Who can resist the charm and love of a spinning cat? Cats can be incredibly relaxing, and will be more than happy to offer a chin to scratch when you take it easy on the couch.
Animal experts even believe that cats can feel our well-being, and many cat owners believe that their cats often try to cheer them up when they feel down.
You need to think carefully before getting a cat. Here are some things that might help you decide if a cat is the animal for you.
Cats are by nature very independent animals, but not in such a way that they like to be left alone for long periods. Outdoor cats will then probably wander away, and indoor cats will quickly become bored and destructive.
Think of allergies. Cats can trigger asthma, and some are allergic to cat hair, or particles from dead skin that get stuck in the coat.
If you have young children, a cat may not be the best choice. Cats can be very erratic around smaller children, so teaching children to behave properly towards the cat is very important. Cats, on the other hand, can teach children a great deal.
Owning a cat can be a wonderful and very rewarding experience because they provide companionship and love, as well as a lot of entertainment. It’s not for nothing that they are the most popular pet in the world!
Do you have time for a cat?
Cats are incredibly independent creatures who like to be out on their own little adventures, but kittens need e.g. quite a lot of attention during the first 12 months of life.
You need to make sure you have time for the things that a cat requires. It includes food, fur care (how long it takes depends on which breed you choose), and giving them lots of love and attention.
Does a cat fit into my life?
Cats are very independent animals with their own wills.
They sleep about 14 hours a day, and are most active around dawn and dusk. They do not need your undivided attention, but there are some things you need to think about before deciding that a cat is the pet for you.
Cats can live up to the age of 30, so think carefully about whether it is a commitment you are ready for, as it will be difficult to know where you will be or what you will do in 20 years.
Can I get a cat if I work all day?
Cats can be very independent, so they can be good pets for someone who works full time. Some breeds will happily entertain themselves all day. However, it is good to make sure that there is someone near you who can take care of your cat, whether it is a family member, a partner or a friend. If you travel a lot and can not feed your cat twice a day, someone else must be able to do it.
Will the cat cause a lot of confusion?
Think about whether you will be able to cope with the mess that a cat causes. Cats are cleaner and less messy than dogs and will keep themselves clean, but accidents can of course happen.
It should come as no surprise that cats will pee, poop and vomit, and sometimes in places you do not expect. If the thought of cleaning up after these accidents makes you so weak that you could not handle it, the cat may not be the pet for you. It’s worth saying that these are extreme situations and that a room-trained cat is usually incredibly careful about its hygiene, but accidents can happen, and you need to be prepared to take care of them.
Cats will shed hair, some more than others. If you have a cat that sheds a lot, you will need to vacuum more often than average, and not just the floor. Your cat will lie on beds, sofas, benches and other furniture, leaving behind hair. Some cats shed very little, so if the thought of cat hair everywhere feels awkward, it does not have to mean that you can not get a cat. To see which cat breeds do not shed, you can read this part of the manual.
Is my home suitable for a cat?
If you already have other pets, you need to think about what impact a new cat will have on them. If you have other cats, they may see the new cat as a threatening mother in their territory, so you need to be careful when introducing them to each other. Having two cats fighting is very stressful both for them and for you.
If you already own a dog you need to think about how safe a cat will be around your dog. Some dog breeds are a bigger threat than others, but most agree with cats if they get used to it. If you are unsure, read ‘Should I get a cat if I have a dog? down here.
If you own small pets that a cat may see as prey, such as guinea pigs or hamsters, you need to consider whether the cat will worry them a lot. If you think you can keep the cat away from them, it should work well.
Before getting a cat, make sure you, or someone in your family, are not allergic. “Cat dandruff”, ie dead skin, saliva and urine, contains protein that some people are allergic to. The symptoms range from mild (itchy skin) to severe (difficulty breathing), so it is important to make sure that no one living in the house is allergic. To see which cats are less likely to cause an allergic reaction (hypoallergenic breeds), read The 7 Best Hypoallergenic Cat Breeds.
You also need to think about whether your home is suitable for a cat. If you rent your home, you must check the contract to see if you can have pets, and then contact your landlord to double check that he is okay with you getting a cat.
If you know you will be moving soon, it is best to wait until you have a more permanent home before acquiring a cat. This is because a cat is holding on to its territory quite tightly, and will often try to find its way back to its old home if you move.
Should I get a cat if I have a dog?
Cats can get along well with dogs, as long as they do not quarrel or tease each other.
If you have a dog with a large, sweeping tail, you must teach the dog not to become aggressive when the cat is playing with it, otherwise you may have to deal with unpleasant quarrels at home.
Will my dog get along with a new cat?
If you are considering getting a cat and you already have a dog, you need to think about how likely it is that your dog will be tolerant of the cat.
Some dog breeds become easier friends with cats than others, but it’s mostly about knowing your dog and her temperament. The best time to introduce your dog to cats is when he is young, preferably still a puppy.
Your dog will more likely get along with a cat if he …
- Is kind when he spends time with small children and smaller dogs
- Has a low hunting instinct and does not tend to hunt / kill other animals
- Is relatively obedient so you can trust him to follow your commands
- Already has a good relationship with cats and has gotten used to them from an early age
Signs that your dog will probably not be able to live with a cat:
- He is aggressive towards other dogs and must carry a muzzle
- He has a strong hunting instinct and often hunts / kills other animals
- He is disobedient and often does not follow your commands
Most cats usually do well around dogs if they have to. Your cat will quickly teach the dog who decides after a few swipes of the nose.
Introduce your dog to an adult cat before you get a kitten
If you think a cat will be safe around your dog, it is a good idea to let them meet an adult cat before you get a kitten. This way, your dog will learn to tolerate cats before bringing a small kitten home. Even if it is not necessary, it is a good thing to do because a kitten is very easily injured or killed by a noisy dog, while an adult cat will be able to defend itself or escape.