Adopting a cat is one of the most rewarding things you can do. Cats can provide years of fun, companionship and affection. But, there are some things that you should consider before pursuing an adoption. Cats have a reputation as independent, virtually care-free pets. While cats do have an independent streak, they are anything but care-free. They also can be more expensive to own than you anticipate. Below are some of the things you should think about before adopting a cat.
Cats Usually Live Longer Than Dogs
Cats that are well cared for typically live up to twenty years according to the ASPCA . That's wonderful for people who value their cat as a friend, companion and playmate. But that also means that you have to commit to your cat for the long-term. Many people get a kitten or new cat and enjoy it for a few weeks and then become bored with it. If you're going to adopt a cat you need to understand that owning a cat entails many trips to the vet. You will have to clean and change the litter box countless times over the course of the cat's life. Some people find that this unpleasant task becomes less and less tolerable as time passes.
Cats Cost Money
First, you have to pay adoption or purchase fees. If you adopt a cat from a shelter or rescue group, the fees will be minimal, but that is just the beginning of your investment. Cats need regular vet visits to stay healthy. Cats need to keep their shots up to date. In order to prevent urinary tract infections and to provide your cat with the proper nutrients, you need to buy high quality cat food instead of the cheap, cut-rate cat food available in most retail stores. Good cat food can cost $40 or more a month, but it will reduce your vet bills over the long haul. Add up the cat food, vet visits, shots and other expenses over a cat's lifetime and you're looking at a substantial financial investment.
Cats Require Time and Attention
Cats are famous for their independent attitudes, but don't mistake their apparent independence as an indication that cats don't need a significant amount of attention from you. In fact, you must play with your cat every day, pet her every day and brush her frequently. Most authorities recommend that you devote a least an hour total each day to interacting with your cat. You can spend this time in small chunks, but to keep your cat happy and well-adjusted, playtime with your cat should total 60 minutes or more each day. Some vets recommend that anyone considering adopting a cat should consider adopting two cats. Two cats will entertain each other and provide mutual companionship. Another thing to keep in mind is that nearly all cats shed. Many cats cough up hairballs no matter what you do to prevent them. As they get older, cats sometimes get sick. The upshot is that you will almost certainly have to spend some time cleaning up after your cat.
Cats Must be Trained
Fortunately, cats pretty much train themselves to use litter boxes, but they still need to be trained regarding other things. If you don't want your cat on your counters and tables, you must train him to stay off. Cats must also be trained not to scratch furniture and carpeting and to scratch toys and scratching posts instead. All of this training requires a great deal of time and enormous patience. Some people declaw their cats to prevent them from scratching but many authorities recommend that cat owners not do this as the procedure is painful and leaves the cat virtually defenseless.
Introducing a New Cat Takes Time
If you already have a cat or dog, you can't simply bring the new cat home and turn him loose to get acquainted with your current pets. Instead, according to the Animal Behavior Society you must keep the new cat isolated in a place that he feels safe and gradually introduce him to his new housemates. Again, this process takes time, effort and patience.
The Bottom Line
It should be clear from the points above that there are some important factors to consider before adopting a cat. Cats require a significant time commitment and there are some costs involved in cat ownership. But most people find that a cat in the house is a pure joy. Owning a cat is a lot of fun and no other pet is more soothing and relaxing. For many people the above considerations are minor annoyances compared to the happiness that a cat brings into their lives. But if you look over each of these considerations and decide that any or all of them are more than you would want to deal with for more than a decade, then it might be best that you not adopt a cat.
Stacy Gianakura is an avid blogger and writes for Guest Blogs Galore.