Six things to ask yourself before getting your first cat

How do you know if you are ready for a cat? Getting new furniture or just changing a carpet sometimes may be challenging, but we are talking about a living being here.

buying a kitten from cardboard box
Photo by Quinn Dombrowski, cc

Getting a pet affects both sides: the pet and the new owner. You can’t throw a kitten away if it does not satisfy you, and many cats live up to 20+ years. Besides that, the cat is going to change the way you live: we’d love to say that for the better, but owning a cat is a responsibility, and it requires work.

Here’s a list of things to ask yourself before getting your first cat.

  • Do I have enough money? It’s a shame to start such an emotional moment with talk about money. Ka-ching! However, it’s the way it goes. Cats need money, and sometimes a lot. Initially, you need to invest in litter boxes, food bowls, sleeping beds, cat scratchers, and cat trees and other stuff that your cat needs. Besides, your cat will also need food, cat litter, and medical care. Visit a pet store and find out how much a bag of food lasts for a cat and how much it costs. Visit a local veterinary clinic, find out the cost of a regular visit, vaccinations, worm medication, and others.
  • Do I have time to devote? It a logical trap: cats are low care animals. No, they’re not, especially if you live in a city and must keep your cat indoors. Cats certainly do need attention daily. If you are regularly away for more than a day, then maybe other pets are more appropriate for you. Cats need regular feeding, playing, litter box cleaning, brushing, teeth cleaning, nail trimming. Did we miss something? Most likely, we did. Caring for a cat is time-consuming, and if you are truly committed, a cat is going to change the way you live.
  • Who will care for him? Well, if your kids are begging you to get a cat, and promise to play with him, clean his litter box, groom him and go on a walk every day, don’t fall for it. Of course, we are sure that it is possible, but adults make decisions. If an adult decides to get a cat and kids get lazy about its care after a month or year, it’s an adult responsibility to make things correct. Keep a possibility open that you will be the person to do the most work.
  • Am I ready to modify my house? Cats do not live like humans, and most common apartments usually differ from those best suited for cats. Environment modifications involve adding several perches above ground level, adding hideouts for your cat, installing scratching posts, scratching pads and cat trees. Besides that, there comes in a litter box (or more than one), food bowls, water bowls, toys, and the cat itself. Your house and your life will change, and the only question is, are you ready to accept it?
  • Is there someone to look after him when I’m away? Most people love vacations, and it’s crucial to have someone to take care of your cat during this time. Voluntarily. Ideally, if someone can come over to your place at least daily, change water adds food and check if everything’s fine. Taking him to a friend’s house or a pet hotel is also considerable. Note though, unfamiliar surroundings, combined with an owner gone, does not work for all cats.
  • What’s the reason I need a cat for? There might be several reasons why people choose to get a cat. For example, many want a companion. Maybe you want to start a cat breeding business, or you love cats and how they look on the internet. Maybe your kids want a cat. In all honesty, there are no right or wrong reasons. The most important part: is this your only reason? Things can go wrong if the expectations do not become a reality. For example, you wanted to breed cats, but it turns out you can’t stand the sound females make when in heat. Maybe your kids want a cat? Get one only if YOU want it, too. Make a list if you need: the more reasons you have, the more likely you will be satisfied with your new pet. And he will be satisfied living with you.

We hope we did not scare you from getting a cat; that was not our intention. However, we do want you to think twice. Caring for a cat is not as easy as it looks like, it really takes time, but it’s not the end of the world, though.

This article is part of a series for beginner cat owners.
Next up: Places to find a good kitten.

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