Buying a Cat?
Thinking of buying a cat? Before you rush out looking at the cute kittens in the pet shop, please consider adopting a cat or kitten from a shelter or rescue center. You would be literally saving a cat or kittens life!
Before you jump in the car though, please consider what you will need to give your new family member the care that it needs. There are quite a few things to be aware of and some cost involved, besides the initial purchase price.
The first consideration may be young or old… Some people prefer to save older cats from shelters as they know that they will have little chance of being adopted, next to those cute kittens. The aim here is to give them a happy and peaceful last few years of their life.
Some Issues to Think About
Consider the other pets you already own, will they adapt to another member of the family and will a new member adapt to them. If you have no other animals then loneliness may be an issue.. you may need to get two cats.
Where do you live? Are you in a confined area with no yard or on a busy road? Are there any restriction on the number of pets a household can own? Will you be keeping your cat indoors or outdoors or a combination of both?
How busy is the family, is there anyone home during the day or night and are there long absences? Do you have the time to feed and groom a cat (if long haired)? Is anyone in the household asthmatic or allergic to cat hair? These are important things to consider before getting a cat, and outlined below is a list of other considerations.
The Cost of Owning a Cat
Once the family has agreed and made a decision to get a cat, then there are many things to organize, most of which will entail some cost on your part.
When purchasing your cat you will be given a record of vaccinations given and those due. Spaying or Neutering may have been performed depending on the cats age. If you have purchased a kitten, then you will need to note when it needs to be done and ensure that it is carried out.
Flea and worming treatments will have been commenced and it is up to you to continue according to the instructions that you are given at the time of purchase. Please make a note of next due dates.
Micro-chipping may have been carried out by the shelter or veterinarian prior to purchase, if not you should arrange for the veterinarian to do this procedure. You should receive a record of this with the actual number. The microchip number can be registered with an online agency in your area, which means your cat can be identified easily if lost. File the microchip number away in case it is needed.
If your municipal office states that all pets must be licensed then kitty must be licensed. There is a tiered cost associated with this and you will have to prove vaccinations, age & spaying or neutering to get the right license. You will be issued with a tag to be fitted to the collar to prove that the animal is licensed. In some cases you can register online as well and also keep your details up to date. If kitty does get picked up by the pound then this license will re-unite you both.
Things to Buy
Food is going to be a continual purchase, however don’t stock up too much in the beginning. It will take a while to know what kitty likes, when you find something, then it may make sense to purchase in bulk.
Food bowls come in all shapes and sizes, some dispense dry food automatically. These can come in handy if kitty tends to eat sporadically through the day.
Water bowls are just as important as most cats like fresh water through out the day and in some cases a water dispenser might meet your needs.
Blanket and bedding may or may not be needed as cats tend to sleep anywhere it is dark and private.
Cat scratch poles help to create a point of curiosity for the cat and give it something to sharpen the claws on. This will save your furniture, rugs and carpet.
Collars are handy to hang bells and registration tags on however it must have elastic inserted to enable the collar to stretch should the cat be a tree climber.
Toys help to promote curiosity and play, however having said that, sometimes a scrunched up piece of foil can elicit just as much excitement.
Pet toothpaste and pet toothbrush are a must to managed your cats’ dental hygiene.
Pet combs and flea combs may be required depending on the cats hair length.
Pet chews may assist in controlling tartar build up and help to keep teeth clean between brushing.
Cat carrier container for transporting kitty to veterinarian appointments is a must and the earlier you train your cat to get used to this the less stressful it will become.
Cat flap for the door if kitty will be an indoors/outdoors cat.
Cat run for when you want kitty to have a taste of the outdoors without the hazards. Compare prices on the the internet as these are a specialist product and are not cheap.
Other Points to Consider
Research and compare pet insurance policies on the internet, they are quite cheap compared to the human equivalent and necessary due to the high cost of veterinarian care.
Document all appointments for vaccinations, spaying/neutering & micro-chipping etc. Also, don’t forget annual check-ups and vaccinations.
Document when worming and flea treatments are due and compare products and prices for future purchases.
Find a good local veterinarian, the best way is usually by recommendations from others. Otherwise use the internet to find a local veterinarian, by the end of your cats’ first consultation you should have a sense of their knowledge and compassion. If you are happy with the service then make sure that you keep their number handy for everyone in the family to see, in case of an emergency in the future.
Locate a cattery if you anticipate future vacations, and keep that number handy. Have a prepared summary of kitty’s care to give to them, including the important numbers (license, Microchip & Veterinarian) and due dates of treatments (worming & fleas).
Above all, if you move house please ensure that you notify any agencies that you have your cat registered with e.g. licence and microchip and update your contact details and get a new license if necessary. If you lose kitty at the new house then you can both be re-united quickly.
Owning a cat is not a short term or temporary prospect, cats can have quite a long lifespan so it is important to be fully aware of what responsible pet ownership entails. Responsible pet care ensures that your cat is able to enjoy a happy and healthy life.
I hope that this hasn’t put you off owning a cat or kitten because despite the responsibility, it may prove to be one of the most enjoyable aspects of your life.