How Cats Can Become Purrfect Family Pets!
By Christina Katz
Cats often get a bad rap compared to other potential pets. Cats are often described as aloof, destructive and predatory. Historically, cats have had their reputations repeatedly tarnished, except by ancient Egyptians and Vikings, who revered them. Black cats are often associated with bad luck, witchcraft, and even demons and devils. In everyday language, we use phrases like “copy cat” and we even had “Grumpy Cat” in all of his iterations to remind us that cats are kind of snarky even if they don’t actually say anything we can understand.
And yet, when the time comes to choose a pet for your home, it’s hard to find a better pet for your family than a cat or even two. The benefits of cat ownership abound. So if your family is considering adding a feline friend to your home, consider the following benefits:
A home with a cat never feels empty. Cats make a house into a home. Part of their magic is to always be frisking about, and there is something about a too-quiet house that just feels echoey and lonely in comparison. If you have never owned a cat before, you will be amazed at the impact even one kitty twining around your ankles can make.
Cats are cuddly companions. Congenial, but typically not needy, cats balance independence and togetherness well. They will remind you once in a while that they like affection, but they will not usually hound you in order to get it. Be sure not to take a kitten away from its mother too soon or you can expect your kitten to grow into a needy cat.
They purr. Healthy cats are usually kid-friendly if they grow up with each other. Pets love to soothe sensitive or emotionally challenged family members. In some reported cases, cats have had major impacts on the lives of autistic or emotionally challenged kids.
Cats are adaptable. You may think that a cat will not adjust to your home life for various reasons, but give them a few weeks and watch what happens. You’ll be surprised by how flexible cats can be despite their finicky reputations.
They are entertaining. Cats can be playful, especially kittens, but they are more low-maintenance than dogs who need to be trained extensively and walked several times daily. If you plan to have both types of pets, they can usually get along just fine.
Cats are cuddly medicine. Cats have a proven track record of providing health benefits for infants, students, seniors, and folks with chronic illnesses. If you are at risk for high blood pressure or heart disease, cats provide good preemptive medicine. Cats stretch a lot. They take naps. They blow off people who are acting in a manner unacceptable to them. In other words, cats are great role models for how to have a simple, stress-free life. If we acted as mellow as our cats, we’d all stress less and live healthier lives.
Cats teach kids how to care. Cats bathe themselves. They are automatically housebroken and have the uncanny ability to remember where the litter box is no matter where you hide it. But they can’t completely take care of themselves and therefore they help teach kids responsibility. Ask your children to feed, water, and spend time with their pets so they can bond daily.
Tips for Happy Cat Ownership
Consider adopting two kittens. They will become fast friends and keep each other company as they grow, and then you won’t feel as guilty when you are away on family vacations. As long as they have each other and quality care while you are gone, they will adapt just fine.
Learn to read kitty signals. Teach young children cat talk before you bring one home. Cats can make up to 16 sounds, including purring, hissing and meowing. Children can also learn about feline body language and behavior by watching videos online and bringing home books on the topic from the library.
Find a vet you trust. Consider mobile vets who will travel to your home. Be sure to get your pets spayed or neutered at the appropriate time so that you’ll never have to worry about delivering kittens at home (unless you want to).
Serve the best quality dry food. Despite what we see on TV commercials, cats can be quite content and live long, healthy lives on quality dry food and an ongoing supply of fresh, clean water. If you want to give them a tasty treat, offer your cat a teaspoon of tuna the next time you open a can. They will come running every time they hear the can opener afterwards.
Put them to bed in their own room. Starting from the first night you bring your kittens home, put them in a large, well-ventilated bathroom to sleep for the night. Cats are nocturnal and if you have more than one cat and don’t contain them, their knocking about in the wee hours will keep you awake.
Keep your cats indoors. If you want your cats to live long, happy lives, keep them indoors. Outdoor cats can upset bird populations and may bring bloody, disease-ridden “presents” back to the house for you. Indoor cats live longer than outdoor cats.
Go easy on accessories. All a cat really wants is a few comfortable sleeping nooks scattered throughout your home, a good brushing once in a while, and a stuffed mouse dipped in dried catnip to torture. Kittens love to chase things that dangle, so consider this type of toy or make your own. Beyond these items, the best thing you can give your cat is your attention and some daily hugs.
Relax, it’s just a hairball. Keep your furry friends out of bedrooms or they will shed all over your pillows and occasionally leave a soggy surprise in your blankets. Longhair cats will have hairballs more often than shorthair cats. You can try to manage hairballs with products, but it’s easier to simply get used to the idea of cleaning up the occasional mess with a damp paper towel. If your kitty is in an inopportune location while hacking, simply move her to a clear spot on the floor. And don’t sweat it. Hairballs come out of most anything.
Everything You Need for a Happy Cat
- A litter box
- Cat litter
- A litter box scoop
- Quality dry cat food
- An air-tight container with a scoop for opened food bags
- Food and water bowls
- Scratching posts at least three-feet high
- Several cat beds around the house to curl up on, including one in sleeping area
- A brush
- Nail-clipping tool
- Dried catnip
- A few small stuffed mice
- A toy dangling from a stick
- Vet visits, including annual check-ups, vaccines and micro-chipping