owning a cat

Owning a cat – pros and cons

Making the decision to get a cat was one of the best decisions I've ever made but it was not one that I took lightly. I did a lot of research into the pros and the cons. In today's post, I am going to share the pros and cons of owning a cat.

 I think that beyond the benefits, it’s really important to know the cons as well. When you know the pros and cons you can make an informed decision. Before we get into the core of this post I want to provide a little bit of context. This is about the pros and cons of strictly indoor cats. My experience with cats has been with indoor cats.

The pros and cons of an outdoor cat will be a little bit different. The second thing I want to mention is that I’ve had both cats and dogs in the past so a lot of what I’ll be mentioning in is from my personal experience of having both cats and dogs and I’ll also be talking about things that I learned from books and other resources.

The Pros of owning a cat

Number one: Companionship

Cats can be wonderful companions and this is the biggest pro for me personally. I got my first cat in 2013 at a time when i was feeling very lonely. I was working from home alone and I was going through some tough emotional times because a family member had passed away and I needed that companionship. I craved it and I got my first cat and he was a wonderful companion. He brightened my day. I felt less alone  – he brought a lot of peace and comfort into my life. So if you’re looking for a companion a cat can be a really great choice.

Number two:  Entertainment

Cats can be very entertaining. There is a reason why cat videos are the most popular videos on YouTube. Cats are very entertaining. Every single day I get a good laugh out of something that they’ve done. They entertain me every single day.  They bring a lot of joy and laughter into my household so I think that is definitely a very big pro.

Number three:  affection

Cats can be affectionate and give you a lot of love. There is this big myth out there that cats are not affectionate and they’re incapable of giving you love and that they’re selfish. I used to believe this myth but now that I’ve had three cats and I’ve also had a dog I recognize the fact that cats can be very affectionate but their affection is different from a dog. So if you are looking to get a cat and you’ve only had experience with dogs know that the affection from a cat is just going to be given in a slightly different way. It’s not as “in your face” as a dog and it takes a little bit of time to earn their trust so you can get their affection.

When I got my first cat it took about three weeks for him to really warm up to me and once he did, he was very, very loving. I have to say he was more loving than the dog I used to have. so each cat and each dog is different.  Don’t believe the myth that cats are not affectionate. They can be very affectionate.

Number four:  Cats reduce stress

Cats can reduce stress and anxiety. I used to be a very stressed out and anxious person and I have to say that since I got the cats I am less stressed out and much less anxious than I used to be. I’ve made other changes too but having the cats just brings that sense of calm and peace into my life so that’s definitely a very big pro.

Number five: Health

Cats can be good for your health in different ways. I want to mention two things here. One is that cats can reduce the risk of heart disease. I thought that was really interesting when I found out that there’s some research on that. The other thing that they said was that cats can help women especially sleep better and I do find that that is the case. When I sleep next to my cat I have a much better night’s rest compared to when they’re not around so I definitely do think that they can have a positive impact on your health.

Number six: Space

Cats can be ideal for apartment life. Now this is not a pro for everybody.  If you live in a house this might not be applicable.  But if you live in a small space like I do it is something to consider when you’re getting a pet. I initially wanted to get a dog but because I live in an apartment I decided against it. I just wasn’t comfortable with the idea of having a dog in the apartment. Not enough space to run around. I used to have a very small apartment before so I ended up getting a cat. So if you are debating between a cat and a dog do consider your lifestyle. Consider where you’re living because it does have an impact on the pet.

Number seven: cats are relatively low maintenance pets.

I want to underline the word relatively.  They’re not completely low maintenance. There are things that you still have to do but compared to a dog I do find that they are lower maintenance. When I had a dog he had to be walked every day… he also had to be bathed regularly.. He would get into a lot of things. He was quite high maintenance.

Now that I have cats I realize how much less I have to actually do for them compared to a dog. So if you’re someone who’s looking for a lower maintenance pet a cat can be a good decision.

Number eight: cats don’t smell.

I have a very sensitive sense of smell so this was a consideration for me. I’ve had dogs in the past and with dogs the thing is that they do smell a little bit especially on the rainy days. Wet dogs smell. It permeates the entire place but with cats I found that they don’t smell as much. I could pick up my cats and sniff them and they don’t smell like anything. With cats the smell really comes from their litter box.. if you keep their litter box clean…the cats themselves don’t smell very much so that was definitely a pro in my opinion.

Number nine: no loud noises.

Cats are all different some are more vocal than others but in my personal experience I have found that cats are much much quieter than dogs. I was making a decision between cats and dogs back in 2013.  This was something that I had to consider because I live in an apartment. I didn’t want to get a pet that would disrupt the neighbors so I ended up getting a cat. I have to say that they’re pretty quiet. They don’t really make too much noise. So if you are looking for a quieter pet, a cat can be a good decision.

Pros And Cons Of Owning A Cat

The cons of owning a cat

One:  cats can shed a lot

Each cat is different.  Some shed more than others. My experience has been primarily with long-haired cats and boy do they shed. They don’t shed that much year – round but there are certain times of the year where the shedding is intense.  And here’s the thing.. even when it’s not shedding season they still shed a little.  I have to vacuum more often and also there is fur everywhere! So if you’re someone who doesn’t like the idea of having fur everywhere.. on your clothes.. in your bed just in the air.. then having a cat might not be the right decision. Having any furry animal might not be the right fit for you but if you don’t mind the fur and if you’re willing to stay on top of it with the vacuuming a cat can be a good decision.

 

Number two: vet care can be very expensive

I think this is a con that everyone needs to know before they get pets. A lot of people who’ve never had pets don’t realize how much vet care can cost.  It’s really expensive. I have spent thousands of dollars over the years on my pets. Thankfully I had insurance so it was covered. 80 of it was covered but I know people who have no insurance and then their pets get sick and they are spending thousands of dollars. Just an important consideration.  You need to know if you can pay for the medical attention your pet might need so it’s always important to think about whether or not a pet fits into your budget.

Number three: litter boxes

They need to be maintained regularly. This is by far my least favorite chore. Taking care of the litter box.  But here’s the thing – with indoor cats you’re going to have a litter box ..it’s where they’re going to do their business and you need to keep it really clean because if you don’t they won’t use it. Cats are really finicky.. they want really clean litter boxes and it’s a lot of work. If you’re not interested in doing this then maybe a cat isn’t the right fit for you.

Number four: cats can damage your furniture

This is a big con for a lot of people. I personally don’t mind the damage to my furniture. It’s pretty minimal.  My cats are pretty good in this department but each cat is slightly different. Now there are things that you could do to reduce the damage to your furniture.. One is to have scratch posts around the house everywhere. I have scratch posts in almost every single room and also teach them to use the scratch post. Another thing that is very helpful is to trim their nails regularly that way they’re not damaging the furniture as much.  But even though I trim their nails regularly and I have scratch posts everywhere. They will still scratch my dining chairs.  There’s still some damage. I personally don’t mind. I have let go of worrying about my furniture but if you’re someone who’s very particular about the way your house looks and how your furniture is maybe a cat isn’t the right decision for you… you need to think about whether it’s something you can handle.

There are people who get their cats declawed.. I wanted to shed some light on this practice.. it’s actually a pretty cruel and inhumane practice. It’s even banned in some countries.

Number five: many people are allergic to cats.

I think it’s very important to know if you’re allergic to cats or not before you get a cat. The last thing you want is to get a cat,  fall in love with the cat and then have to re-home the cat because you’re really, really allergic. Now even though I’m not allergic to cats thankfully and neither is my husband. I know many people are and many of my friends are.  So it is a bit of a problem when they come over.

I have to give certain friends antihistamines as soon as they step into my condo so that’s the thing you’ve got to handle if you have cats. If you’re not allergic you may have family members or friends that visit that might be allergic so it’s just something to consider.

Number six: inappropriate elimination

This is when the cat is not using their litter box to do their business and I wanted to mention this as a con because it is by far the most common reason why people get rid of their cats. It’s because they’re not using their litter box and they’re doing their business elsewhere in the house.. that’s really important to know that this can happen to any cat at any point in time. A lot of times when cats don’t use their litter box it can be a medical issue. So the most important thing is to go to the vet and see if it’s a medical concern.

I had an instance where that happened to me. My cat had a urinary tract infection so he was having trouble with the litter box. I got that checked out by the vet.  He got medication and he was fine. So I think it’s really important to know that this can happen and the first thing you want to do is go to the vet. The other issue with not using the litter box is basically behavioral. It could be many different things and sometimes working with a cat behaviorist can be helpful or just changing the litter box and doing things a little bit differently.

 

Number seven: I can’t travel as freely as I did before

When it comes to owning a pet… whether it’s a cat or a dog or another pet you need to make sure that they’re well taken care of when you’re away. So when I am away on vacation even if it’s a small trip,  I need to make sure that someone can take care of the cats.  I don’t have family and friends who can take care of my cats. Some are allergic,  some don’t know how to take care of cats. I end up leaving my cats at the vet’s office for boarding. It is expensive and I have to book it in advance so I definitely can’t travel as freely as I could before and well right now no one’s traveling anywhere but in general I think it’s important to have that as a consideration when you’re getting a pet. If you’re someone who travels a lot.. who’s going to take care of your pet while you’re away? Something important to think about.

 

Number eight: it’s harder to sleep in. 

While sleeping next to the cats gives me a lot of comfort and I have a good night’s rest,  I can’t sleep in anymore.  They don’t let me! Cats like to wake me up the crack of dawn.  They’re excited to get their day started and that’s the same with dogs too. It’s really hard to have the same routine you had in the past when you have cats and dogs.  They are animals that thrive on a routine so something like sleeping in – they just don’t get it.  If you’re someone who values sleeping in and doing things on your schedule keep in mind that it is going to be a little bit of a change when you get a pet.

Number nine: I have less free time than I had before.

This applies to all pets not just cats. When you get a pet there is a lot that goes into it in terms of your time and you won’t have as much free time as you had before. I have to do a lot more cleaning.  I have to cuddle with them. Well I don’t have to, I want to cuddle with them!  To feed them –  there’s all these things I have to do so I have to say that I probably have an hour less free time every single day compared to before. If you’re someone who’s already strapped for time do consider this when you’re getting a pet. Do you have enough time to put in to your animal? If you don’t then maybe reconsider getting a pet at this time. This is something to keep in mind.

Kitten

Conclusion

Now that you know the pros and the cons of owning a cat.  I hope that you have a lot more insight into what it’s really like and you can make a more informed decision. Getting a pet of any kind, .cat or otherwise is a long-term decision.  Especially in the case of a cat because they live so long.  It is a decision that I personally think should be well thought out.  Not something to be taken lightly. I did a lot of research before I got a cat and because I did all that research, because I was aware of the pluses and the negatives, it ended up being a very good experience because I knew what I was getting into. So definitely do your research.

Text credit:
This text was adapted from a You Tube video (Creative Commons)

Cat images:
One: Depositphotos (licensed)

Two: Pixabay (free)

Three: Pixabay (free)