If you have been toying with the idea of getting a feline friend, they make great pets. However, like humans, cats have different personalities. Some are affectionate and demand much attention. Others are independent and do not require much human interaction.
Cats’ personalities are embedded in their genetics and their early life experiences. For example, a cat who survived abuse as a kitten might be more disinclined to seek close human contact than one that comes from a loving, nurturing environment. Regardless of which you prefer, getting a cat is a responsibility you need to be prepared for. Here are four things you should know and think through before bringing a cat home:
A cat’s needs
Before you can consider getting a cat, you must understand what keeping a cat requires from you. As with owning any pet, that animal is dependent on you for a loving home, food to eat, and a place to sleep. In addition, cats get sick and might need veterinary attention or daily supplement, including kidney support for cats. They also require annual vaccinations to protect them from diseases.
Think about what you need to buy to make your cat’s life comfortable. Start with cat food. A look in the pet food aisle of your local grocery store reveals the wide range of cat food products available. How will you know which one to buy? Some cat foods are inexpensive, while others cost more than you would spend on a meal for yourself. Do not let price be your only guide, as it is not necessarily linked to quality. Many brands like Vet’s Best, Scruffy Paws Nutrition, and Nutri Vet offer a large variety of organic treats for your fur friends that are affordable and of high quality at the same time.
Moist cat food is generally regarded as best for your cat as it contains more water than semi-moist and dry foods. Cats tend to get most of their water intake from their food. Look for food with real meat ingredients as they are more nutritious.
You will also need a litterbox for your kitty to use for its business. Some cat toys might be advantageous as cats tend to scratch and bite furniture and other valuables when they are bored. Finally, ensure that you have a cat bed and food and water bowls ready for when you bring your kitty home.
Your home environment
Is your home conducive to cat ownership? While there are no hard and fast rules for an ideal feline home environment, several factors should cross your mind. Many people think bringing a cat home will not have any appreciable effect on their household when the opposite might be true.
Cats can be quite defensive and less forgiving than dogs when handled roughly by small hands. However, bringing a cat into a home with younger children is not impossible, provided you have taught them how to be gentle and affectionate toward animals.
Consider if anyone in your household has a cat allergy. The last thing you want to do is bring a cat home as a family member and then discover that a loved one is severely allergic to it. Cat allergies are not caused by cat hair but by a protein in cat saliva. This protein covers a cat’s coat because they lick themselves as part of their grooming routine. One way to reduce someone’s allergic reaction to cats is to brush your feline frequently.
Cats can be very territorial, and existing felines might not take kindly to the arrival of a new kitty. Dogs and cats are notorious natural enemies, and how your pooch receives a cat might not go as smoothly as you would hope. A new cat needs to establish its place in the household’s pecking order, and it could take a while for this to happen.
While you should expect some hiccups as everyone gets used to each other, things tend to settle within a few weeks. Once all your pets realize that a new cat does not mean you love them any less, they will accept the newcomer. However, it is advisable to be around for the first few days to monitor how everyone is getting along and deal with any conflict situations.
Do you have sufficient time to care for a cat? While they are independent and less needy than dogs, cats have needs, too. This includes grooming, playing, and feeding. If you have enough time to care for a cat and keep it happy and healthy, it could be an ideal pet.
If you have to go away on occasion, what will happen to your cat? If it is only for a day or two, ask a neighbor to stop by each day, check if the feline is okay, and ensure there is plenty of food and water available. For more prolonged absences, ensure you have the name and number of a good cattery. Some cats tend to wander off if their owners are gone for protracted periods.