There are plenty of reasons to bring a cat into your life. These four legged friends provide companionship, comfort and there’s even evidence to suggest that they give mental health a boost. Adopting any animal is a big step, though, and you should always think carefully before making such a long-term commitment.
#1 Will you be at home enough?
While it’s mostly true that cats are more independent than dogs, they will need some company and can’t be left on their own for lengthy periods of time. Isolated cats will become depressed and restless, which culminates in destruction. Cats must always have access to clean water, a litter tray and food, but otherwise they shouldn’t be left for more than a day at a time. If that’s unavoidable, consider whether you can have a friend or relative drop in.
#2 Does anyone in the house have allergies?
Cat allergies are one of the most common allergies in the world, but they can be deceptive. Many people will be absolutely fine playing with a cat in the open air, but bringing one into the home can trigger sneezing, watering eyes and even outbreaks of hives. It’s possible to get yourself or a family member tested for a cat allergy, but it’s even simpler to visit a friend’s cat indoors and see if there’s any reaction.
#3 Have you thought about their care?
Any pet comes with a duty of care, which will involve frequent trips to the vet. Microchipping, vaccines and neutering are all required. Veterinary practices like easyvet.com will perform all of these procedures (as well as taking care of any health problems that develop), but this needs to be factored into your calculations. Some people budget for vet bills, others take out insurance.
#4 Do you have any other pets?
If you have other pets in the house it’s advisable to test the waters before adding a cat into the mix. Cats don’t always hit it off with other cats, and things can be even more complicated if you own a dog or a bird. Socialize the animals and make sure that they meet before you bring the new addition home. If pets don’t get on it can be distressing for all parties, so this is something you should pay special attention to.
#5 Do you want an indoor or outdoor cat?
This is a contentious issue since cats that live outdoors are widely thought to enjoy a better quality of life, albeit one that’s more dangerous. Outdoor cats are more frequently injured and can be killed by cars or even other animals. On the other hand, indoor cats tend to live much longer and healthier lives but require far more stimulation from their owners to thrive.
#6 Do you want a kitten or an older cat?
Kittens are cute and they allow owners to nurture a pet from the start of its life. They’re also incredibly high maintenance, aren’t house trained and can be extremely destructive! Older cats, on the other hand, are more prone to health problems, but come already fully house trained and are generally more placid.