Owning a pet, like a cat, has been shown to reduce stress and blood pressure levels. Bringing a new cat home can be an exciting time, but it’s important to consider the decision carefully. Choosing the right cat for you, your lifestyle, your family, and your environment will help ensure that both you and your cat have a healthy, happy life.
Part 1: Consider your needs and how busy is your lifestyle
Commit to a long-term investment. Cats can live for up to 20 years. If you adopt a cat from SPCA of Stanislaus, it could be at home with you for as long (or even longer!) as your children are. Make sure that you’re committed to giving your furry buddy a “forever home.”
Make sure that you’re allowed to have a cat at home. Cats can be a great choice for people with limited space, such as apartment-dwellers. However, you should check with your landlord, homeowner’s association, etc., to make sure that you’re allowed to have a cat.
- Cats should actually not be “outdoor” cats. Indoor cats in general live longer, healthier lives than outdoor cats and are at a lower risk of developing diseases and injuries.
Do you have enough time for a cat in your daily schedule? Cats don’t usually require as much companionship as dogs do, but nevertheless, it’s important to consider how much time you’ll have to spend with your cat. If you won’t have the time to play with your cat, give it the necessary food and attention, and bond with it, now may not be the right time for you to get a cat.
- You should be able to give at least one hour per day of time to your cat. This will help you bond and will keep the cat feeling happy and healthy. Daily grooming, which can take up to 20-30 minutes, may also be necessary if you adopt a long-hair breed.
- Talk with your vet or the animal shelter about your time commitments. They may recommend that you adopt a pair of cats, particularly if you can find siblings. More than one cat can means they can keep each other company when you’re away at work or gone for a long weekend.
- Kittens often require more upfront time commitment because they must be trained to use a litter box, not scratch on furniture, etc.
Can you afford a cat? Feeding and caring for a cat is not free. The cost can range between $500-$1,000 a year on average. Your expenses will vary depending on whether you have a kitten or an adult cat, as well as the type of breed you have. Veterinary care and grooming are common expenses that can add up over time. To adopt a cat or kitten from the SPCA of Stanislaus our adoption fee is a total of $60.00.
- Kittens are usually more expensive to start with, as they usually need vaccinations, de-wormings, and neutering or spaying.
- Although cats naturally groom themselves, long-haired breeds may require additional grooming. Cats with brachycephaly, or “pushed in” faces (like a Persian and Himalayan) will often need the area around their eyes cleaned to keep infection away.
- Look at the prices of quality cat food and treats in your area. This can help you get an idea of what it will cost to feed your cat.
Consider your household. You need to consider what your home environment is like before you adopt a cat. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Do you already have other pets? How will a new cat fit in with them?
- Do you have young children? Young children may be too rough with kittens and can accidentally harm them.
- What’s the activity level in your household? Are you energetic, on-the-go? Or do you prefer calmly chilling on the couch? Kittens tend to be very active and will need constant supervision. Adult cats are often calmer and need less supervision, although this can vary by breed and even individual cat.
Do you have allergies to cats? If you or someone in your household has allergies or other health issues, consider how a cat could affect these. Millions of people are allergic to things like pet dander, saliva, dead skin, and urine. Considering the breed’s hair length can help prevent allergy troubles.
- A short-hair (smooth glossy coat) breed is best for most people. These cats usually do not require extensive grooming. While they shed, you can clean up fur fairly easily with a vacuum or brush.
- Medium-hair (modestly fluffy coat) and long-hair cats (long, flowing coats) require grooming. You will need to brush and comb their fur regularly. With long-haired cats, grooming is often required daily.
- A few breeds have no hair (and are hypoallergenic). However, these cats routinely get very cold and require things like sweaters to keep them warm. They’re also not furry when you pet them, which is undesirable to some people.
Choose the right type of cat companion for you. The type and age of cat you adopt will affect the type of relationship you have with it. Do you want a cat that will sit on your lap and just chill with you? Would you prefer a cat that will keep you entertained and interact with you? Considering what you hope to get out of having a cat will help you decide what type of cat is right for you.
- Kittens’ personalities aren’t fully developed, so it can be harder to know what kind of attitude and relationship they’ll have with you until they’re older.
- Consulting a breed encyclopedia, such as Animal Planet’s Cat Breed Directory, can help you learn about the common characteristics of particular breeds, such as their speech, independence, and intelligence. Keep in mind that every cat is different, though.
Do your research. Purebred cats have advantages and disadvantages. Cat breeds have distinct characteristics that are often passed down through generations, such as a Siamese’s tendency to meow all the time or a Siberian’s willingness to be handled. If it’s very important that your cat have a particular characteristic, you might consider a purebred cat, but remember that there’s no guarantee that any trait will be present in every individual cat.
- Purebred cats also tend to have particular health problems. For example, Persian and Himalayan cats tend to have heart and kidney disease problems, while Maine Coons have hip problems and heart disease issues.