Cats are one of the most popular pets around the world and can be the perfect companion for many. But, before you decide to adopt a cat or kitten there are some questions you should ask yourself.
Can I afford a cat or kitten?
There are certain things your cat will need, like: food, treats, litter box, litter, scooper, cat toys, brushes and grooming tools, cat carrier, collar, identification tag, and medical care. If you adopt a young kitten, it is very important to start off on the right foot and get your kitty proper medical care. Immunizations are very important for both kittens and adult cats, but kittens will need a series of immunizations (usually three) in the beginning. Annual check-ups are also very important for the health of your cat.
Will you be able to afford medical expenses if your cat becomes ill? Many people get cats and then at the first sign of illness and potential medical expense, they take the cat to a shelter. Others wait until the last minute to take their cat to the vet. This denial of proper medical care is cruel to the animal and can actually end up costing more than if the cat was taken to the vet at the first sign of illness.
Do I have time for a cat?
While cats are independent, they do need love, nurturing, time to play and get exercise. If you do decide to get a cat, you will need to be able to spend quality time each and every day with your new family member.
Will my cat be indoors or outdoors?
For safety and longevity it is best to keep your cat indoors, or primarily indoors. Generally indoor cats live longer than outdoor only cats. This is due to several factors: outdoor cats are at a higher risk for some diseases, assault from other animals or humans, potential for getting hit by a vehicle, and other unknowns outdoor cats might face.
If you do choose to have an outdoor cat, do you have ample space? If you live in an apartment or home with a very small yard, having an outdoor only cat is probably not a good idea.
If you decide to keep your cat strictly indoors, is there enough room in your home? While cats donít require as much room as dogs, they do need room to run, roam, play and jump. Our former cats editor gave the recommendation that any home smaller than 700 sq. feet is too small for one cat.
Can I deal with litter box issues?
Cats do tend to be very clean animals and instinctually bury their waste. You will, however, need to clean out your catís litter box. And there could potentially be accidents. If a cat is stressed, something changes with the litter box (type of litter or placement), or if a cat becomes ill, s/he could have an accident outside the litter box. Sometimes when a cat is ill, s/he will go outside the litter box as a way of telling us something is wrong.
What about cat hair?
Cats do shed. Are you willing to faithfully brush your cat and deal with the cat hair that comes with your precious cat? On your furniture? Clothes? Etc.? Keeping your home immaculate will take a bit more work.
Can I accept that my furniture might potentially get clawed, scratched or damaged?
You can train your cat not to claw the furniture (rather than declawing, which is considered cruel by many), however if you donít your cat might use your furniture as a scratching post.
What about other potentially bad behaviors?
Cats are usually very easy to train, and oftentimes come to us already knowledgeable about how to use a litter box, scratching post, etc. There might be situations, however, when you will need to train your cat or deal with the consequences of not doing so. You need to be willing to address these possible bad behaviors and not get angry with the cat. Dislike the behavior, not the cat.
Can you deal with illness or death?
Itís a fact of life that cats have a much shorter life span than humans do. So if you choose to have cats, you will at some point have to deal with a possible illness and ultimately the death of your cat. Will you be able to handle this, both emotionally and financially?
Cats are wonderful, awesome, intelligent, beautiful loving creatures that can bring immense joy, happiness and love to your life. I cannot imagine life without cats. Studies have shown that people with pets have lower blood pressure, are happier and tend to live longer. However, before you decide to bring a cat into your life, please be sure to carefully consider this decision. Make sure you have the time, patience, finances, and love to devote to caring for a cat. When you adopt a cat it should be forever, not just while s/heís cute and healthy. It should be for the right reasons.