11 Hard Things No One Ever Told You About Owning a Cat
To me, there is truly nothing better than experiencing the love of a cat. Sure, I am a little biased, but I can’t think of anything that makes me feel better than that cold little wet nose, those kneading paws, and that slow, steady purr when I come home from a long day.
But I’ll be the first to admit…
Having a cat isn’t all candy and rainbows. Sure, it’s easier in many ways than having a dog but it does come with its own set of unique challenges.
Taking care of a cat requires lots of time, space and yes…money. It is a responsibility that many people can often take much too lightly. They think that by having a cat, they’ll have it easy.
Well, that’s not exactly true.
And if you're considering the life-changing event that is becoming a cat parent or would like to get a better handle on taking care of the cat you do have.
Here are 11 hard things no one ever told you about owning a cat.
1. Cats Get Bored
We are all aware of just how aloof cats can be. And while they act like they don’t need anyone, cats are surprisingly social creatures. Which means they need the company of others and the stimulation that comes with interaction. If you know that you won’t be around a lot, you may want to consider getting two cats. This way they’ll have a buddy to hang out with and they’ll keep each other company when you’re not around. It’s also a good idea to make sure there are plenty of toys around too.
2. They Need To Be Groomed
I know what you’re thinking. Don’t cats give themselves baths? The short answer is yes. However, that doesn’t mean that they don’t require additional grooming from you. The fact is, most cats need to be brushed on a pretty regular basis and doing so will keep shedding to a minimum. The brushing also keeps their coats looking soft and luxurious while it keeps hairballs to a minimum.
3. Cats can get too hot
In addition to the reasons we just went over, grooming your cat can also keep your cat cool. This is especially important if your cat has long hair. And if you live in a hot climate, it’s even more important. If brushing your cat isn’t something you're prepared to do, try shaving your cat’s hair, or at least having them professionally groomed on occasion. This is especially helpful during the hotter summer months.
4. They Need To Play
Cat’s aren’t loners. In fact, they need to be actively played with and entertained. It’s really important to take at least 15 minutes each day to play with your cat. Whether it’s using a feather wand or throwing a stuffed mouse they need to engage in some predatory and instinctual behavior. It helps keep them healthy and it's good for their mental health too.
5. Cats are good at hiding their health problems
Cats are notorious for being able to hide their health problems. And many experts say it’s a survival instinct that has remained in domestic cats. In the wild, showing weakness can mean all sorts of problems and put them at risk for attack by other predators. While hiding pain and other ailments may work in the wild, it can be frustrating in your house. That’s why it’s so important to observe your cat closely on a regular basis. Watch them walk, keep track of their eating and bathroom habits and take them to the vet for regular check-ups.
6. Watch Your Plants!
Who doesn’t love beautiful house plants? But far too often, cats like to use them as chew toys, especially kittens. But the issue isn’t so much that your plants won’t look good, although that’s certainly a problem, a far greater concern is that several types of plants are toxic to cats.
Make sure to clear your home of any risky ones and keep your vets’ number handy in case of an emergency.
7. They Shed…Sometimes A lot!
There’s nothing worse than pulling out your favorite black dress and seeing that it's covered in cat hair. But hey, that’s life with a cat. And it’s not all bad. One thing I do is I always have a lint roller with me. I put one in my car, my purse, upstairs and downstairs. Do the same and you’ll never be caught off guard. It’s a small inconvenience, but well worth it.
8. Lots of People Have Allergies
Aside from the inconvenience that cat hair can cause your clothing, it can cause a lot more problems for some people. You’d be surprised at just how common cat allergies are and when people come to your home, it usually doesn’t take long before the red scratchy eyes and the runny kicks in. In fact, cat allergies are twice as common as dog allergies. So, if you want to continue having guests in your home, grooming is a must. As is sweeping, vacuuming and the use of an air purifier.
9. Outdoor Cats Are Always In Danger
A lot of people think it’s cruel to keep your car indoors, and on many levels, it does have its disadvantages. But it’s also a heck of a lot safer. Outdoor cats are at a much higher risk for diseases and injuries. In addition, the lifespan of an outdoor cat is much shorter. If you do allow your cat outside, it’s always best to bring them in before dark, you can also allow them outdoor time with a leash or if you’re really ambitious, build them their own little outdoor enclosure.
10. Owning A Cat Isn’t Cheap
While they may not be as expensive as children, cats can cost you. It’s not like you’re paying school tuition, for clothes or buying them their own cell phone but there are ongoing expenses associated with cat ownership. Things like food, toys, litter, grooming and vet bills can add up. So, make sure you set some of those expenses aside in your monthly budget. And if you factor in spaying and/or neutering if it hasn’t been done, it can get even more expensive.
11. You Really Should Clean The Litter Box Daily
This is the one everybody hates, but honestly, if you do it every day, or preferably twice a day it really isn’t that bad. Plus, your cat appreciates a clean litter box. And keeping the litter box clean and frequently scooping allows you to stay on top of your cat’s elimination schedule which in turn helps you keep track of their health.
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