* Adapted from katzenworld.co.uk
Cats are wonderful companions – just being around them is beneficial for both your physical and mental health. Stroking a cat causes your brain to release serotonin and dopamine, which helps you to feel more relaxed. Cats are also relatively low maintenance compared to other pets, although they do still need care and attention. It’s important to do your research and evaluate your lifestyle before committing to giving a cat a home, particularly if you’re considering a kitten as they can be more work than you’d expect.
Before getting a cat, ask yourself the following questions:
Do you have a stable home environment?
If you don’t own your own home, it may not be the best time to get a cat. Even if you’re renting and you’re lucky enough that your current place allows pets, it’s still risky. Renting can be unpredictable and you could be forced to move at any time, which is not only stressful for a cat, but it can be very difficult to find another home that accepts pets. You could then be faced with rehoming your cat which is heartbreaking for everyone.
Do you have enough space?
Many cat rescues or shelters will require that home inspections are carried out before they allow you to adopt a cat. They will typically have a list of criteria you have to meet – some common ones are having a cat flap, living away from any busy roads and having enough space for a cat to explore.
If you live in a small flat or apartment, you’ll need to ensure that you’re getting a breed that will be happy living indoors and doesn’t require much space to run around. This really varies depending on the cat, so it’s important to do your research.
Do you have enough time?
Although cats don’t need to be taken on daily walks, they do still need stimulation to live a healthy life. It’s up to you whether your cat is allowed outdoors or stays indoors, but if they are indoors, they will need plenty of toys and playtime to keep them entertained.
Kittens are especially time consuming. They need a lot of attention from you and a lot of play. Make sure you have plenty of safe toys for your kitten and if your kitten would be home alone all day then consider either getting an older cat or having someone come over to play with your kitten while you are at work.
Can you afford the upkeep?
With a cat comes many new expenses – food, beds, toys and vet bills. It’s a good idea to get some rough costs for each item and add up the monthly estimate to ensure that you can afford it. Vet bills are typically one-offs and can be hard to plan for, but you can make the costs more manageable and predictable by taking advantage of pet insurance.
Does anyone in your household have allergies?
If you have any doubts about a household member having a cat allergy, we would recommend trying to visit a friend with a cat or getting tested before committing to getting a cat. Cat allergies can have quite serious implications for some people and could force you to rehome your cat should someone be allergic. You can avoid this heartbreak by finding out beforehand.
If you feel you are ready for a cat, contact a breeder or cat rescue centre to help you find a cat that is best suited to living with you. After all, it is not just about your happiness, your cay’s happiness is equally important!