand what owning a cat will mean for your and your family.

22 Apr 2015 By Leanne Philpott Comments

1. Do I have time for a cat?

While cats are less dependant than dogs, they still need time, energy and money in order to ensure they are healthy and happy. If you work full-time or travel often, it may be difficult to dedicate the right amount of time to your feline friend.

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2. Is this a family decision?

It’s vital to check with the people in your household if they are comfortable owning a cat. While it may technically be “your cat” or “your kid’s cat”, there is still something that everyone should do to contribute to caring for a cat, whether it’s feeding, grooming or cleaning the kitty litter.

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3. What will Fido and Cleopatra think?

If you already own a cat or a dog it’s important to think about how a new addition to the family will affect them. Your current pet may become territorial or aggressive towards a new feline companion. If you have a small pet like a fish or a hampster, you will need to think about how a cat might view these pets (As a lunch entrée, probably!) and take steps to protect them if necessary.

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4. Am I prepared to cover the expenses?

Flea control, tinkling mice toys, food, collars, scratching posts and vet bills all add up. While the cost of a cat may seem like a pittance in comparison to a Great Dane, the weekly cost of food and unexpected vet bills may just surprise you. It is important to think about your budget when considering owning a cat.

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5. Which breed should I choose?

Long-hair vs. short hair. Siamese vs. Russian Blue. These are important questions! There are different personality traits associated with different breeds of cat and you will need to research which breed of cat is right for you.

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6. Where can I get a cat?

There are many places where you can buy or adopt a cat. While traditionally people would head to a pet store to pick up a kitty, there are new ways to find your perfect feline companion. You can also adopt cats and kittens from rescue shelters and the RSPCA, these cats are not as expensive as those in pet stores and offer a wider range of breeds, ages and personalities. If you are after a specific breed of cat you may also wish to check with registered breeders.

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7. Cats vs kittens

While you might be inclined to go straight for the kittens (and who wouldn’t, they’re adorable!), it’s important to remember that kittens are like any other young animal; they need constant attention and training. Lessons such as “the Persian rug is not a bathroom” and “don’t scratch the furniture” do not come naturally to a cat and will have to be taught over time. Older cats are more likely to be aware of these “house-rules” and will require less frequent feeding and attention.

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8. Moggy or purebred?

While purebred cats are more likely to have recognisable behavioral traits, all cats will have their own unique personalities. A moggy cat is just as likely to be the perfect cat for you as a Sphinx cat or Ragdoll, perhaps even more as they are hardier than purebred cats and do not suffer the same genetic diseases. Ultimately, it is up to you to determine whether you wish to purchase a purebred cat or adopt a moggy.

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9. Do you live in a cat-friendly home or neighborhood?

Before bringing a cat home, it is important to think about the space you live in. Will your cat be indoors most of the time, in which case are the plenty of places for them to lie in the sun, or nooks and crannies to hide themselves away? Do you have a garden for your cat to play in? If you live in a busy neighborhood it may be better to keep your cat indoors to keep them safely away from traffic.

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10. If the cat scratches your great grandmother’s antique sideboard, will you care too much?

Cats scratch things. It’s going to happen. Every cat goes through what is called “scratching exercises” where they might kneed the carpet or claw at the sofa. To avoid this you will need to provide your cat with a scratching post or regular nail clipping. That being said though, accidents happen! And it’s important to remember this when determining whether your household is right for a cat.

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If you can answer these questions honestly and reflect upon how these ten considerations will impact your lifestyle, you will be one step closer to determining whether a cat is right for you.

Have you recently brought a cat or kitten into your home? How’s it going? We’d love to hear your stories.

 

22 Apr 2015 By Leanne Philpott Comments

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