When you first think about getting a kitten, or an adult cat, you are close to entering into a long and interesting association that will both entertain you and baffle you at the same time. You are not just getting a cat; you and your family are starting a close relationship with a small bundle of energy that considers all of you as his “people.”
Adding a cat or kitten to your home is the start of a lifelong relationship with several commitments that need to be given some thought before you do it. A cat is not just an animal living in your house, she is sensitive and perceptive and, if cared for, will become a family member that will share love and affection with your family for a lifetime. Before visiting shelters or answering ads for free kittens, check out these three considerations first.
A Kitten or an Adult Cat
The first should be whether you want a kitten or an adult cat. If you have small children, a kitten might not be a good idea. They will not be gentle with a kitten who will naturally use claws and teeth to protect itself.
Some comparisons might make your decision easier. Kittens are very boisterous and high-spirited. They will definitely not fit easily into a serene lifestyle. Older cats are usually litter box trained and normally have been neutered and are up-to-date with their shots. They will join your family with a lot less racket than kittens will create.
On the other hand, if you have the time, patience, and energy to raise a kitten, it can be a lot of fun to watch them play and grow.
A Lady or A Gentleman
Another critical decision is the gender of the new addition to your home and life. Do you want a male or a female cat? If unneutered, either choice will make your life miserable. Male cats will fight territorial wars with the entire neighborhood and spray a strong scent all over your house marking their territory. Females will drive you crazy with loud cries and howls when they are in season.
You would be well advised to get your gender choice neutered, if necessary, before bringing them home. Once neutered, either gender can become a sweet, loving addition to your life.
Things Your New Kitty Will Need
To make a cat comfortable in your home, you will need to get several items that your cat considers necessities. First, buy a quality cat food. Check with your vet for suggestions. Next, get a litter box and non-clay litter. Add a plastic scoop for collecting soiled litter. Remember that you will have to keep the litter box scooped out often, and even though the kids might promise to do it, if they don’t, it will be up to you. A cat will find some other place to “do his duty” if his litter box is too dirty.
Make a quiet, safe place for your new arrival to sleep. You will need a carrier to bring your cat home and for vet visits. The carrier can be the safe bed he needs. You can put a blanket or soft towels in a cardboard box or the carrier. Just leave the door open at home.
A scratching post will divert his attention from your furniture. Good advice is to make sure your scratching post is not covered with material that resembles your couch, chairs, or rug. Other needs are tip-proof bowls for water and food, and they shouldn’t be placed near the litter box.
Carefully consider your choice of cats and how to make them comfortable once home. Then you can look forward to those soft purrs and the unconditional love you’ve dreamed about.