Thinking of becoming a first-time cat owner? There are many great reasons to get a pet cat. There are also a few challenges to be wary of before you decide to adopt a feline friend. This guide weighs up the pros and cons of cat ownership to ensure that you’re ready. Savearescue.org allows you to adopt a cat and provides all of the pet services you might possibly need for your cat.
A brief history of pet cats
Cats have been popular pets for thousands of years. Many ancient civilizations found them to be sacred - check out these five cultures that worshiped cat goddesses and gods. This idolization was likely due to their cunning ability to hunt and their sense of independence.
Unlike dogs, cats are believed to have domesticated themselves. It’s believed wildcats were attracted to homes due to the mice and rats found in storerooms. By hunting these mice and rats, cats would have helped to preserve supplies of grain and prevent the spread of diseases. This would have likely led to humans welcoming cats into their homes. In other words, cats’ relationship with humans is one born out of mutual respect.
Without having to be tamed, cats have been able to cling onto much of their natural instinct. Consequently, they are much more independent than other pets.
The pros and cons of pet cats
Pet cats have many qualities that are worth comparing. Below are some of the pros and cons of pet cats.
The pros of cats
Cats typically live between 10 and 20 years. Compared to many other household pets, they have much greater longevity. You’ll get to spend more time with your furry friend and build a deeper friendship.
Studies show that just being around cats can reduce stress levels for many people. Stroking a cat can be particularly calming. If you lead a stressful life, getting a cat could help you to relax at home and reduce those cortisol hormones.
Generally quieter than dogs
Cats tend to be fairly quiet pets. Some like to meow a lot, but they’re unlikely to be a concern to the neighbours. Dogs are much more likely to be a source of noise complaints. If you want to keep the neighbours happy or simply don’t want to deal with incessant yapping, you’re better off getting a cat.
If your home has a problem with mice or rats, getting a cat could be one way to combat the problem. Hunting rodents is a natural instinct for cats. You could find that simply by having a cat in your home, mice and rats are scared off and encouraged to nest elsewhere. Some cats are even able to scare off snakes.
Cute and funny
Cats are also some of the cutest and funniest pets. They make great pets for stroking and cuddling up to and they can be a great source of entertainment. Young kids are certain to love cats.
The cons of cats
Cats are very much creatures of habit. They like to stay in a familiar environment with a sense of routine to guide them through each day. Consequently, they are not good travel companions. Most cats are likely to get very stressed if they are constantly being moved to new places. Most cats also hate cars - while dogs can be taught to be put up with car rides, cats are likely to be much more stubborn. You can leave your cat at home while travelling for long periods, but ideally you shouldn’t leave your cat alone for long periods too regularly as cats can get lonely.
A downside of cats is that they like to scratch things with their claws. Many cat owners end up with scratched sofas and scratched carpets. This behaviour can be discouraged by telling cats off when you notice them scratching and by encouraging them to use a scratching pole instead. However, with a kitten your home is still likely to sustain some damage.
While cats are able to clean themselves, this unfortunately results in hairballs - hair gathers in the stomach and forms itself into a ball which is then vomited up once it reaches a certain size. Make sure that you’re prepared to clean up these hairballs if your cat decides to throw up indoors. It’s important to remember that hairballs are natural and healthy.
Some people are allergic to cats. Cat allergies can often be more serious than dog allergies, causing breathing difficulties which may require use of an inhaler to treat. If you or one of your household members has an allergy to cats, you might want to think carefully about getting a cat. It’s possible that if it’s a mild allergy, you may be able to manage it with allergy treatment medication. Keeping your home well ventilated and vacuuming up shedded cat hair may help to reduce symptoms.
Cats like to leave ‘gifts’ to their owners. These gifts often consist of rodents and even birds that your cat has caught. In most cases, such animals are dead by the time you get them, but this may not always be the case. Make sure that this is something that you’re prepared for - especially if you live somewhere rural with lots of wildlife on your doorstep
While cats definitely aren’t the most expensive pet, they do still come with their associated costs. Vet bills are one of the highest costs of being a cat owner. Make sure that you’re able to afford such treatment if it becomes a necessity. Taking out pet insurance may be able to spread the cost of your cat’s healthcare. There may also be times when you can save money by shopping around for treatment.
So, should you get a cat?
Cats are ideal for those wanting a low-maintenance and stress-free pet. Yes, you may have to deal with the occasional dead mouse or hairball, but this is nothing compared to the daily mess that other pets can create (i.e. picking up dog poop).
You shouldn’t get a cat if you’re the type of person that’s always on the move or rarely at home. Cats don’t travel well and are happier when they have human company. If you have plans to settle down somewhere for a long period, a cat may be a good option.
Cats can be suitable apartment animals. Many cats are content without a garden, providing that they’re given enough indoor stimulation. You also don’t have to worry about cats being too loud, unlike dogs.
Those that are very house proud may want to steer clear of cats as they can be messy and can destroy furniture. However, this can usually be prevented with the right amount of training. You’ll need to be prepared to clean up fur. Regular cleaning could help to stave off allergies.