What You Need To Consider Before Getting A Cat

Finding out what pet is best for you and your family isn’t a journey that should be taken lightly. Dogs, cats, turtles, birds and reptiles are amongst the most popular pets. Of these, cats are the most apartment-friendly and widely-admitted pets into controlled living situations. Add to that the well-known fact that cats are independent and don’t need a ton of care, as dogs or birds do, and cats may seem like the perfect fuzzy addition to your family. But no pet is perfect. Here are seven things you must consider before bringing home a cat.

1. Allergies 

Do you know if you’re allergic to cats? It’s not a condition you’re necessarily born with, and it can surface at any time and even between different cat breeds. Before you bring a cat home, have yourself tested for feline allergies. It will save the hassle and potential heartbreak later on if you find you’re allergic after the fact and have to return your cat.

2. Commitment

Cats generally live from 13 to 18 years of age, with many living into their 20s. Having a cat is a huge time commitment, so make sure you’re aware of it before adopting. On that same note, overpopulation is a huge problem in the United States, so do your part to control it by having your cat spayed or neutered.

3. Grooming

Cats scratch. It’s not an obsessive-compulsive disorder, but rather a habit that keeps their paws healthy. As cats scratch the carpet, your furniture and other surfaces, it helps them shed the outer nail layer and bring up a fresh claw. To help this process, do two things: trim your cat’s nails at least once every three weeks, so they don’t destroy everything around them, and give them a sturdy scratching post that they can destroy to their heart’s content.

4. Must-Haves

Every cat should have a designated bed to sleep in, even if he/she chooses your lap or the couch. Make sure your cat has proper ID on his collar and a current microchip in case he escapes from your house. Food and water dishes, along with grooming tools and a litter box round out the must-haves for your cat.

5. Kitty Litter

If your cat is an indoor cat, it needs a litter box on each floor of your home. And keep this in mind: Most cats will not use a full or unclean litter box, so you have to be diligent about scooping out the mess and keeping the box pristine. Guests to your home will also thank you.

6. Toxic Substances

 Many houseplants can be toxic to your cat, so replace them with silk versions. Also, while you might think that cats can eat anything, that’s not true. Avocados, grapes, raisins and raw meat are harmful, so keep them out of reach at all times.

7. Vaccinations

Cats are vulnerable to feline AIDS, leukemia, rabies and other deadly illnesses. Consult your veterinarian to make sure your cat is properly immunized.

Pet ownership is a commitment, but there’s nothing like the unconditional love you get in return. You and your family will benefit for years to come; and if you adopt from a shelter instead of a pet store or breeder, you’ll be saving a life, too.

If you decide that getting a cat is right for you, check out 5 Cats Breeds That Make Excellent Pets.