Considering adopting a cat? This journey promises warmth, purring, and countless joyful moments.
Cats offer a unique blend of independence and affection, often becoming the quiet companions we seek after a long day.
They provide comfort without the need for daily walks and often curl up cozily on laps. However, remember that cats come in a vast array of personalities and quirks.
Some embody the essence of cuddliness, while others express their love from afar. The beauty lies in the diversity - no two cats are identical.
Like any lifelong commitment, you must stay well-informed and prepared.
We've compiled a list of essential insights to help you and your new companion begin on the right paw.
15 Must-Knows Before Adopting A Cat
Here are fifteen things that could actually happen. In fact, some of them are likely to happen.
You must be prepared to deal with them because once you adopt, your new cat relies on you - and only you - to provide him or her with a loving home - forever.
1. Your Cat May Not Be A Lap Cat Or Even Particularly Affectionate
Not all cats like to be handled, picked up, or even petted.
Sometimes it's a question of trust, and as your new cat learns to trust you, she or he will eventually enjoy lap time and extended physical interactions.
Just keep in mind that with some cats, this may never happen. They will be more content to enjoy your adoration from a distance.
That doesn't mean the bond between you will necessarily be weaker - it will be shown differently. And cats have many ways to show that they love you.
2. Expect Some Bites And Scratches
While some cats are more aggressive than others, almost every cat will bite and/or scratch under certain circumstances. Don't panic if and when that happens.
Learn how to deal with feline aggression and above all: Never punish your cat or reprimand her for scratching or biting, or for anything else for that matter.
3. Your Furniture May Be At Risk
Unless you provide the right kind of scratching post in the right location, your cat will likely scratch your furniture.
Also, cats - especially young ones - can also tear up your curtains and window screens or chew on cords and other items.
Most cats won't; fortunately, if your cat does, there are ways to deal with that. Just be aware that a certain amount of damage to your home is a very real possibility.
The right scratching post in the right location can help protect your furniture.
4. There Will Be Cat Hair All Over The Place
Unless you regularly clean it up of course.
Cat owners often invest in a good vacuum cleaner, and some just learn to accept the presence of some amount of cat hair in their homes all the time.
Regular brushing of your cat's coat can also help reduce the amount of shedding. Oh, and while we're at it, you may want to avoid wearing dark clothes if you own a cat.
Or at least be prepared to "de-hair" them before going out.
5. Going Anywhere? Your Cat Comes First
If you love traveling, know in advance that you'll have to find a boarding solution for your cat or arrange for a responsible cat sitter.
Moving to another country may be very difficult with a pet - not necessarily impossible, but definitely more complicated.
Even if you're moving within the same country, any apartment you'll be moving into will have to accept you and your cat. Consider these things before committing to adopt.
6. Litterbox Accidents Could Be An Issue
The good news is that in most cases, you can retrain your cat to use the litterbox again, once you figure out what the problem is and fix it.
Still, that's something you should consider before adopting a cat. Also, even without any avoidance issues, be prepared to keep two litterboxes.
That includes a strict daily regime of sifting through the litter at least once daily to keep the box clean! If you get lazy, you'll end up with a litterbox avoidance problem, so be warned!
7. Your Cat May Be Very Vocal And Needy
Everyone knows that dogs can bark very loudly to the point of upsetting the neighbors. Cats can do the same. Not bark, of course, but howl, yowl, and generally be very vocal.
Spaying/neutering usually takes care of that problem.
Just keep in mind that some cats are naturally "talkative" and may meow often, day or night. It may not bother the neighbors, but it can certainly bother you.
8. The New Cat Will Not Be Like The Last Cat You Had
If you have owned a cat before and you think you know exactly what you're getting into, you may be in for a surprise. Your new cat will likely be different.
He or she may be nothing like the cat of your childhood, or your best feline friend in recent years.
Each cat has his/her own unique character and quirks, and you'll have to acquaint yourself with a new feline friend - for better or worse.
9. Adjusting To A New Home Takes Time
Don't expect your new cat to show his or her true colors immediately.
The new cat is likely to be somewhat fearful and shy at first, and eventually become an outgoing, friendly kitty.
During the first few days, weeks and even months, there is a gradual process where your cat will get to know your home and you.
10. Find A Good Vet - Kitty Will Need One
Your new cat may be perfectly healthy now, but something will come up sooner or later.
Like us, cats can come down with all kinds of diseases and injuries, and when that happens, you'll have to spend some time and money caring for your four-pawed friend.
Routine checkups, vaccinations, quality nutrition, and of course, spaying/neutering all help prevent disease, so be prepared to invest even when your cat is still healthy.
Keep an emergency fund for unexpected medical issues - they will happen.
11. Your Cat May Develop Unique Dietary Needs
Feeding cats doesn't have to be complicated for most cats.
Some cats suffer from food allergies or other medical conditions which require special food. This could get costly, but this is part of what adopting a cat is all about.
12. Care For Chronic Health Conditions May Be Needed
Some cats become diabetic and need owners to inject them with insulin regularly. Others develop kidney disease requiring frequent subcutaneous fluid treatments.
Many scenarios may require you to give your cat special care for medical problems he or she may have, and you need to be committed to doing just that.
13. Your Cat Will Grow Old
Most cats age gracefully. However, as the years pass, you'll have to pay extra attention to your cat's well-being and her/his changing needs.
For example, arthritis could mean Kitty can no longer jump, and you may have to create pet stairs for her/him.
Deterioration in eyesight, hearing, or cognitive abilities may all require your attention.
14. You'll Have To Say Goodbye
Cats usually live for 15-20 years.
People live longer. That's just a fact of life that means owners usually outlive their pets. How we deal with loss is individual, but just know that it will come and will be painful.
15. There's more...
There's always more. Responsible cat owners commit to their pets through thick and thin.
You can't foresee every scenario, but as the "responsible adult" in this relationship, you must solve any problems that arise.
Fortunately, we're here to help with advice but you are the one who will ultimately be obligated to find a solution that works for your cat and you.
"So, Are You Saying I Shouldn't Adopt A Cat?"
We don't mean to discourage you from adopting a cat. Here at TheCatSite.com we believe cats do make wonderful pets and companions!
It's just important to have realistic expectations and understand the kind of commitment you're making.
When you adopt, you must fully commit to your cat's well-being and never claim, "I didn't sign up for this.
Take the time to read as much as you can about cats and how to care for them. You can start with the articles on this very website.
Our Cat Behavior Articles offer a wealth of information about everything you need to know before adopting a cat.
Still have questions? Check out the forums and leave a question so that more experienced cat owners will be able to help you.
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