- Pets and Animals
Why You Should Get a Cat
Basics of being a cat owner
Want to get a cat, or can't decide if you want one yet? Read this article to help you decide. It covers the basics of being a cat owner and explains things that you need to know about having a fluffy companion.
Unlike dogs, cats are independent creatures. They tend to avoid bothering you, and they stay oblivious to whatever you do for the most part. Whenever you want to play with them, you can. Otherwise, you leave them alone, they leave you alone, and you're both happy. Now obviously having a cat requires some work and you do have to give the cat some attention, otherwise there isn't really a point of having one. However, If you've always wanted a pet but were afraid of the commitment involved, then a cat is in fact the ideal pet for you. The main things you need to take care of when you have a cat are the obvious things:
Food - With food, all you need to do is find a brand that fits your cat. It usually depends on the cats age, whether its indoor/outdoor (explained later) and its preferences (flavor). When you've found that, you basically just refill your cats container every day or so and the cat will eat it whenever its hungry. Most cats don't really eat for indulgence and eat however much they need whenever they feel hungry, so you can just leave the food out. The only exception to this is if your cat is overweight and the vet orders you to control the amount of food the cat gets. My cat is almost 5 years old and hasn't had any problems with this thus far. Most cats are also fairly strict of routine, so you won't have to change the flavor of the food to keep the cat pleased. Cats like consistency so giving her/him the same food every day is okay.
Litter Box - Cats go to the bathroom on their own, you don't need to take them outside or anything. Whenever you see that there's something in the litter box, you can clean it. It usually requires cleaning once or twice a day (takes 30 seconds) and then you need to change the sand in the litter box every few weeks entirely. Once a cat knows where its litter box is, it usually won't go outside of the litter box. Whenever it does, it could be an indication of another problem.
Shots - Depending on whether your cat is indoor or outdoor, it needs certain shots. It should be taken to the vet at least once a year for a check-up and shots.
So maybe you've decided you want a cat, but what kind?
Breed - There are many things to consider when choosing a breed. Do you want a short-hair or long haired cat? Shorter haired cats usually tend to shed less, but are a lot less fluffy and cute. Long haired cats tend to be better for indoor since they would get dirty faster in the outdoors and require grooming. With breed, some cats also have varying personality traits. Some are more active while others are lazier. Some live longer, and some grow bigger. Do you want a male or a female cat? You should probably research a bit before you decide to get your cat, but at the end of the day cats are cats and anything that is really unique about a cat is based on its individual self rather than its breed. So you don't really know what exactly you're in for until you get the cat itself.
Indoor or Outdoor? - Do you prefer that your cat stay indoors, or will you let it out at will? Outdoor cats have more freedom and get to stay closer to their natural tendencies in the wild. However, outdoor cats are a lot more likely to get injured, and usually live a lot shorter of a lifespan (around 10 years). Outdoor cats tend to require more shots and such as well. Outdoor cats can also be more stressful as they come and go at irregular routines so you're always worried when your cat doesn't return home after a while. Indoor cats live longer and can live up to 20 years. However, indoor cats still need to do things that are in their innate nature. This means they will practice hunting inside the house, perhaps scratch the floor and rip out the curtains if not trained well enough. Of course, there are always things you can do to prevent your cat from doing these things such as buying it scratching posts and toys. Ultimately, it doesn't really matter what you decide to keep your cat as, its good both ways.
Alterations? - Are you going to get your cat spayed/neutered and de-clawed? A lot of people opt for doing neither, especially if they're keeping their cat as an outdoor cat. Outdoor cats should never be de-clawed, because they cannot defend themselves. Many people argue that de-clawing a cat, even if it is meant to be an indoor cat, is unethical and causes unexplained trauma to it. It's really your decision, do what you feel best. Same with the spaying/neutering; you need to remember what will be best for you and your pet in the long run.
Adopt a cat or buy a brand new kitten? - Do you want to adopt an abandoned cat or do you want a buy a newly born kitten? Either one is fine, most people think that buying an older cat will be less trainable or love them less. Neither of these are true, overtime cats can adapt, and will always show affection to those who care for them. I got my cat when she was 3 years old, which is considered an adult in cat years. If you choose to adopt a cat, it's usually a lot cheaper, and often times it is already neutered and/or de-clawed and/or trained. A new kitten requires you to train it, but they usually learn fast so it isn't much of a problem either way.
Overall, cats are fun and easy pets to own. They're entertaining when they need to be, and not annoying when you're busy. It's always fun to have a pet around the house. Consider getting a cat, you won't regret it.