Cats are relatively easy to take care of, especially when you compare them to other domestic animals, but this does not mean that they do not need a good level of care and attention. If you are considering adopting a kitty, you must make sure that you are prepared to be dedicated.
Introduction to Are Cats Easy To Take Care Of?
Cats are often seen to be very low-maintenance pets, and this is largely down to their independent nature; however, this doesn’t mean to say that they are ‘easy’ to take care of. Much like any other animal, they require love and affection, a high level of health care, and of course, the day to day basics like food, exercise, and a safe home.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who presume that getting a cat will mean absolutely no disruption to their household and that things won’t change that must, but the opposite is true.
While you won’t need to go out in the rain or heat and walk your cat as you would with a dog, nor will you need a lot of specialist equipment as you would with exotic pets, you will have to take on a lot of new responsibilities.
In this article, we are going to be looking at how easy cats are to take care of and what is involved in being the proud new owner of a puss.
Getting To Know Your Cat
It might be a surprise to learn that cats are extremely diverse animals and whilst one moggy may be eager to play all day and lap up any attention you give him, another may be reluctant to come near you unless he needs feeding.
One of the common mistakes that new cat owners make is that they try to lavish their new housemate with attention – and why wouldn’t you? Cat’s are super cute, and it is hard to resist wanting to spend all of your free time with them. However, when you adopt a new kitty, you must spend some time getting to know her.
Every cat has a different personality, and even if you have had many cats previously, you will notice that your new pet is nothing like any of them.
This is one of the first and most important steps in giving a cat home and taking on the responsibility of caring for her. If possible, you should spend some time with the cat before bringing her home; you might see this as a ‘dating’ period before moving in together.
Things to think about would be how you and the cat get along – are you looking for a lap cat or a more independent pet? You should also consider how the animal gets along with children and other pets if you have these in the home.
Your responsibility to the animal starts before she has even set a paw through your front door – if you do not think that the cat will be safe and happy in your home, it may be worth looking for another one. You would not want the animal to be frightened or at risk of harm.
Things You Need To Consider When Taking In A Cat
In a day to day sense, your cat will not be difficult to care for – unless he is ill or displaying difficult behavior, but we will discuss this in more detail later on.
The things that you will need to think about the general care of your cat are:
- Being able to provide freshwater and food every day, preferably at consistent times so that your cat gets into a routine and feels safe and secure.
- Being able to give you cat enough love and affection. Although some cats won’t be as fussy for human interaction, you must understand how much of this your cat needs. Not doing so could cause him to feel lonely.
- Have a clean and safe place for your cat to sleep. Many cat owners invest in a cat bed or basket only to find that their feline friend never uses it and would rather sleep on the end of their bed. If you are happy with this, there is no reason why your cat shouldn’t bunk in with you. Provided that she has somewhere safe and comfortable that is accessible to her, she will be happy.
- Keep your cat entertained. Cats are curious and intelligent animals that require daily stimulation. How these looks may be different depending on the animal, but it could include, cat toys, garden access, a window to look out of, scratch poses and cat climbing frames or time spent playing with family members. If cats are bored, they will begin to display inappropriate behavior that can be challenging to stop.
- Being able to groom your cat correctly. Whilst cats are very clean animals who will take good care of themselves, as a pet owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that their grooming routine is strict. For long-haired cats, this is particularly important. What’s more, brushing your cat is a great way to bond with him.
- All cats must have several vaccinations, and this is especially important if you are going to allow them outside. These vaccinations will prevent the cat from developing some of the most common and serious felines diseases and give him a long and happy life.
- In addition to vaccinations, you must also be prepared to provide worm and flea prevention treatments regularly – these usually come in tablets or drops that can be easily administered every three months. However, should your cat get worms or fleas, you must also be prepared to treat this appropriately.
- Pet insurance is not a must, but it is certainly the responsible thing to do when you have a cat. If your cat ever needed critical treatment that you could not afford, pet insurance would be invaluable. If the cost of vet bills is not an issue, then this may not be a point you need to consider.
More Serious Things To Consider When Getting A Cat
For the most part, being a cat owner is a pleasurable and rewarding experience, and their day to daycare will not break the bank, nor will it take up too much of your time. Furthermore, getting into a routine with your new pet is relatively easy, and most cats will fit seamlessly into their new homes.
However, as with caring for any animal, there could be more serious things that you need to think about. Understanding these things will give you a better idea as to whether you can handle the responsibility but will also ensure that you are prepared for every eventuality.
Unwanted Cat Behaviours
Normally, cats are very well-behaved pets, but there are some things that could cause them to act differently – and there is no denying that some of these behaviors can be very challenging.
One of the most common unwanted cat behaviors is inappropriate urination, where the cat will pee outside of the litter tray. This can be massively frustrating for cat owners since they may not understand why their kitty is behaving in this way and of course, cleaning up can be time-consuming and difficult.
There are several reasons why your cat may begin urinating in places where she shouldn’t, and we have some great in-depth articles about these. But to look at it in brief, the following may be related to your cat’s unwanted behaviors:
- The litter tray may not be accessible. If it is in a hard to reach area or if there are other cats in the home this can be a problem. Cats are very territorial and may not want to share their litter tray. If you have recently brought a new cat home, your other cat may not take kindly to this, and if the new housemate cannot access the litter box, he will do his business anywhere else that he can.
- Stress can cause cats to pee in places that they shouldn’t, and this is quite common in the early days when you first bring your cat home. Other things, such as big changes and fights with other cats in the neighborhood could also bring on feelings of stress.
- Medical conditions might mean that your cat struggles with incontinence, and it is important to take your pet to the vet to be assessed and diagnosed.
- Cats will mark their territory, and this is more common in males but is not unheard of in females. This may be a problem in homes where there is more than one cat, or it could be in relation to mating.
Another common unwanted behavior in our feline friends is that they can be very vocal. For the most part, your kitty might meow when she wants food or is looking for some attention, but when these sweet meows turn into continuous yowling or howling, it could signal that there is a problem.
Dealing with this kind of behavior will require you to figure out the issue, and most commonly, this is related to age, health conditions, or feeling stressed and scared. One of the greatest responsibilities of being a cat owner is doing a little detective work to figure out what is distressing your cat. It is also essential that you involve your vet – taking care of a cat in easy, but when these more challenging situations arise, some pet owners find it hard to cope.
Neutering Your Cat
Most people will automatically book their cat in to be neutered at around four to six months old, and this will largely stop them from spraying and marking territory where mating is concerned. It will also prevent your female moggy from returning home with a belly full of babies.
There is a huge debate between cat owners as to whether neutering is necessary. This could be one of the more difficult parts of taking care of a cat because there is no right or wrong answer – it is your choice.
You should think about certain things, and there are pros and cons to having your cat neutered. Most obviously, undergoing surgery will be distressing for your cat and they will require some extra care afterward which you must be prepared to give. This could be seen as an inconvenience to some pet owners who adopted a cat, thinking it would be an easy animal to take care of.
In contrast, neutering is known to prevent certain cancers such as those found in the breast and womb so you could potentially be saving your cat’s life by allowing them to have this operation. Additionally, you might wish to think about whether you would be prepared to care for a pregnant and nursing cat – as well as what you would do with the litter. Taking care of a single cat is one thing, but a litter of kitties may be far more demanding, especially when it comes to rehoming them.
Cats are wonderful pets and provide animal lovers with a nice balance between being independent and loving to spend time playing with their humans and giving them lots of cuddles.
For this reason, a lot of people are under the impression that taking care of a cat is easy. They might be right, for the most part, because the day to daycare of a kitty doesn’t require too much hard work. Provided that they are well-fed, entertained, and have a warm, safe place to bed down for the night, a cat is a pretty easy pet to care for.
However, there are other, more serious things that you should keep in mind when bringing a cat into the home. Whilst these may not be relevant all the time, things such as spraying, excessive meowing, and potential pregnancy are all things that need to be considered as these can make taking care of a cat more difficult.
Even with the more pressing side of looking after these furry friends, there is no doubt that a cat will be a loyal, loving, and friendly pet who will reward you in so many ways.