According to the NAVC’s recent Voice of the Veterinary Community study, helping animals on a daily basis is what veterinary professionals cite as their favorite part of their job (77%), followed by doing meaningful and purposeful work (65%). But on the flip side,...
If you are considering cat ownership for the first time, get ready for a very fun experience. There is nothing quite like having a cat or kitten in your life. Cats are often thought of as being some of the easier to maintain pets, especially compared to dogs.
There is some truth to that, but sharing your life with a cat will still require significant compromises and a lot of understanding of feline behavior. Here’s everything that you need to know to successfully share your life with a cat.
Prepare for a Commitment
Cats live a long time, even longer than dogs. It may not seem like a big deal to pick up an adorable kitten at an adoption event or from a breeder, but it is important to keep in mind that you are making a decades-long commitment to that cat.
The shelters are full, so rehoming your adult cat will likely be very challenging. Be sure that you are ready for a serious commitment before you consider taking home a cat. If you aren’t sure whether you are ready for cat ownership, a perfect solution is to foster a cat from a local shelter.
It’s tempting to take home a kitten, but a cat is a different animal entirely. Fostering an adult cat can be a very helpful educational experience for many people who aren’t sure whether they want to commit to having a cat permanently.
Your Home Will Change
Lots of people get cats thinking about them as easy low-maintenance roommates who do their business in a box and don’t make a nuisance of themselves. If this is your expectation of having a cat, think again.
Cats tend to transform the environment that they are in. Cats should not be let outside unless they are on a leash or in a safe and confined patio because of the risk to them and other animals in the environment. That means that your home will become the property of one of the world’s most athletic and ferocious predators.
It’s a lot of fun to share your life with a cat, but get ready for some changes to accommodate them if you want to live with them peacefully.
Here are a few things that you will probably find you need to do when you bring a cat into your life.
Have a Cat Tower, or Two, or Six
Cats have an extremely strong instinct to climb and use their nails to rip into things. Declawing has been found to have serious adverse health effects for your cat as well as being the cause for adverse behavioral changes, so you need to provide a way for your cat to groom their nails and act out their desire to cling to and rip up something other than your furniture.
If you do not provide for your cats’ instincts to rip and climb, you are very likely to find that your furniture bears the brunt. There is nothing that you can do to keep a cat from wanting to climb and scratch, so it’s best to put in a cat tower or two as soon before you bring your cat home.
Because cats want to stay close to their people, you will want to put in a cat tower everywhere your cats will want to be near you. This may seem like a big expense and a big visual change to your home, especially at first, but over time you are very likely to find that you are glad you decided to invest in your home and your cat’s happiness.
It is much easier to train a cat to use scratching posts and towers when they are young than it is to try to change their behavior. As soon as your cat tries to scratch on something inappropriate, such as the furniture, redirect them to the cat tree. Reward your cat enthusiastically for their willingness to play with the tree. Teaching your cat where and how to scratch appropriately is essential.
Say Goodbye to the Confidence That Your Counters Are Clean
Some people find that they can train their cat to stay off of the counters and out of the cabinets. However, the vast majority of people find that even if they can teach their cats to stay away from places they don’t want them to go when they are watching, their cats are quick to take advantage of an opportunity when they leave the room.
You can restrict your cat’s access to certain rooms when you are away if you want to avoid having them on your counters and finding their way into places they shouldn’t be, like on top of your entertainment center. However, most people accept that their cat will find their way into places they shouldn’t every so often.
Be sure to put cat-proof child-locks on any cabinets that may contain things you do not want your cat to get into. You may be amazed at the places they end up. Some cats can even figure out how to open up appliances like refrigerators, so be very careful about cat proofing your home, especially when they are just settling in or growing older.
Toys Will Likely Be Everywhere
As cats get older, many become more laid-back and less interested in playing all of the time, but kittens are non-stop balls of energy. It is best if you have two kittens so they can entertain each other, but even if you take this extra step, you will likely find that your kittens end up getting toys all over your house.
If you don’t provide them with sufficient toys and mental stimulation, they are quick to make toys out of whatever they can find, including things that may damage your home or be dangerous. Therefore, you must provide plenty of toys for your kittens and get used to having toys around the house. If you are worried about tripping hazards, choose soft toys that you can step on without it hurting your feet.
You Probably Don’t Want Just One Cat
Many people are surprised to find that when they try to adopt a cat they are encouraged to take two instead. Cats are naturally social animals. They thrive when they are offered the opportunity to socialize with their kind.
Because cats are more likely to take in other cats when they are very young, it is generally recommended that you adopt two cats together. Furthermore, you are very likely to find that your experience of cat ownership is improved by having two cats.
Plus, watching cats cuddle together is incredibly adorable. Just enjoying the bond that they form will elevate your experience of having a cat. Because cats will play together, you won’t have to work as hard to entertain your cat, and your home will likely not suffer from your cat ownership as much.
However, twice the cats mean twice the vet bills and other expenses. With this in mind, taking advantage of an app like Airvet can really come in handy since you can easily get affordable care in just minutes if something goes wrong with either of your new feline companions.
Cats Are Not Hands-Off Pets
Many people think about having a cat as being very easy and unlikely to impact their lives very much. After all, isn’t this the advantage of choosing a cat over a dog?
Cats indeed require much less daily interaction and care, on average, than dogs. Furthermore, cats are often more content to be with you while you do something you wanted to do anyway, while dogs may require more active involvement.
That said, new cat owners need to understand that living with a cat is not free of demands and challenges. Cats use a litter box instinctually, but some cats still have issues with accidents from time to time. Potted plants can very easily be mistaken for cat litter.
Some medical conditions that may not have been diagnosed when you adopted your cat can also make such problems more likely. Issues with destructive scratching, climbing into inappropriate places, and other behavior issues can also be important in your life with your cat.
You should speak with your veterinarian about what cat ownership will entail, what you need to look out for, and what the best decisions are for your particular cat and lifestyle.
Choose a Great Veterinarian To Help With Cat Ownership
An experienced network of veterinarians will make cat ownership a much more pleasant experience for you. If you’re worried about everything that goes into owning a cat, you’ll be glad to learn that with an experienced veterinarian and an on-demand veterinary help app like Airvet, you will experience much more fun than anxiety in your everyday relationship with your cat knowing you can get help in just a few taps!
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