Things to Think About

I'll be the first to admit that cats are adorable, but they are a lot of responsible. Unlike dogs, they don't require being home every five hours to take them for a walk, but cats do require time and money. So before you rush out to adopt one, here are some things to think about.
  • Check your lease: Does your landlord even allow pets? Make sure or you could be evicted.
  • Pet fee or deposit: Chances are if you live in an apartment, or even a house, your landlord will require a fee or deposit or sometimes both for your pet. Be prepared to shell out a few hundred dollars for your pet. For example, I had to pay a $200 pet fee and $200 refundable pet deposit.
  • Friends, family, and significant others:
    • OK it with your roommates and have them come with you to pick out your new cat. After all they will be sharing the same house.
    • Talk it over with your parents to make sure you can bring the cat home over vacation or in an emergency.
    • See if anyone who would be spending a lot of time in your home is allergic.
    • Check to see if your parents would be willing to help you with bills if the cat got ill.
  • Costs: There are a lot of costs associated with owning any pet. Besides yearly shots, food, litter, toys, and treats add up so be prepared!
  • Lifestyle: Are you the type of person who travels a lot or is planning on studying abroad? Are you only at home to sleep? If so, this may not be the right time to own a pet. Wait until after you settled down.
  • Future: Getting a pet is a life long commitment. Will you still want the cat once it's not a kitten? What about if you move...will you take it with you? If unsure, then don't get one now!
If after reading this, you still feel a cat is right for you, then here are some thoughts and tips for choosing a cat.
  • Breeds: Each breed has a different personality and characteristics. Go to a library, ask your vet or go to the Cat Fancier's Association for more information on each breed.
  • Cat or Kitten: Most people choose a kitten, but there are things to be said for getting an older cat--even 8 months. By that time, they have had most of their shots and their personality has developed. Plus, they aren't as rambunctious. But, if you already own a cat and want another, the adjustment is usually easier if you get a kitten.
  • One or two?: If you're getting a kitten, think about getting two. That way they'll always have a friend to play with.
  • Male or Female: Unless you already have a cat at home, the sex doesn't matter. If you do own a cat, many people recommended getting one of the opposite sex.
Now that you have your cat, you'll need food, supplies, a vet...All that good stuff. Here's my advice.
  • Picking a Vet: Look in your phone book for a list of vets and call around for prices. Ask friends for recommendations, which is probably the best way. Remember if you're unhappy with the vet that you chose, you can always switch. There are also vets that just care for cats--in fact, I use All Cats and have been very happy with them.
  • Food: Some cats are picky about what they eat, others don't care. I recommended dry food with an occasional scoop of wet food for a treat. My picks are Science Diet or Iams. Oh, and don't forget fresh water.
  • Litter: Get a covered litter box. It'll help keep odors down and prevent litter from flying everywhere. As for litter, most any clumping litter will do. I usually buy Tidy Cat.
  • Toys: Don't spend a lot of money on fancy toys. Cats will play with almost anything--plastic bottle caps, rings from a gallon of milk. Each cat likes different things. My cats' top picks are a feather at the end of stick, little furry mice, and this blue ring-like thing with a ball in it.
  • Treats: Cats love treats, so give them a few every now and again for a reward. The crunchy ones are better for cats, especially if they are tartar control. Whiskas even sells treats that are low fat.
  • Claws: A scratching post is a must have if you want to save your furniture and carpet. The Alachua County Humane Society sells a great one made of rope and carpet for $30. Besides a scratching post, buy pet nail clippers and clip your cat's claws a few times per month. Don't think of declawing a cat as an alternative. Declawing is extremely painful and unnecessary.
  • Cat Carrier: Even if you don't plan on taking your cat on long car trips, it is a good idea to own a cat carrier. Use when taking your cat to the vet or any car trip. It's safer for the cat.
This list is by no means complete. There are always other things to think about or buy. Feel free to ask your vet questions, look in books and search the Internet for your cat-related questions. These are always good places to start but in the long run, you learn as you go.

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Created by: Stephanie Schlazer
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