Last Updated: 2 weeks ago

A kitten is often one of the top contenders when looking for a family pet. Cats are a great choice for companionship and bring joy to your home, so they should always be a top choice.

Cats can help reduce stress, depression, and anxiety, provide unconditional love and support, and provide a calming presence.

Should I get a cat or kitten? There are some things you should know before adopting a feline friend.

6 Things To Consider Before Getting A Cat

Before adopting a furry friend, make sure you consider a few things.

Getting a cat is not like buying a new appliance or furniture. They are living animals that need love and care from you.

1. Do you have time for a cat?

Should I Get a Cat? What You Need to Know Before Adopting
  • Lifespan: Owning a cat is a long-term commitment. Cats can live to be 10, 15 or even 20 years old. 
  • Time Commitment: Cats don’t require constant attention but can’t be left alone for extended periods. Similar to children, they may become destructive if left without stimulation for too long.
  • Lifestyle: Before adopting a cat, what was your life like? Are you at home for long periods? Do you travel a lot? If you can’t spend time with your furry friend, maybe consider it when your life is more settled. 
  • Job: Owning a cat is good if you have a regular job and only travel occasionally. However, if you live alone, does work keep you away from home for extended periods? If so, cat ownership may not be the best option for you. 

2. Potential Health Issues and Common Allergies

Pets are not all fun and games. Some people might have health issues related to pet ownership.

Allergies to cat hair and dander are relatively common. These allergies can manifest as asthma, itchy eyes, a runny nose, or other minor issues.

Having a cat allergy is no reason not to consider a cat, as there are several ways to manage allergies: 

  • Over-the-counter antihistamines can provide relief.
  • Regular allergy shots can help desensitize your immune system over time.
  • Consider choosing from specific cat breeds known to be more allergy-friendly 

3. Pregnancy and Cat Ownership

pregnant cat seeking comfort

Expecting mothers to own cats is something special to consider.

It’s not the cat that poses a risk, but rather the handling of cat feces and the need to maintain the litter box.

Cat feces may contain parasites that can lead to toxoplasmosis, an infection that can potentially affect your baby.

4. Financial Impacts

Owning a cat has more financial and time commitments than you might think. Here are a few of the various expenses you need to prepare for.

  • Food: Cats require regular, quality cat food to maintain their health. Consider the cost of feeding your cat throughout their lifetime.
  • Litter: You’ll need to provide a clean and appropriate litter box. Cat litter is an ongoing expense.
  • Grooming and Supplies: Some cats may require regular grooming, depending on the breed. Additionally, you’ll need supplies like toys, scratching posts, and bedding.
  • Veterinary Care: Cats need routine check-ups, vaccinations, and preventive care. Be prepared for these costs, and consider the potential for unexpected medical expenses.

5. Care And Maintenance

cat on scratching post

Cats, while relatively independent, require ongoing care and maintenance.

  • Litter Box: Cleaning the litter box regularly is essential for your cat’s and home’s hygiene.
  • Playtime: Cats need mental stimulation and exercise. Plan to spend time playing with your cat or providing engaging toys.
  • Scratching Posts: Cats have an instinct to scratch. Providing scratching posts can prevent damage to your furniture.
  • Regular Veterinary Check-ups: Ensure that you can commit to scheduling and attending routine veterinary appointments for vaccinations and preventive care.

6. Is Your Residence Space Cat-Friendly?

If you have a very young child who hasn’t yet learned to be kind to animals, bringing a cat into your home might not be the best idea.

Ensuring the safety and well-being of both your child and the cat is essential. You wouldn’t want to put the cat in a situation where it could be mistreated or react aggressively.

It’s also important to consider the opinions of other household members. Ensuring everyone agrees with bringing a cat into your home promotes a harmonious living environment.

If you live in an apartment, checking whether your lease allows for pet ownership is critical. Compliance with these regulations is essential to avoid potential issues with your living arrangements.

How To Select a Breed For Yourself

Best Cat Breeds for First-Time Owners

While most cats are mixed breeds, there are around 40 recognized cat breeds available.

These breeds have distinct traits that can help you find a cat that aligns with your personality and lifestyle.

  • For Single Individuals: If you’re single and looking for a cat that doesn’t demand excessive human interaction and can adapt to a smaller living space, several breeds may be suitable, such as the Persian, Birman, Kurilian Bobtail, and Tonkinese. 
  • For Families: If you have a family with children, you may prefer an affectionate cat that enjoys playful interactions. Consider breeds like the American Shorthair, Burmese, Maine Coon, or the Ragdoll
  • Allergy-Friendly Breeds: If allergies are a concern in your household, five cat breeds are less likely to trigger allergic reactions. The following breeds are known for being more hypoallergenic: Cornish Rex, Balinese-Javanese, Devon Rex, Sphynx, and the Siberian.

Kitten vs. Adult Cat: Which is Right for You?

Not all cats are the same. Should you raise a kitten or provide a home for an adult cat?

Each option has its advantages and disadvantages.

Kittens

kitten sleeping on floor
  • They are undeniably adorable and cuddly.
  • Training for habits such as litter training and behavior can take time and patience.
  • Even with their training needs, their irresistible cuteness often makes it easier to forgive occasional mishaps.

Adult Cats

  • Adult cats are typically already litter-trained
  • They are generally sturdier and better for those with children.
  • However, they may have some pre-existing habits or behaviors, including aggression, biting, scratching, or spraying, which can be addressed through training.

Why to Adopt and Not Shop

adult cat with kitten

There are various ways to welcome a cat into your life, such as by acquiring one from friends, family, a breeder, or a pet store.

However, adoption is the way to go for many reasons:

  • Affordability: Cat adoption is budget-friendly and includes spaying and neutering, vaccinations, deworming, microchipping, flea and tick control, and a complimentary vet exam.
  • Health Benefits: Mixed-breed shelter cats often enjoy better health and longer lives due to “hybrid vigor.”
  • Life-Saving: Adoption saves lives by providing a loving, secure future to cats at risk of euthanasia.

Should You Get a Cat When You Can’t Take Care of Yourself?

It is not something you can just purchase to make you feel better for a while and then get rid of when you don’t want to care for it anymore.

Buying a cat is a massive commitment, and by agreeing to become its owner, you are basically taking an oath to care for that cat and provide for it for the next decade or so.

While buying and owning a cat is an amazing thing, everything isn’t always peaches and cream. Cats are sometimes skittish in new environments and take some time to warm up. 

This means the first few weeks of bringing your cat home could be difficult, as they may mark their territory or behave strangely in other ways.

Even after the cat is accustomed to your home, it may still act out at certain times, which can make your life more difficult than it already is. It is by no means easy to own a cat 100% of the time.

Work hard at improving your life in whatever way you need to, and maybe use the prospect of getting a cat as motivation for getting your life back on track.

Once you have your life where you want it and are ready, go and get the cat of your dreams. Both you and your new cat will be happy you waited instead of rushing into it when you weren’t ready.

It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to talk to a local veterinarian to get a better idea about how to care for a cat and what things you may need to purchase.

Wrap-Up

Bringing a cat into your life is a significant decision.

Key factors include time commitment, health considerations, financial readiness, maintenance, choosing the right breed, and choosing between a kitten and an adult cat.

Adoption offers affordability and the chance to save a life, enriching your journey into cat ownership with love and companionship.

What you you suggest to someone looking to get a cat? Please share in the comments below.

Olfa T
Olfa T

Olfa knows how to get things done and has a keen business sense that others admire. She’s always on the go, coming up with new ideas! Her ability to anticipate the needs of her readers and deliver information that they want is what makes CatVills such a success. She loves cuddling her cat Picaciu. He is her inspiration.