If you do not feel like you are up to the challenge of caring for a dog but you still want a companion around the house, a cat may be a great option. Cats are much more independent than dogs and you do not need to worry about letting them outside every few hours. This is not to say that owning a cat is not a big responsibility – owning any pet can be a challenge, at times – but if you want a fairly low-maintenance pet, then a cat might be the right choice.
Before you get a cat there are a few things you should consider. Ask yourself the following questions to determine if a cat is right for you.
Can You Afford A Cat?
Costs for good quality cat food, toys, furniture, bedding and veterinary care can soon add up. It's the unexpected costs that hurt the wallet the most and pet insurance is a good way of protecting against those and keeping a known monthly budget. There are many pet insurance plans on the market and pricing varies according to location, coverage, age, breed and medical history. It is cheaper in the long run if you insure your cat while they are young, but make sure to read the small print looking for exclusions. A CareCredit healthcare card can help with financial liabilities but this is a form of credit card so please use it prudently.
We recommend researching the costs of keeping a cat before you adopt one to check affordability and what allowance you have for unexpected health costs that may arise.
Read more on how to save money on your pets bills:
Are You Allergy Free?
Many people are allergic to pets and in many case it comes as a surprise soon after adoption. Allergies can be triggered by pet saliva, oils on the skin and most commonly dander. Mild symptoms such as sniffling are most common, but in some cases hives and asthma can be triggered. Before adopting check that everyone in your household will be allergy free.
Contrary to popular belief there is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic pet, but some breeds such as the Russian Blue and Bengal have less Fel d 1 protein, which is what causes the allergic response in people.
Spend some time with the cat you are looking to adopt to see if any symptoms arise, but be aware that this is not a fail-proof method of determining you are allergy free. Learn more about handling pet allergies in the following articles:
Is Your House / Apartment Cat Friendly?
There are many things to think about prior to adopting a cat. Many rental properties do not allow pets on the premises without prior permission and if you are moving with a cat, options for a new apartment can be limited. Keep an eye on this question from one of our community members for more advice : How do I find housing when I have multiple cats?
Is Your House / Apartment Ready?
Are you ready for scratched carpets and furniture? Are you ready to have litter boxes in multiple rooms in the house? Are you ready for the occasional accident on the carpet? Take this advice to prepare your home for a cat:
Do You Have Other Pets?
Adding a new pet to a household with established pets can be problematic in certain situations. Make the introduction slowly using these tips: