If you are considering taking the leap and bringing in a cat to share your home with you, this article will provide you with a detailed insight into the positive and negative elements of having a furry friend.
I admit that I myself lean towards being pro-cat, however after growing up with a variety of them for the past 23 years of my life, I can take off my crazy cat lady bonnet and put on my journalism cap in order to successfully offer up a truthful guide.
When you take on the responsibility of a cat, they will not be leaving you any time soon. With their ‘nine lives’, an average feline can be by your side for the best part of 12 – 15 years, yet many will live to around 21 if they are primarily a house cat and can avoid the dangers of main roads and cat fights (the animal kind rather than the teenage tantrums).
Bad day/week/month? This animal will be right beside you in your hour of need. Admittedly this can vary from cat to cat, but nevertheless almost like a sixth sense, it has been suggested that cats are able to sense when their owner is in need of a comforting paw to cry on, and will provide said comfort through techniques such as settling themselves down closely next to you if you appear withdrawn.
Unless you have been living under a rock for the last few years, you will ultimately be aware of the numerous amusing cat videos that dominate online video sites. These have grown in popularity due to the simple fact that cats are consistently funny without meaning to be. They slip and fall when trying to catch bugs, make ludicrous noises when squared up against another enemy cat, and are experts in projecting an unimpressed attitude when faced with a lowly dog. Boredom is not an option when living alongside a pompous puss.
As long as your tabby has food and water readily available and a litter box or cat flap close by for private matters, they will promise to be both cost-effective and self-sufficient. Out of all the pets available to the keen pet loving public, a cat has a reputation for being happy spending time alone, with the added bonus of being kind on their owners bank account – perfect for the man/woman in the average 9-5 day job who wants a cuddly housemate to come home to at the end of the day. Moreover, with cats having a reputation of snoozing for up to 20 hours a day, you being out of the house for a few of those isn’t a deal breaker for them.
Once you own a cat, you cannot avoid noticing their numerous charms. The paws are dainty yet pudgy, their curled up fluffy forms on the sofa are a happy sight after hours in the office, and their efforts of communication through a variety of meows and grumbles are nothing short of endearing. They are beautifully aloof yet engaging creatures, and once you take one on as your permanent free loading lodger, you never look back at that dull, cat free life you used to lead.
Three words: fur, fur, fur. Even with a short-haired breed, cats do have a tendency to moult, resulting in a fair amount of grooming to avoid finding hair balls coughed up onto the carpet and fur all over your best work trousers. In addition to this, outdoor cats will require regular removal of ticks hidden within the depths of their coats, especially during the warmer months. This is not a glamorous job, and can be time-consuming as you try to make your cat sit still for long enough in order for you to successfully remove this tiny blood-sucking insect.
As sweet as those paws may be on first glance, the claws are slightly less inviting. When a cat chooses to sit on your lap, they will usually make themselves comfortable by padding these deeply into your legs. This action relates back to the cats younger years when it would pad on its mothers stomach to extract milk, but unfortunately this scratchy habit carries on into adulthood and is one you need to put up with on a daily basis. In addition to becoming a human pin cushion, cats also have an irritating tendency to scratch on any surface they deem fit. Examples of this include the stairs, the arms of the sofa and the expensive new rug that you just purchased. Anywhere but the scratching post you kindly provided.
Regrettably, cats will not provide you with the fitness benefits of taking them for a walk. They are perfectly content spending time on their own, whether that be sleeping or exploring the great outdoors for hours, occasionally popping back home to recharge their batteries with some food. They have no desire to be put on a lead and dragged around a park, so if you are looking for a pet to join you in your exercise regime, a dog would probably be more suitable.
If you imagine your future feline becoming best buddies with your next door neighbours cat in a Disney-esque Aristocats fashion, think again. Cats are intensely territorial, thus intrusion onto their home turf is never taken lightly. If an unknown visitor creeps onto your grass, expect something along the lines of hissing, scratching and a whole lot of bushes/fences/anything in close proximity being sprayed with a large amount of cat urine. Not pleasant, but undoubtedly amusing to witness.
As previously mentioned, cats like to explore. unless you own a house cat, it is highly likely that your four-legged lodger will occasionally disappear for a couple of days, if not longer, before eventually returning home when they choose. This will cause a great deal of worrying and a huge amount of relief when you arrive back from work one day and find them waiting impatiently on your door step after their mini break. The majority of cats are heavily autonomous and dance (or claw) to the beat of their own drum, even if this does cause their owners to sporadically fret about their whereabouts.
This, therefore, concludes the unbiased guide as promised to lead you towards making a fully informed decision as to whether you will open your arms, and your heart, to the intriguingly independent and curious lifestyle of a cat.
Perhaps a goldfish would be a more suitable household companion to begin with.