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Top Things to Consider Before Getting a Cat
Monday February 1st 2016
Bringing a pet cat into your home can be one of the most fulfilling things you ever do.
But it’s not all cuteness and cuddles – it’s a significant commitment that can take up a big chunk of your time, not to mention money.
Figures from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home show it receives more than 2,000 abandoned moggies every year, suggesting this may be something many fail to consider.
That’s why it’s so important to do your homework before welcoming your new furry friend into your house, so both of you have the best experience possible.
To help you prepare, we’ve put together a list of the top questions to ask yourself before taking the plunge and deciding on a cat…
Can I afford it?
You may prefer not to think about it, but it’s important to know that cats live for an average of 15 to 17 years, with many even reaching the grand old age of 20.
So you’ve got to be sure you’re able and willing to look after your moggy for the long haul – unless you’re adopting an older cat from a home or shelter.
Cats may be notoriously independent spirits, but there’s still a range of things they depend on you for, including:
• Food - £30 a month
• Vaccines - £70 a year
• Neutering - £50
• Microchipping - £25
Of course, owning a cat really is worth every penny, as long as you’re sure you can afford to make the commitment.
• Top tip: Pet insurance may be able to cover you when you have to shell out for unexpected vets’ bills.
Who will look after my cat when I’m away?
There are loads of options to consider when you go on holiday, depending on how long you’re going away, your cat’s personality and what you’re comfortable with.
Getting a friend or family member to check on your pet is probably the best option, saving you money and allowing your cat to stay in the comfort of their own home.
But if you’re not lucky enough to have someone to call on, you could pay a pet-sitter to come round, though that means having to budget for the extra cost.
Alternatively, there’s a whole range of catteries and pet hotels you might want to bear in mind, from five-star retreats to more basic options.
Do I have everything I’ll need?
Having all the right gear in place before bringing your cat home will make it easier for him or her to settle in.
And with so much equipment to get hold of, it’s easier to shop in advance, rather than having to rush.
Among the most important things is a litter box, which will help your cat get into a routine when nature calls, and a scratching post to keep those claws in tip-top condition (and save your carpets).
Aside from these, the shopping list for your new companion could look something like this:
• Food and water bowls
• Grooming equipment
Is my home safe?
Cats are curious and inquisitive, so will get up to all sort of mischief when exploring a home.
It’s essential to make sure you don’t leave anything harmful lying around, which could lead to an accident.
This includes obvious things like cleaning supplies and medicine, but also means getting rid of houseplants – some of which can be toxic for cats, including certain ferns and types of lily.
• Top tip: Consider installing a cat flap to allow your pet to come and go as they please.
Will my cat get along with its new housemates?
It’s important to think about how a new cat will fit into your existing living set-up, in particular whether they’ll get on with other animals or children in your household.
If this could be an issue for you, ask at the pet shop or rehoming shelter for an animal with a sociable temperament that enjoys being around others.
Bringing a cat into your family will also offer the chance to teach little ones valuable lessons about the importance of respecting animals.
As long as you’ve done all of your research and preparation, getting a new cat will be a great experience for both you and your pet.
• Top tip: Try introducing your new cat to each member of your family gradually, so they don’t get overwhelmed.
This article was written on behalf of helpucover. helpucover is a trading style of Pinnacle Insurance plc, an insurance company who offers pet insurance.