Cats are a popular pet for many reasons. But before you become a cat owner, it’s worthwhile looking at just what is involved in properly caring for a cat. Before you becoming a cat owner, please do read this article and give a great deal of thought to your long-term commitment in regards to caring for a cat. Their average lifespan is 12-15 years, so ask yourself if you are prepared to provide these necessities every day for the duration of the cat’s life.
It is apparent that many cat owners still think it is acceptable to obtain a cat and then expect it to live outdoors permanently. This really isn’t much of a life for a cat and isn’t a socially responsible thing to do.
Firstly, how do your neighbours feel about your cat roaming into their garden? They shouldn’t be expected to have to put up with neighbourhood cats on their property. Outdoor cats pose a risk to wildlife, even a well-fed cat will still hunt. Your cat is also at risk himself, there are cars, dogs and other cats. He runs the risk of bite wounds from fighting other cats and possibly catching FIV or FeLV as a result.
If you must let your cat roam, it is recommended you do so during the daylight hours, and bring your cat inside from dusk to dawn, when the native wildlife is at its most vulnerable. But bear in mind, if you have a white-nosed cat, it is at greatest danger of exposure to the sun in daylight hours. If your cat is outdoors, ensure you provide adequate shelter from rain, wind and the sun.
Food and water:
Naturally, cats need food and water. This is a basic requirement essential to life. If you have a cat, it is your responsibility to ensure it is fed a good quality balanced diet made for cats and is given fresh, clean water daily.
Kittens have different nutritional demands to adult and senior cats, so it is always advised that you feed the appropriate food for your cat’s age.
Cats are clean by nature and generally if they are provided with a litter tray, they will use it. It is up to you to ensure the litter tray is cleaned daily and the litter changed frequently. As a rule of thumb, you should have one litter tray per cat, although you can get away with less, as long as you practice stringent hygiene and ensure it is scooped daily. Failure to provide a clean litter tray for your cat is not only cruel but may also result in your cat refusing to use the litter tray.
Generally speaking, shorthaired cats don’t need to be groomed. Regular stroking will help rid the coat of loose hairs. Many of the longhaired breeds do require daily grooming or their coats will mat. This is extremely uncomfortable and painful to your cat and may require a visit to the vet and sedation to have the mats clipped out. So, just bear in mind if you do want a longhaired cat that his coat will need to be groomed daily.
Can you afford to own a cat? Day to day expenses aren’t too bad, cat food, cat litter, flea and worming medications and a yearly health check/vaccinations. But sometimes the unexpected happens and your cat requires veterinary attention which can run into thousands. Can you afford to pay vet bills? Think about the future, will you have children and go down to one wage? If so, will you still be able to afford to properly care for your cat?
Love and attention:
Cats require mental stimulation and enjoy love and attention from their carer. So ask yourself if you are prepared to meet these needs?
When you go on holiday you will have to either find a friend or neighbour who is willing to care for your cat, find a professional pet sitter or board your cat. The latter two cost money. Are you prepared, and in the position to afford to pay for a sitter or boarding facility when you go away?
It is a fact of life that we all get sick from time to time and this certainly applies to cats. It is important to realise that veterinary bills can quickly run into the hundreds and even thousands of dollars.
Routine veterinary care would include an annual check up and vaccination, but do bear in mind that just like humans, cats do need medical attention and be prepared to pay for this. The best way to be ready is to either have a bank account set aside for veterinary emergencies, where you put $5-10 a week into, or take out pet insurance. But there would be nothing more heartbreaking than being faced with a huge veterinary bill you can ill afford.
Your cat will require monthly flea and worming medication.
If you can answer these questions with an honest yes, then having a cat is probably right for you. However, it is a long term commitment which you really have to be sure about. A cat is a living creature and deserves to be in a home which will meet his needs both in the present and the future. If you are not sure you can meet his physical, emotional and financial needs then it is better not to get one.
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