So, I fully support doing research before buying/acquiring anything- but ESPECIALLY ANIMALS. Sadly, the majority of people looking into pet ownership have unrealistic expectations of said pets, and due to the overwhelming amount of people I personally know who have recently decided to obtain kittens only to give up on them has prompted me to write this list. Here is what to realistically expect from a pet cat.
IN GENERAL, CATS DON’T GIVE A SHIT
Most cats are very independent, self reliant animals. If your best friends snuggly cat has prompted you to get your own, keep in mind that every cat has a different personality. You cannot tell whether the kitten you buy will grow up to be extremely moody, a total love bug, or a boring layabout. Different breeds have different characteristics, but for the most part it’s good to go in assuming your new cat will generally be selfish. Especially if you are used to the behavior of dogs.
DONT GET A CAT TO TAKE THE PLACE OF THE DOG YOU WANT BUT FOR SOME REASON CANT HAVE RIGHT NOW
There is a reason behind the “Dog People” and “Cat People” thing. A dog is most interested in making and keeping you happy with him. A dog desperately seeks your approval, he is your loyal servant. A cat puts itself before you and shows it’s affection differently and less visibly. Over time, you will begin to appreciate the little things your cat does to show affection towards you. They become, in my opinion, more rewarding, because God knows it’s hard to please a cat. You will also learn the ways in which to tell when your cat is happy. For example; my cat would sit on the toilet around 7 am, knowing my dad was getting up soon for work to immediately take his shower. Her little greeting every morning let him know that she loved him. I have also noticed that my cat is happiest at night when Rob and I are both home. I can tell she is excited because she does this manic thing where she rips around the room like a speed demon and chases her tail. This type of behavior might piss off a first time cat owner who can’t decode a cats behavior.
IT’S NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE TO TRAIN YOUR CAT
Cats love counters, cabinets, beds, and sinks. Yelling at your cat is usually effective in keeping them away from these things, for about two seconds. Don’t waste your energy- just know that they will always have access to these things and basically they will be wherever they want whenever they want. I know my cat will be over at the sink while I am at work, so I make sure to drain all the soap/water/food before I leave. I re clean the counters before making any food on them. A water filled spray bottle is best at curbing these behaviors, but I wouldn’t assume it will stop it forever. Cats do what they want, and to be a good cat owner means respecting and coming to love that about them. It gets worse…
SAY GOODBYE TO YOUR NICE RUG/COUCH/BLINDS
When owning a cat, it’s best not to invest in expensive rugs, couches, or bedding. A cat will most likely also break your blinds. It’s smart to use curtains instead of blinds, buy a couple different couch covers, and keep your cats claws clipped. Cats love to scratch things. One reason is that they actually have to, to shed parts of their nails. The other part is instinct. In the old days they used to de claw cats which is totally selfish and abusive. A cats claw is attached to his knuckle bone, and thankfully for the past couple of years this has been considered inhumane and most vets no longer offer this option. You’re buying an animal with claws, remember that.
Once you’ve smelled cat pee, you will never forget it. I promise you that your cat WILL pee on something you love, if not a lot of things. I’ve lost many shoes and expensive leather jackets to my cat. Cat pee is really hard to wash out and is high in ammonia. There are a bunch of really dumb wives tales regarding how to teach your cat not to pee outside of it’s box. Pushing a cats face into its own pee is ridiculous and stupid. The only way to curb this is to make sure your litter box is clean and accessible and keep your clothes and shoes off the floor. Cats will pee on things that smell like other animals to establish their dominance, they will pee on things out of resentment/fear, and they will pee on things if their litter box is gross.
HITTING YOUR CAT
The most you can do to a cat is lightly swat its butt. You really can’t “punish” a cat, especially with violence- EVEN IF YOUR CAT BITES AND SCRATCHES. I don’t know one cat owner who hasn’t had cat scratch scabs lacing their arms at one point or another. My cat will even bite if I don’t handle her “correctly”- ie: the way she wants. Cats are known for harboring great resentment. Yelling, hitting, and isolating/ignoring your cat does nothing but make it hate you- trust me- and will make it worse. Consider your cat a total anarchist and accept it. Like I said, a water bottle to spray your cat and a repellent spray to keep it away from certain areas is the best option. It’s extremely hard to gain and regain a cats trust.
There will be fleas, worms, respiratory infections, dental problems, vaccines, and possibly much worse. There will be strange things a vet won’t immediately be able to diagnose, and many treatment options. You will spend a lot of money keeping your cat healthy, especially if your cat is an outdoor cat!!!
ALL THIS BEING SAID
Cats are great! They are self cleaning animals. They don’t need to be walked or taken to the bathroom twice a day. They are cute as all hell. They are super intuitive and incredibly smart. There are many struggles you will have to shrug off. At the end of each day, it’s worth it. But buying/adopting a kitten only to give it back is horrible. Each day that passes after a kitten is born makes it less and less adoptable. Giving your kitten back as an older kitten or as a cat is basically a death sentence. Consider these things before adding a cat to your household!