Thinking of getting a cat?
Welcoming a cat into your home is a truly enriching experience. Cats are great company, they adapt well to new environments and they can quickly become not just a pet, but a real member of the family. In short, life is better with a cat!
Let’s look at a few key things to consider before you invite a cat into your home.
A few things to think about
Inviting a cat into your home is a decision that should be made by everyone in the family. You all need to live in harmony, so it’s important everyone is aware of the many responsibilities of pet ownership.
Cats can live for more than 15 years, so choosing to buy or adopt a cat should never be an impulse decision. It’s a long-term commitment that should be carefully considered and discussed. Even if your kids beg you for a pet and promise they will help look after it, keep in mind that the responsibility to care for your new cat will generally lie with you.
You also need to think your time constraints. Cats are relatively easy pets, but it’s still important to spend time and play with them regularly. It’s good for their well-being and great for your bond. You’ll also need stimulation for them in the times you can’t be there. You might even consider getting two cats if they will be spending a lot of time alone. Living with a feline friend will keep both of them mentally and physically active, and entertained, as they play, climb and cuddle etc.
There are budget considerations too - every cat has basic needs like feeding, grooming and veterinary care. Also, think about what sort of cat would be the best fit for you and your family. There are many different types of breeds of cats, all with their own inherent traits, and there of course other factors to consider when choosing a cat like their age, sex and personality. What’s best for you?
Once all these factors have been considered, and everyone in your family is excited about welcoming a new family member into your home, where do you start? Where’s the best place to find your new cat?
From a breeder
Reputable, professional breeders guarantee the origins of their cats and are therefore able to sell you a cat of ‘pure breed’. Examples of pure breeds include Siamese, British Shorthair, Persian, Maine Coon and Burmese. Generally, cats from reputable breeders will have been screened for genetic issues, and that you are dealing with a professional whose business is based on caring for and respecting the long term health of their cats.
Reputable breeders will be able to discuss cat ownership with you in advance and help you decide if their particular breed would be a good fit for your family and household. You are able to visit and inspect cats prior to taking them home, and the breeder will be there for advice and follow-up once you have brought your new cat home.
For more information about breeders in your area, visit your local and national cat breeder’s association website.
There are also many people that raise pets privately. This can be a great option if you can adopt from people you know. Perhaps you even already know the cat and feel that she would be a welcome addition to your family. Knowing your pet’s history will also make it easier to transition her into a new environment – you’ll be able to match food and other factors that may make it more comfortable for your cat in the early stages.
If you’re buying privately from someone you don’t know, the important thing is to visit and spend time with the cat prior to taking her home, to get to know her. Try to find out as much as you can about her and her history.
In any case, regardless of her history or current situation, if you adopt a cat at the age of 8 to 12 weeks, there is plenty of time for her to learn to socialise and adapt to a new home. Even wild kittens, with some work, can become affectionate social members of the family.