Cats can make wonderful pets, but before you go ahead with cat adoption, there are a number of important things to think about. A lot of people who haven't owned cats think they're very independent and need much less care than other pets. This definitely isn't the case. Here are 10 important questions to ask yourself before you adopt a cat.
1. Can you afford it?
Food, treats, toys, scratching post, bedding, litter boxes, litter, flea treatment, worming tablets, vaccinations, visits to the vet, pet insurance, cattery costs... it all adds up, and it's not cheap.
2. Are you around enough?
Your cat needs regular, fresh meals and a constant supply of fresh drinking water.
3. Are you able to give your cat attention every day?
Cats need lots of human companionship. It's not fair on a cat to leave him alone for long, frequent periods. Most cats are OK to be left alone while their owners are out at work during the day, as long as they get attention in the evening.
4. Are you willing to put up with some damage to your home?
A home with a cat is unlikely to survive completely unscathed. Your furniture may get scratched, your cat may do the odd pee or poop on the carpet, he may throw up on the sofa...
5. Do you have a safe area where your cat can play?
Your cat will need a safe area to exercise in (whether that's indoors or outdoors). If it's outdoors, it needs to be well away from busy traffic etc.
6. Is your home environment suitable?
If you have a dog or young kids, for example, you'll need to ensure the cat you adopt is able to cope with them. Also, are there any areas in your home that would be unsafe for a cat (a workshop in the garage for example), and if so do you have a way of keeping the cat out of there?
7. Do you have enough time?
Cats need playing with every day. Long haired cats need grooming every day, short haired cats once every few days.
8. Are you OK with cleaning the litter box?
You'll need to scoop out the box at least once every day and clean it out completely once a week.
9. Are you able to care for your cat if he gets sick?
This may mean taking some days off work, staying up with your cat overnight, giving him medication, cleaning his eyes, ears, nose etc.
10. Are you prepared for the commitment?
Lots of cats are now living into their late teens and even early 20s. If you're 25 and single now, there's a good chance your cat will still be alive when you're 40 and married with kids.
If you are able to provide the right environment and enough time and commitment, cat adoption will likely be one of the most rewarding and pleasurable things you ever do.
Liz Allan is a cat behavior expert with 25 years experience of caring for cats. For more information on cat care and behavior, sign up for her FREE ezine at http://www.cat-behavior-explained.com/cat-behavior-explained.html