Am I ready to be a cat owner? 5 questions to ask yourself
It happens in a variety of ways.
You’re out driving and decide there’s really no harm in stopping by the local animal shelter — it’s only to look!
Your friend’s cat gave birth and a few of the kittens still need a home, and you’re starting to cave to her pleas for you to take one.
A relative is moving and his new home restricts pets. His cat looks at you with sad eyes and emits a soft meow that sounds surprisingly like, “Please take me home.”
Whatever scenario tempts you to adopt a feline friend, ask yourself these five questions before making the commitment.
Am I ready for a long-term relationship?
Cats can live up to 20 years. That means you’ll need to scoop the litter box more than 2,000 times, if you only do it twice per week.
Feed your cat twice a day? You’re looking at filling that food bowl more than 14,000 times.
Keep in mind that you’ll also need to play with your kitty every day to keep it active.
Do I own anything expensive or new?
Cats can be the reason you don’t keep nice things. Cats have claws and they need to scratch. Have fancy new furniture? Keep in mind that your cat may sharpen her nails on your new couch.
Kitties also love to climb, so if you don’t keep an eye out, you may find holes in your screen doors or windows and snags in your curtains.
Of course, you can always get your cat declawed, but that’s a controversial issue all its own.
Can I afford to care for a cat?
Kitty expenses include more than just food and litter. Think of all the veterinary costs that accompany your furry friend: spaying or neutering it, declawing it, vaccinating it, and buying it scratching posts. Your first year with the cat can cost hundreds of dollars.
Each year after that, vaccinations and heartworm, leukemia and FIV tests can cost about $150.
Not sure what vaccinations cats need? Check this list.
Do I have allergies?
Suffering from cat allergies doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t own one — you just need to look for one that’s hypoallergenic. Some cat breeds have less dander and produce less allergen-filled saliva than others.
Some hypoallergenic cat breeds include Balinese, Cornish Rex, Devon Rex and Oriental Shorthair.
Does everyone in my house want a cat?
Make sure everyone is on the same page about cat ownership before you bring one home. If you have children, be sure to know how they react to cats before adopting one. If your child likes to chase cats around and hold them all the time, you might decide against a feline or find a very tame, very patient one.
How do your existing pets react to cats? Think twice if your dog thinks all kitties are new chew toys.
Alternatively, know how the cat reacts to children and other animals. Some cats don’t like children or other animals and are best suited to be the only pet in the household.
Read more about how to choose the right cat.