You are considering adding a kitty to your life. Great choice; but are you ready? Is a cat the right creature for you? Is your home suitable? What are the pros and cons? There is plenty to consider before rushing off to an animal shelter with cat carrier and adoption fee in hand. Before you go learn what is involved. Not everyone is born to share their domain responsibly with a cat.
The decision to bring a new kitty home bears no relationship to purchasing the latest flat screen TV or a new pair of jeans. Cats last longer; they are sentient beings and, unless there is dire compatibility, are non-returnable. Cats rarely settle into a new home over night. Patience is required while you get used to each other’s quirks. It is very stressful for a cat to be adopted one week only to be taken back to the shelter the next. Excuses like “It doesn’t match the sofa.” or “My new boy/girlfriend is allergic.” do not sit well with adoption agency staff. They have heard these all too many times before. So be sure before.
Cats are cats and that is their charm. Do not be tempted to anthropomorphize them; they are not small furry people. Has it not cat’s eyes? Has it not cat’s paws, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Kitty does share many aspects of human life. It wants to feel safe and secure, be accepted, loved and treated with respect.
How committed are you? This will be a life-long commitment and not a passing whim. Can you afford a cat? Who will look after kitty when you are away? Do you have time for a cat? Especially significant if the cat requires a lot of grooming.
Look at your household. Who does it consist of? You, are there others? Is anyone allergic to cats? Does everyone want to live with a kitty? How old are the residents? Young children are not always a good mix with cats especially if the child is boisterous and a kitten is brought home. Does the child understand this is a living, breathing being that feels pain and can be terrified by loud galumphing persons? Kittens are fragile and have soft bones so an older tougher cat with a fully armed defense system may be the better choice. Don’t blame kitty for scratched children; keep Band Aids handy. Is anyone frail or does someone have a vision or mobility issue that could cause them to fall over or step on the cat?
Is your accommodation suitable? If you rent, are you allowed pets? Is there a fee? Check with your landlord. Is there room for the necessities that come with kitty? Where will you put food and water bowls? Is there an appropriate place for a litter box? They need to be in different locations. Where will kitty sleep? Is there somewhere for a scratching post? Is there space to play? Do you have fragile treasures located where kitty can break or disassemble them? It is your responsibility; cats get into things and on apparently impossible places. A Ming vase or Aunt Clara’s favorite coffee cup are meaningless trifles to kitty.
You are responsible for any damage your cat does or injuries they cause.
If you have not been dissuaded and you feel you will make a great cat guardian; go and find your new companion kitty; your friend for life.