A cat can be a fantastic companion in your daily life. They take care of themselves most of the time, they don’t need to be taken out and they love to be cuddled (most of them anyway).
But there are also downsides so it is a good idea to get an overview of what to know before getting a cat.
There is at least a lot to look forward to, both the positive and the negative. Perhaps you are getting a kitten from some place or an older cat that has been abandoned. Maybe you get a cat that needs extra care. In any case you need to know what you are getting yourself into and what to expect.
First of all it would be a good idea to figure out what type of cat you would like to have. There are short haired cats and long haired cats. There are also cats that are naked as they put it. There are special breeds that need special care and there are normal house cats.
There are many choices but some of these choices can be made easy depending on which criteria you live by.
Your Life Situation
If you have a family, you need a breed that doesn’t run off when you enter the room, but one that tolerates more noise around them.
If you are at work all day and only home in the evening than a breed that needs a lot of care and companionship is neither a good solution.
If you don’t like to groom cats everyday than a long haired breed is nothing for you, because they need that type of care often.
But also other situations are important. If you are allergic to cats you perhaps shouldn’t start with a cat at all, or maybe have a cat that doesn’t require a lot of care, isn’t long haired and isn’t on your lap all day.
When you live near a highway or a busy street or in the middle of the city, than a cat that needs a lot of space to be active in is not a good option.
There are also other choices to make, such as will you get a kitten from someone who was so (un)lucky to get a nest of cats at home, or will you adopt a cat from a cat shelter. Many cats end up in cat shelters nowadays. In Norway we haven’t killed as many cats as in the rest of the world, but do know that cats in cat shelters in most countries end up being killed because nobody wants to adopt them.
Often these cats need a lot of extra care because they might have a chronic illness or have been mistreated and need alternative care, such as with missing legs, tails and similar.
Cats from shelters or animal protection could also be feral. Feral cats are anxious for people and noise. They will generally take longer to get used to you and others in your house and although possible, it will take a long time to get them to trust you.
Another question to ask yourself is whether your cat can safely go outside or whether you got a place you can build a catio. If your cat is going to be an indoor cat, you will need to take into account that you will have to have a cat litter box and you will have to scoop these daily.
So you have to choose a breed through:
– what type of situation you live in
– Whether the cat can be inside only or not
+ city vs countryside
+ ground level exit or balcony
– whether there is a safe outside
+ lots of traffic vs safe environment for cats
Note: if you live in the city but still want your cat to enjoy the outside you could still give your cat that opportunity by placing a catio. There are many different types of catios, such as window attachment, balcony attachment and ground level catio’s.
Furniture and Cats
Also a thing with cats is that if you have white furniture and dark haired cats you will see it on your furniture. The same goes for white haired cats on your very dark coloured furniture.
Cats love to sharpen their nails, especially on sofa’s, carpets, stair carpets, furniture such as table posts and chair legs but they might even do so on your wallpaper or outside wall / doorpost.
There are ways to teach your cat not to scratch these places, but not always evenly effective. It is just generally good to know that this might happen in your household, so if you want to have your furniture in perfect shape at all times, than maybe a cat is not a good solution for you. Putting up scratching posts in your house for your cat to sharpen their nails on is though a good solution.
Things To Consider
There are so many different choices for cats but there are some things the same for any cat. So here is a list of things you have to consider before getting a cat:
– Cats are generally low maintenance, but they can get ill.
Even if you don’t go for a special needs cat from an animal shelter, from time to time things happen with your cat. Especially when your cat goes outside it is easier for things to happen. When cats capture and eat animals such as mice and birds they might get worms, flees and other problems that need medical attention.
More serious problems occur when they get actually ill or when they end up in a fight with another cat and get infections in wounds. That are just small examples of what could happen.
Naturally you don’t want those things, but you need to be clear about it that such things can happen and know what your reaction will be.
– Cats take care of a lot of things themselves, but they still need fresh water and food everyday.
Food is often a certain dosage per day, divided in two to three portions a day. That way feeding can be done in the morning and the evening (+ maybe midday).
Cats need quality food just like we need quality food. Food that is healthy and not junk food. Most food sold in supermarkets are not good for your cat. It is best to obtain this through a pet products store or a veterinarian clinic. There are a lot of different types of food.
If you are a vegetarian, please do not expect the same of your cat. They are carnivores, they simply need meat. If they don’t eat meat, they will get ill. If you prefer to have a same minded pet, than a cat is not your option.
As for drinks they need water and not milk.
There are a lot of fountains for sale in pet shops you could install to keep your water easily accessible for your cat and to keep it clean and filtered. Otherwise you need to refresh the water bowl every day.
Cats need a place to sleep
If you don’t want them on your sofa or bed, make sure you leave some nice soft and warm bed for him/her. A blanket will also work.
Love often high places
Be prepared for cats to jump high places. This could be that they like to lie down on top of a shelf or a cupboard. They also enjoy lying on chairs and sofa’s. Some people add extra shelves on the walls for their cats to enjoy and relax.
Cats Need Companionship
Cats love companionship, they need to play, they need to be cuddled, they have a need to communicate with you.
The Outside vs inside
If possible, make sure your cat can enjoy outside and do their hunting. If not possible with outside or reduced possible through the use of a catio, you will have to help the cat with the hunting. You need litter boxes for their toilet business and you will have to activate them by playing with toys with them. Especially toys they can hunt for. And you will have to reward them by giving them cat sweets.
If not neutered /spayed before, be ready for doing this
Neutering or spaying would be a really good thing to do. It makes your cat less vulnerable for diseases and cancer, it slows the cats fighting and wandering down and in case of a female it will prevent you from getting unwanted kittens.
Do know that neutering a male cat is way cheaper than spaying a female cat. Female cats are though generally less problematic in behaviour, so its worth to have a female cat even though the costs are higher on spaying them.
Regular treatment against worms and flees
Cats can easily obtain harmful worms or flees and not to forget ticks. There is medicine against worms and flees, not against ticks. Ticks need to be removed in a certain way.
Note: Ticks can also form a danger to you! Although less likely harmful to the cat, when the tick decides to wander off your cat they might bite and get stuck on your skin and there are possibilities to get harmful diseases from these little parasites.
Regular health boosting and vaccines
Cats need regular, often yearly, health boosting injections and vaccines against all sorts of feline diseases.
It is mostly the long haired cats, but the short haired do shed even so, some cats do need a good grooming session more than others. All cats shed hairs between summer and winter and viceversa, so grooming you shall and a lot of hair everywhere you will get. The more you groom, the less you have to clean up after them. Be also prepared to have to clean the house more often as with every extra family member in the house, be it human or animal, you will have more dirt to clean up.
Cleaning up after them
Cat’s make a mess of your house. Even if they are the most quiet type, they will still shed hairs and skin. When they play the toys will fly through the room. When they scratch furniture or scratching poles, it will leave mess behind. If they go outside they will take rodents and dead birds with into the house. You are actually quite lucky when your cat brings in dead prey. Some take also alive birds and mice in the house. Yay!! Sadly they don’t bring in the cash yet.
In the end it will be your choice. It will be about the best cat for your situation but also the best place to live for the cat you are going to get. I prefer to say that you will get a new family member and the cat will get a new servant. I hope this guide will help you choose the right cat for your life situation. Have fun with your cat!
If you got any questions about cats or if you want help choosing a cat, we are glad to help you out. Please leave a comment below!