Owning a pet is a big responsibility that you should not consider lightly. It is important to choose the right kind of pet for your family. When deciding whether or not a cat is a good fit for your family, make a list of pros and cons that are specific to cats before adopting one into your family.
Cats are a bit more independent than dogs in general. If you are spending the night away or even a weekend, you are able to set out enough food and water and make sure the litter box is fresh and then leave your cat by itself. Cats also do not demand constant attention from their owners. In fact, some cats actually prefer to be left to themselves a majority of the time. Others do crave attention, but also enjoy their alone time. Each cat has its own personality, so choose one that matches your attention abilities if possible.
If you are looking for companionship, a cat is capable of offering it to you. Whereas some cats prefer to be left alone, most of them become attached to their owners. Even cats that run and hide when someone comes to visit your home will have no qualms about snuggling in your lap for a nap or nudging your hand for petting. Many cats enjoy playing, as well as snuggling at bedtime or just for a nap, so if you are looking for a companion, a cat is a good choice.
Unlike many dogs, cats are small and do not require a lot of space. This means that if you are living in an apartment, you can have a cat just as easily as if you lived in a house as long as the landlords allow it. Some cats require a scratching post, but if your cat is declawed, it would not need that either. All you really need is space for a litter box and maybe a cat bed. Anything else is extra and not required by a cat.
Unless you can train your cat to do its business outside or in the toilet, owning a cat can be a smelly experience. Some litter boxes are open at the top and allow the smell of cat faeces and urine to spread through the area. This can be alleviated by using odour-absorbing litter, using air fresheners and cleaning the litter box on a regular basis. If the litter box is not cleaned regularly, you will not only need to deal with the smell, you may end up cleaning up messes in other areas of the house. Many cats will not use a badly soiled litter box.
It is important to price various goods and services before committing to cat ownership, such as veterinary costs, food and litter. Consider the start-up costs, as well, including a litter box, scratching post, toys and food dishes, if you have never had a cat before. In addition to these predictable costs, you must be aware that unforeseen costs may pop up. Your cat may become ill, requiring more veterinary visits, surgery or medication. Ask yourself if you are ready and willing to pay for these things for your cat if it should need them.
Many cats do not enjoy travelling. They will cry and fuss the entire time they are in the car, making it difficult to travel with them. If you are someone who doesn't travel or only takes very short weekend or overnight trips, you can easily leave your cat at home with the proper provisions. However, if you are someone who regularly takes one- or two-week vacations, a cat may not be your best choice, unless you have someone who is willing to come to your home to care for your cat every couple of days or you are willing to board it.