If you’ve been thinking about adding a pet to your household this year, you might have considered a cat. On the surface, cats seem pretty low maintenance — you don’t have to take them out twice a day, and they probably don’t get into as much stuff as dogs do, right? Well, that entirely depends. Of course, like with all pets, there are some considerations you’ll need to make before getting a cat. Here are some of the most common ones!
- Where you live. The place you live is probably one of the most important considerations when it comes to deciding on whether or not you should get a cat. While most experts agree that one cat needs a minimum of 18 square feet of living space (and with each cat you should have a multiple of 18 sq ft of living space available for them, too), you’ll want to make sure you have a good home layout.
Cats are natural hiders — they don’t like to be out in the open. They like to have closets, corners and shadowed spaces they can retreat to whenever they feel like it. If your home boasts an open floor plan and minimal spaces to hide (i.e., a studio apartment), you might not have the best living space for a cat. Of course, cats retreating to hiding places can be stressful for you as a pet owner, so be sure to get them a custom pet tag to wear so you can find them at all times!
- Your amount of disposable income. Cats aren’t an inexpensive pet. While they can be slightly less expensive than dogs, you can still count on at least $1,000 of your money going toward your cat’s care per year. Whether that’s for food, toys, litter, medications, vet visits or anything else necessary for their care, owning a cat isn’t cheap. And, since they can’t advocate for themselves, it’s important that you spend the money on quality items they’ll love, such as food and medications.
Other aspects of pet care, such as grooming or time spent cleaning and shopping for them, can also contribute to the cost of caring for them. It’s important you take a long look at your finances and determine whether or not you can afford to take care of a cat.
- Your work schedule. While there are some rumors out there about cats being hassle-free because you don’t need to spend a lot of time with them, that’s really just a rumor. While cats like to sleep for a lot of hours throughout the day, that doesn’t mean they don’t want companionship while they’re awake. In fact, there’s some research to indicate that having two cats in your house is better than one. This is mainly to combat any feelings of loneliness that cats might experience being on their own.
While cats are notorious for wanting their alone time, they also like to be friendly and social — on their own terms. If you’ve ever owned a cat before, then you probably already know some of their habits. Many cats like attention and affection from humans and other cats; they just like it at certain points of the day or are specific in what they want. If you work crazy hours or don’t have a consistent schedule where you can provide your cat with consistent love and affection, then it might not be the right time for cat ownership.
- Your environment. Beyond what your home looks like, you’ll want to consider the environment you live in. Do you live in the city, where there are lots of noises outside, or do you live in the country, where there’s a chance your cat will be an outdoor and indoor cat? These are considerations you’ll need to make because that can impact the type of cat you get.
Regardless, you should consider getting a tracking pet tag for your cat to wear. While many of these are sized for dogs (and might look a little large on your cat), if you own a larger cat breed, such as a Maine Coon, you might find that the tag doesn’t look so bad. Plus, when it means your cat is safe in the event it gets out in your city or country abode, then it’s worth any awkward looks, right?
- How far you live from a vet. Cats require consistent vet care. From regular annual check-ups to dental cleanings and even grooming appointments, cats need to consistently see a vet.
If you end up adopting a cat that has some medical issues, then you’ll want to consider how far you are from a vet’s office. Since cats are such particular creatures, you might also find that your cat needs to test out different vet offices before you find the right one. While some cats do great with strangers and in strange environments, others do not and will need to stick with a consistent vet.
If you adopt your cat from a local SPCA or other shelter, consider asking them where the cat’s current vet care is located. This way, you can keep their vet care consistent and give your new cat a sense of structure, stability and familiarity.
- Whether or not you have other animals in your home. Do you have other animals in your home, including other cats? You should consider the behaviors of those animals before getting a new cat. If your pets barely tolerate each other, then they probably won’t do well adding another animal to the mix. However, if they’re used to being in a household with lots of other animals, then you might be able to integrate a new pet into the home.
If you’ve recently lost a cat and are trying to replace it to make your current pets feel better, consider waiting until their behavior has reached slightly closer to normal. You don’t want to overwhelm your current animals!
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