Cats make wonderful pets and bringing one into your home is an exciting event. Some cats are very affectionate and would love to curl on your lap or cuddle with you on the couch. Others have an independent streak but are still fun to have around, perching on high places and just watching you go through your day-to-day task.
Regardless of whether you want a charming and loving or easygoing companion, don’t go out and get a cat without evaluating properly. Being a cat owner is a big leap that can change your life, your loved ones, and your potential feline pet. If you’re thinking of getting a cat, here are the top you should consider to make that final decision.
1. Owning a cat is a long-term commitment.
Perhaps, the most important question you should answer is, are you ready to commit? You might be surprised but can live from 15 to 20 years, which means you’ll have them for a considerable span of your life. Some people get a cat, only to abandon them a few months or years later at an animal shelter or worse, on the streets. If you aren’t sure, you can adopt an older cat instead. While they may not be as frisky and tend to be quieter, the amount of love they’re willing to bestow is much the same.
2. Having a cat can be costly.
Like with any other pet, owning a cat means you need to provide for her needs. That means spending on high-quality food, toys, accessories, litter, vaccines, deworming, and other routine medical expenses, vaccines, and emergencies treatments. On average, you may need to spend $700 to $1,000 annually, excluding emergencies which can balloon up to $2,000. Assess whether you can afford it, as all these will be essential for the cat’s overall well-being.
3. Your cat must be spayed or neutered.
Unless your gearing towards building a feline colony or establishing a business of selling cats, know that your cat must be spayed or neutered. It involves the surgical removal of his or her reproductive organs. Don’t worry, as it’s a healthy operation, which can help your cat help live a longer, healthier life. You make sure that your queen or female cat won’t end up having unplanned litters (up to six kittens twice a year!) that you won’t be able to take care of. Or, if you have a tomcat, you prevent him from overpopulation of stray cats after he’s been neutered.
4. Cats have natural habits.
Cats have natural habits that are ingrained in them. However, most people view these habits as destructive, not taking into account why their cats actually do them.
For instance, cats scratch a lot, usually resulting in damage in furniture, upholstery, and curtains. Yet, felines have a need to scratch to mark objects using the scent glands on their paws, to eliminate dead parts of their nails, and to stretch their bodies. They also have to keep their claws sharp as they use them for their defenses.
If you will get a cat, only to curb their scratching habits by declawing them. You may need to rethink getting one as a pet. Declawing have plusses and minuses, with the former only applying to their human guardians, while felines suffer all the drawbacks. Luckily, there are safer alternatives to declawing, such as getting a scratching post, regular nail trimming, and behavioral training, to keep you, your cat, and your home happy.
5. Cats are predators.
Don’t be shocked to wake up one day seeing your cat offering a small gift in the form of a dead bird, mouse, or insect. Cats are natural predators, and it’s innate for them to hunt. Their strong instinct will still show up, despite being domestic cats. With that, you need to reduce their prey drive by providing them with enough toys and supplying good-quality food.
You also need to take extra measures to ensure your cat can’t physically get other small pets you might be keeping in the house like birds, hamsters, guinea pigs, and bunnies. Proper introduction at a young age may help your cat learn to live harmoniously with your other pets.
6. A litter box is essential.
Cats are picky when doing their business and they need a clean place whenever they need to ‘go.” With that, getting two litter boxes for a single cat is important. The work doesn’t end there, though. You need to decide which type of litter to take, whether to get an open, close, or automated container. Of course, you also need to replace the litter and clean the box regularly to minimize its odor and keep your home smelling clean, fresh.
7. Cats love schedules.
If you’re a person who loves to do random things at any time, cats like it otherwise. They are creatures of habit, which means they thrive better if they have a daily routine. While they don’t have any clocks, they know when it’s time to play or exercise or to eat. You must respect the schedules as much as possible or have someone in your household to attend to your cat’s needs when you’re not at home.
8. Cats should be kept indoors.
Letting cats outside is a big no-no as it puts them in a lot of danger. Aside from potential breeding, cats may contract worms, fleas, and viruses. Going outdoors also makes a cat vulnerable to being attacked by predators or larger animals, getting into accidents, or suffering from injuries. As such, you must be ready to keep your cat inside your home as much as possible for her protection.
9. Cats need a forever home.
Are you renting an apartment? Is your landlord open for tenants to keep pets? Can you pay the extra pet monthly fee or deposit? Are you planning to move to a new place anytime soon? Do you see yourself settling overseas permanently?
Some cats are surrendered to animal shelters as their owners only sneaked them in, only to be discovered by the landlord. Others have owners who decide to migrate, but can’t bring them along. Remember, cats need a forever loving home. Only get a cat when you are 100% sure you can accommodate them wherever you go.
10. Cats have needs.
Having a cat is seemingly like having a kid. While you don’t send your cat to school, she needs behavioral, potty, and crate training. Though your cat can clean herself, you still need to brush or groom her at least once a week to keep her coat healthy. Of course, you must observe her meal times, playtime, and regular vet consultations. Plus, they also need your quality time to grow healthy and stay happy.
Are you ready to own a cat? The answer to that question all boils down to you. Take all these things into consideration to help you get a smart decision. What’s certain is that if you decide to get a cat, she will reward all the love, care, and attention you’ll provide her tenfold, promising you a longtime and fun companionship.