Are you longing for a pet, and wonder, “Should I get a cat?”
One young college gal expressed longing to have a dog or cat. She described her lifestyle, time, and availability to care for a pet in general. She thought a dog might require more independence, so asked if a domestic cat was the right choice for her.
She was wise to ask “Should I get a cat?” before asking “How do I choose a cat?” It’s important to consider that:
3 Things to Consider
Take a moment to consider these three factors:
- Your Lifestyle
- Other Pets
Are you home a lot, or are you gone much of the time with work and other activities?
This can influence your decision to get a cat, but also help you decide whether to get a cat or a kitten. A kitten that is home alone a lot will become lonely and bored, which can cause behavioral issues. However, for people with busy lifestyles, a mature cat can be a good pet.
If you have children, consider their ages and level of play. For a five-year-old who likes to wrestle and play hard, a six-week-old kitten probably is not the right pet. Cats that have already been around children are always a good adoption choice.
Often at shelters, we hear, “I told my child she could get a pet, but she will have to take care of him.” That is an unrealistic expectation and often results in the pet being returned days, weeks, or months later. It is hard for pets to go in and out of a home. They bond with their humans and when they find themselves at a shelter, they become stressed at being taken away from home and the people they love.
When an ‘easy-way-out’ decision is made to give up a pet, we are teaching our children that animals can be given away, turned away, and gotten rid of at the drop of a hat. If you are considering getting a cat or kitten, go into it fully aware that the adults in the home will have to help with the care of the pet.
You must also consider the other pets in your household, when choosing an additional pet. If you have a breed of dog that is aggressive by nature to cats, try to choose a cat that has been around dogs in the past. Some people question whether they should even get a cat with a dog already in the home. Yet cats and dogs can be friends. In fact, they can be great friends.
The belief that they are natural enemies has been portrayed in movies for years, but it just isn’t true. Cats and dogs will form relationships, even sleeping together, grooming each other, and taking care of each other. Be aware that it may take time to properly introduce your animals, even tethering a dog at first to prevent chasing, and do consider your dog’s overall personality. But you can look forward to some fun posts from us on touching relationships between cats and dogs!
If you already have a cat and are considering getting a second, consider the personalities and ages of both animals. Gender is less important than age, as an older cat may not be thrilled to have a six-week-old kitten pestering him.
If you wonder “Should I get a cat?” because you’ve never had one before and are not sure about how much time a cat will need, how much it costs to keep a cat, or how to care for a cat, never fear–we will cover that in future posts!