10 Things You Should Know Before Adopting A Cat

cat lying on a scratch tree

There’s no question that small kittens are cute! So cute that many people take a kitten into their home rashly without dealing with the topic of cat ownership in detail beforehand.

However, cute kittens turn into cats with needs that will keep you company for the next 15 to 20 years. Hence, a kitten or adult cat entering your home should be well thought through! These ten things you should know before adopting a cat will help you make a decision.

  • Responsibility for many years

Spontaneous holidays, lying in bed until midday or looking for a new home: you will have to take your four-legged housemate into consideration with big and small decisions in the future. Hence, bear in mind before the move that this will change your life for a very long time!

Many find living with a cat to above all be very enriching. However, some people are not aware beforehand of the responsibility that comes with adopting a cat. Unfortunately this increases the danger of the cat needing a new home at some point.

  • Cats cost plenty of money

You should always adopt a kitten from a serious breeder. The costs run to several hundred pounds and basic equipment can also set you back a three-figure sum. For instance, you need a comfortable bed, bowls, toys, brushes, scratching tree and litter box. Then there are ongoing costs for a high-quality food and possibly cat litter, along with the costs for veterinary check-ups and vaccinations. Regarding the vet, you should have a sufficiently large financial buffer for veterinary costs, because your cat being sick can soon become expensive.

  • Problems with your landlord and neighbours?

If you rent, you need the permission of your landlord before taking a cat into your home. Otherwise, they can demand that you give up the cat. If the cat stays with you despite this, you face the threat of a warning letter and then your lease being terminated. Hence, you should definitely play an open hand.

Consider too that moving with a cat limits your opportunities, since not all landlords allow cats. If your cat has outdoor access, this can change your relationship with your neighbors: some will get annoyed if strange cats do their business in the vegetable patch or their children’s sandpit. Try to find a solution together.

young woman with ragdoll cat on couch © rock_the_stock / stock.adobe.com
  • Cats are strong characters

Who doesn’t know the phrase “dogs have owners, cats have staff!”? This can’t be dismissed, because no cat will obey to the extent of a well-trained dog.

However, many people love their feline friends for this very reason. Be it jumping on tables, shredding curtains or eating plants, cats do what makes them have fun. Of course, you can teach them some rules for cohabitation, though you shouldn’t count on your cat always sticking to them.

We can also change another well-known proverb to “when humans aren’t home, cats dance on the table”. Training kittens in particular requires plenty of patience. Consistency is needed if you don’t want your cat to sleep in your bed: just one night on your mattress will set you back weeks in training your cat.

  • Fur & hygiene

Cats lose fur and plenty of it. It sticks to your clothes, sofa and bed, so get a good lint brush. With time, you will develop a natural feel for what substances cat hairs are magically attracted to.

Regular combing and a high-quality cat food help your cat to moult less in your home, although there will be fur to contend with throughout your entire lifetime with a cat! Many underestimate this before taking a cat into their home.

As well, cats are clean animals but they still pose many challenges to fans of sparkling clean homes. Do you need examples? No problem. Cat litter gets caught in the fur and spreads in a 20 metre radius around the litter box. Food remains from cats with poor eating habits will end up on walls or in the room next door.

When cats vomit – which is a regular occurrence even with healthy cats – they like best of all to do this on a soft surface, such as your lovely Persian rug. Last but not least, problems with house training can come to the fore if they are ill or in stressful situations.

  • Cats are no loners

If you wish to keep your cat solely indoors, you should always keep two together. This has many advantages: you can leave them alone without a guilty conscience and know that they both always have someone to play with.

If you definitely want just one cat, ask in the animal shelter about cats that absolutely don’t wish to live with fellow felines, though you should plan plenty of shared time together.

Outdoor cats can cope well living on their own. They find plenty of activity and purpose outdoors – and sometimes a feline friend.

  • Cats get (almost) everywhere

Be it the highest shelf or the wardrobe, many cats are real jumping and climbing pros. Some have a talent for opening doors and will explore the cupboard with treats of their own accord during your absence. Be warned that some cats take a nap in the washing machine or leap into the garage or even the car with you in the morning when you aren’t aware. Unlike most dogs, cats also make it to the desk, kitchen sideboard or windowsill.

In short, you should always expect your cat’s presence so that you don’t endanger it unintentionally. If your feline companion isn’t to get unlimited outdoor access, secure your garden or balcony with a fence of at least two metres in height. You may have to ask your landlord for permission!

Maine Coon
  • Cats are hunters

Are there sudden squeaking and whimpering noises in your bedroom in the middle of the night? Perhaps your cat has brought an unwanted visitor!

If you own an outdoor cat, you should be aware that it will occasionally bring prey home. They will place it in the corridor as a gift for you or bring it into your bedroom to continue playing with the still-alive mouse.

Songbirds or goldfish can also fall victim to skilled four-legged hunters. Some serve up their prey as a gift on the doormat! If you wish to adopt a cat, you should accept this trait of your future housemate.

  • Sickness and old age

With any luck, a healthy cat will be by your side for the next 15 or 20 years. However, many cats become acutely or chronically ill at an earlier or later stage.

Mild infections or diarrhoea are over after a few days but can take their toll on your nerves. Chronic illnesses like diabetes don’t just demand that you deal with insulin and diet, but good time management too. Perhaps your cat needs tablets on a daily basis. You’re best off practising giving it tablets when it is still a kitten – with real medication, of course. Some cats will become frail or suffer from dementia in old age. You then need support in the form of climbing aids or more regular trips to the vet.

  • A cat is a wonderful companion!

Yes, cats are expensive, time-consuming and sometimes test our patience. Does this not put you off? Then you have thick skin and a big heart when it comes to cats! With humour, patience and love for animals, you will effortlessly master the challenges of living with a cat! And you will soon forget all the stress once it is lying purring on your lap. We wish you a happy time with your new feline friend!

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