Ask any cat owner and they’ll tell you that any home is just a house without a cat.
Owning a cat, or indeed any companion animal comes with responsibilities, rewards and challenges. You’re also making a big commitment, a commitment that will hopefully last for at least 15 to 20 years. To help you make the decision, here are five things that you should think about before actually getting your new cat overlord.
1. How will a cat fit into my human family?
Think about your human family and how having a cat may impact their lives. If you live alone you may need to consider if the cat will receive enough attention? Despite being generally solitary animals they can become quite bonded with their humans and may suffer from separation anxiety. Having a plan to ensure that they don’t become bored or lonely during the day will help.
If you have children, are they old enough to help care for the cat or will you have to supervise young children and cat time to ensure your kitten or cat is safe?
2. How will a cat fit into my animal family?
When it comes to other animals cats are solitary animals and highly territorial, seeing other animals can make them feel unsafe. This can lead to problems that are often described by owners as ‘behavioural’ problems but are simply a reflection of a cat’s normal territorial behaviour. These behaviours might be, rubbing, scratching or spraying urine to mark their territory.
Don’t despair though if you already have pets, introducing them slowly to their new family can help and it’s not to say a cat won’t enjoy living with a dog or another cat; it’s just not for every cat.
3. How will the cat fit into my physical house?
The first major consideration is if your new cat will be an inside only or outdoor cat. Inside cats are less likely to be injured by vehicles, dogs or other cats. Outdoor cats are also subject to their own predatory nature and can have an impact on native wildlife.
If you decide on an indoors cat you need to consider what you can do to enrich your cat’s life. Having a safe outdoor cat run lets them enjoy the benefits of both indoor and ‘safe’ outdoor play.
4. Cat vs kitten
Often when people decide to introduce a cat into their lives they will naturally gravitate towards kittens. They’re super adorable and they’ll grow into your household and your family. Don’t rule out either though before you consider each fairly.
For some families, an adult cat is a better option depending on your situation and set up. Even if you are perfectly set for a kitten you should consider an adult cat as well, grown cats can be wonderful pets who have already developed personalities so you know exactly what you are getting. Also, the truth is that a lot of perfectly suited older cats don’t get a second chance to show how perfect they can be.
There are many rescue cats and kittens available looking for a new home and many shelters can advise you on the best family for certain cat e.g. single cat household; multicat household; has lived with dogs; elderly owner etc.
5. Fitting into the budget
We’re not talking about the adoption fee or purchase price of your new cat, having a pet is a privilege and if you cannot financially support taking proper care of your cat then maybe you should reconsider?
Write down all the items you’ll need before getting a cat, speak to your vet about what the annual costs might be and then plan out your budget. Also, check out pet insurance as it can really help reduce unexpected costs.
So if you’ve considered these points and are still ready to take a cat or kitten into your family and life then check out the Mackay Animal Rescue Society or RSPCA Mackay and give someone a great home!