Updated: Feb 4
Getting a new pet is a big decision, there are a number of things to consider. While adding a cat to the family is an exciting prospect there are a few things to think about.
First you need to decide if you have the time and finances to support your new fluffy friend. A cat is relatively low maintenance compared to a dog as doesn't require the daily walks and training but they do need love and attention.
Cats can be pretty independent creatures and often fit in to a busy, modern lifestyle well. They are great companions and love a cuddle and play but are also content snoozing for several hours in a warm secure bed or out roaming the neighbourhood. They are suitable from smaller houses and flats which some dogs may not be.
You need to also keep in mind that cats can live into their 20's so you are in for the long haul if you make the decision to get a cat.
Cats personalities and temperament can vary greatly depending on age, breed, socialisation and sex. Some love human contact, snuggles on the sofa and company, others are far more independent and spend hours exploring outside by themselves and company is on their own terms. Some cats depending on their temperament and breed are better suited to life as a house cat. It is a good idea if looking at pedigree cats to research into their character traits associated with the breed and see if that suits your situation.
What your cat needs from you
When getting a cat there are a number of things to consider and budget for to give your feline the best life.
Register at a Vets incase the little one becomes unwell
Make sure your cat is vaccinated yearly
Microchip you cat incase he goes walk about
Neuter them to prevent unwanted pregnancy- see my blog on neutering for more info.
Pet insurance is a great idea as Vet bills are expensive
Toys/ activities to stimulate your cat
Food/ water/ litter tray
Kitten or rescue?
Kittens are of course incredibly cute and getting a kitten from a few months of age means you can form an amazing bond and friendship potentially lasting over 20 years.
Kittens need a lot of time over the first few weeks, you want to make them feel safe and secure and happy in their new home. It can be quite a shock for them leaving their mum and siblings. Their new home is full of new faces, smells, routines and noises. This can all be quite scary initially and they need a friendly face to help the transition to their new environment.
Some kittens can be a bit on the cheeky side, they can bite and nibble as they teeth, scratch and chase you.
There are so many cats in rescue centres all over the world. They all have a story to tell, sometimes the cats history is passed on with them, sometimes the rehoming centre has no idea what the cat has been up to before reaching them.
It is fantastic to be able to offer one of these rescue animals a safe, stable home. Some people love giving an older cat a loving, comfortable life for their last few years. Others enjoy the challenge of rehoming a cat with a few associated problems and rehabilitating them into their home. Many of the cats in a rehoming centre have come from loving families but for one reason or another were unable to stay, but others have been though a hard time or even been strays.
My advise if you decide to re-home a cat is to try and get as much background information on the cats behaviour, health and personality and see if it suits you situation. Be aware that the cats in rehoming centres may have pre-existing heath conditions. These should be discussed and the cost of continued treatment also considered.
An adult cat generally requires a lot less attention and often be happy to be left for the day if you are out at work. Adult cats are more than likely to be toilet trained and less destructive. Adult cats are more than capable of forming bonds with new owners and fitting into a new family.
Should you give your cat outdoor access?
Concerns for cats heath and welfare have lead to more and more cats becoming house cats. Around 10% of cats in the UK live indoors permanently. Click to see my blog on house cats.
There are some cats that without question should be kept indoors. Cats with the disease FIV can infect other cats with the virus and are more susceptible to picking up other diseases so should be housed indoors. Deaf cats are at much hight risk of accidents and injury if allowed out so for their own safety should be kept in. If you live in a flat outdoor access may not be possible and if your live on a busy road the chance of an accident can be high.
Cats can be territorial so some cats can get into fights and become injured, especially in urban areas with dense cat populations, for this reason some owners may not want their cat outside.
Cat theft has been on the increase in recent years so this is also something to be aware of when allowing your cat outside, particularly if its a pedigree breed.
There are health benifits to letting your cat outside, they get plenty of exercise which is excellent in helping control obesity. Natural behaviour such as hunting and exploring can be enjoyed.
There really are so many things to consider when you decide on a life style for your cat based on the environment, cats health and your daily routine so take time to make the right decision for you.
Felines are a great addition to the family and provide companionship and entertainment. They can be both loyal and independent and form close bonds with their owner. They provide a lifetime friendship with a great deal of reward.