Becoming a Cat Guardian
by Baylie Corpier
You’ve thought long and hard about this – or maybe you’re still thinking. You want a cat, not just any old cat – a cat of your very own. Their little whiskers and toe beans – what’s not to love? They’re basically the most perfect creation in every way, right?
Maybe you’ve never owned a cat though, now’s as good of time as any to start but there are more than a few things to consider before you bring a fluffy, lovable little terror into your life.
Where is your kitty coming from?
Some people don’t think twice about this – but it’s important! You want to make sure the cat you’re getting is a sound animal without supporting unethical practices. Shelters and rescues are great options to find your new friend and offer an otherwise homeless pet the chance to find their forever home with the puuuurfect family, yours.
Pets from the shelters do have their perks! Most shelters and rescues vaccinate, microchip and spay/neuter their animals – besides the obvious bonus of saving a life. Kittens and great adult cats can find themselves in the shelter through no fault of their own, and your new best friend could be at a shelter near you! If you do adopt, consider adopting two! Cats, especially kittens – tend to do better in pairs. Who doesn’t like to have someone they can relate to?
If you have a certain breed you’re looking for, it’s important to do your research on reputable ethical breeders who care about the integrity of their breed.
Do you have time for a cat?
People like to think of cats as low maintenance since they do their own thing and who can rarely be bothered to interact with you – while for some cats that might be the case, most really love their people.
Engaging with your cat is vital to their mental health – they’re social creatures who enjoy companionship. If you’re getting a kitten or even an active adult cat – expect to play with them. Laser pointers can be fantastic toys with minimal effort on your part. If you’d prefer to be more involved in play, feather dancers and balls can be hours of fun for you while providing vital exercise to your feline friend!
Catnip infused toys can be a great way to get a cat going for playtime no matter the age and can bring boundless pleasure to you and your pets!
If you have room for one cat – let’s face it – you probably have room for another. What better way to provide enrichment to your cat’s life than to provide them with a playmate! Kittens do better in pairs and tend to be just a little less rowdy towards you when they have a playmate of their own.
Do you have everything you need?
Cats don’t really need a lot to be happy, you can throw down just about any dish with food and call it a day. Don’t worry about a bed – they’ll be taking over yours.
As long as they’re fed, they’re pretty content and they’re capable of making just about anything into a toy – but for your sake, I’ve made a list.
- Food and Water bowls
- Your undying love and affection
- Litter and Box
Which brings us to another incredibly important topic.
What type of food will you buy?
Cats are obligate carnivores who get most of their water naturally through the foods they eat. Wet food more closely replicates their dietary requirements and keeps their bodies functioning as they should! It’s important to find a healthy brand that will meet all the needs of your new finnicky feline companion. Another brand especially recommended by Katzenworld is Almo Nature which is free from any additives and chemicals and thus provides a brilliant choice for your cats.
While dry food can be a part of a healthy diet, it’s important to be sure your cat is drinking enough water to avoid becoming dehydrated and avoid any resulting health problems.
Are you prepared for Cat-astrophe?
While cats generally are sturdy animals – like anything, problems can arise. It’s important to get to know your vet and if you don’t have one, find one. The last thing you want to do is call around checking for availability while your panicking over a sick kitty. Consider your local vets beforehand and don’t be afraid to shop around, ask them about their rates and procedures before you need them.
If you’re able to – find a veterinarian that specializes in cats, not all veterinarians are created equal and not all know the ins and outs of the feline body and systems. It can mean the difference between life or death for your kitty in the wrong circumstance.
What type of cat would be best for you?
Cats aren’t all cut from the same fluffy cloth – just like dogs, there are breeds of cats and not every breed is suited for every home.
Consider your home life, energy level, and space.
You wouldn’t want to get a very active Bengal in a small apartment or a talkative Siamese if you enjoy your peace and quiet.
If you have the means – consider adopting a special needs pet who otherwise might be overlooked, although they might look a little odd – they still have lots of love to give. Disabilities like blindness can be easily overcome and don’t affect their quality of life at all.
Take your time to explore your options and find the best fit for you!
Do you still want a cat?
Maybe after reading this you’ve decided – cats aren’t for you, that’s okay. While they’re pawsitivly puuurfect for some of us, they’re not for everyone. You can still enjoy them in tons of ways, volunteering in shelters, visiting friends or maybe visiting a cat café – like these ones in Prague! You don’t have to travel so far, unless you want to, they’re popping up everywhere these days – see if there’s one near you!
You’ve made it this far
Chances are you really want a cat – you’ve weighed the pros and cons and you just can’t shake the cat scratch fever you seem to be infected with. If you do – you won’t regret it, cats are some of the most amazing companions we’re allowed the pleasure of coexisting with.
Be sure to do your research and find the best fit for you and your family.
Baylie Corpier is an experienced freelance writer for Pet Wellness Advisor, specializing in animal and pet related articles. She spends her time admiring and appreciating the differences of all animals; Fang, Fur or Fin. A Woman of Whimsy living in the Inland Northwest with her husband and daughter as well as their dogs, cats, fish and any wild creature who comes calling.