A while ago, I wrote a post on The Pros & Cons Of Dog Ownership. Well, I left felines off the list, so today, we’re going to talk about the best and worst parts of having a cat.
Let’s start with the bad parts first.
Just like the pros and cons of dogs, poop is number one on the cat list. Cats poop, it’s really stinky, and unlike dogs, they do it in your house. If you are uncomfortable with poop anywhere in your house but the toilet, don’t get a pet.
You don’t have to house train cats; they instinctively want to poop in a litter box, which is nice. Unfortunately, this also means you have to clean a litter box. It’s one of my least favorite chores since cat pee smells like ammonia. I’d almost rather clean up my dog’s poop over cleaning out the litter box. Actually, I’d rather not clean up poop at all, thanks.
Cats have them and they are so very painfully sharp. If you do something that a cat doesn’t appreciate, it will have no qualms about scratching you unmercifully.
Even though your cat might scratch you or the things in your house, please, do not de-claw a cat. It is painful for them (like removing your toenails) and takes away their natural defenses, particularly if your cat ever goes outside.
Even though they will never stop scratching (not even if you de-claw them), there are plenty of things you can do to encourage a cat to scratch where you want them to, i.e. a scratching post. Most cats naturally take to a scratching post pretty easily.
Also, clipping their claws is really simple. If you get a cat, start doing this pretty much immediately and they’ll get used to it. I’ve been clipping my cat’s razor talons since he was a kitten and he’s cool with it (for a cat) as long as he gets his treat afterwards.
3. They’re pretty willful
Unlike a dog, a cat will not listen to commands. You can call them to come all day and they’ll just look at you like, “What’s your problem? Can’t you see I’m in the middle of my mid-morning partial sun nap? After this, I have my post-mid-morning shade nap to attend to. I’m very busy. Go away.”
Somehow, they instinctively know when you intend to take them to the vet and they’ll find the best hiding spot ever when it’s time to go.
4. Predator instincts
Even living in your lap of luxury, a cat never forgets its wild ways. Their prey drive never entirely goes away. No matter how long they’ve lived in a nice, safe environment, if they see a mouse, they’ll hunt it. If you have an indoor-outdoor cat, you can probably expect to find half a mouse on your doorstep at least once. It’s a present.
Cats shed. Some shed more than others, particularly long-haired cats like mine, but they all do it (with the exception of the completely hairless varieties). Cat fur is very soft and it has a way of weaving itself through any material. And since they live most of their lives in your home, most of the fur will end up there. I recommend a good brush and a pet vacuum attachment.
For whatever reason, it seems that cats throw up more than most animals. It’s not necessarily a sign of illness; it’s just part of being a cat. Sometimes, it’s food. Sometimes, it’s a hairball from swallowing all that hair when they groom themselves.
In addition to cleaning poop from a box, you can expect to clean up the occasional vomit pile that’s almost always right in the middle of your good rug. Fingers crossed that you don’t notice it by stepping on it.
1. Cats are low maintenance
Make sure their littler box is clean, and they have plenty of food and fresh water, and you can easily stay away from home for a night or two without them being too bothered by it. If you go away for longer than that, you’ll want someone to check in on them, since they have a tendency to not drink water that has food in it (that they dropped there) or not eat food from the floor (that they knocked over).
Cats are fans of routines and they hate change. Most would rather stay at home than go gallivanting about with you anyway.
Cats are fastidious animals. Like a good oven, they clean themselves. This is excellent, since you really do not want to have to give a cat a bath. Trust me on that (see 2. Claws under Cons).
2. You probably won’t have a pest problem for long
I’ve never worried about creepy crawlers with a cat around. They’re excellent hunters and will take care of most rodent or insect problems without having to call an exterminator.
I moved to an apartment that had a mouse problem for about a week before my cat took care of it. I guess the remaining mice decided to move somewhere less cat-infested.
Even my current lazy feline–who really only moves to eat or because vacuum cleaners are terrifying–hunted an errant locust that found its way into my house. Have you seen those things? They’re huge and icky. Thanks, cat.
3. They do very well in apartments
Most cats don’t even need to be outdoor cats. They’re typically happy indoors, especially if they have a good window to survey the surrounding kingdom (which, of course, is theirs, too).
My cat hates being outside. He’s an indoor only cat and he’s quite happy that way. He’s nearly ten years old, and besides the four days he went missing when he thought that outside might be fun, he has no interest in being out there. It’s better for both of us that way.
4. They can be very affectionate
When a cat doesn’t like someone, it’s pretty obvious. The flip side is that, when a cat likes you, it also shows. They have bad poker faces. Cats don’t like you just because you feed them like a dog. You have to earn their trust and affection.
When a cat lies belly up, it means they’re very comfortable with you. Just beware the claw trap:
5. They’re highly entertaining
All cats do this thing once in a while that I call “crazy kitty” where they just run around the house like they’re on fire. Why? I have no idea. They are incredibly strange creatures and sometimes, I look at mine and wonder how this weirdo wormed his way into my house.
Almost every single day though, he does something that makes me laugh. Like falling off of things, running face first into doors or sitting in this position for a few minutes–long enough for me to go get a camera and take a picture:
Laughter is worth all the vomit.
6. They purr
Purring is the cat’s neatest trick. It’s a sign of contentment, and dare I say, affection. My cat is an instant purrer. I pet him and he starts purring immediately. He loooooves me. Nothing is better for your mental health after a crappy day than cat purrs. When you’re sick, they always know and they’ll curl up with you.
Cats are also excellent snugglers. Unlike my dog who growls at me if I try to snuggle, I wake up with my cat snuggled up next to me every morning. It’s a very nice way to wake up.
If you do decide to get a cat, please, adopt one from your local shelter, and don’t forget to spay or neuter!