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Cats are a lot of work but they are great animals to be made as pets. But there are some things you need to know before owning a cat. There’s more to just feeding and taking care of the litter box. Having a cat is like having a big commitment and also a healthy investment.
Here are some things you need to know before getting your own cats:
1. They Are Costly, NOT KIDDING
Like all living things, they’re going to cost you some money to properly raise and feed them. To get a cat, you can either seek them from trusted breeders or adopt them from shelters. Both of these cost money but adoption is way less costly as the fee is only for their past vaccinations, neutering and probably a pet carrier. You can try to adopt cats and other animals at Pet Finders or SPCA Selangor.
Alternatively, you can also bring home a poor little stray that catches your heart (this one is free) but do bear in mind that some strays are a bit harder to train than other cats as they’re probably more adapted to living in the hood (gangster’s paradise). Just need a bit more effort and love to train them, that’s all.
Apart from getting the cats, other things you’re going to be spending on are food (they’re not cheap if your cats are picky), cat litter, toys, cages or pet carriers, grooming tools and health needs like vaccinations, medications, neutering and more.
2. They Take Over Your Life
Cats are undoubtedly cute and cuddly, don’t get us wrong. Beneath those bubbly masquerades, they are famous for being mischievous and downright terrorizing. Let’s just say that you need A LOT of patience to own a cat.
Expect peeing on beds (get a cat urine repellent), sofa/furniture scratching (get them a claw scratcher), furs everywhere (get a lint roller), messy litterboxes, dead animals on your doorsteps, playful but painful scratching and biting, gangster catfights, marking their territories everywhere, and plenty of drama over food (trust me, even if you open a bag of chips, you’ll be surprised how ‘magically fast’ they can show up beside you).
Some cats are also loud chatterers. Yes, some only speak when they need food or are in pain but some cats are just fine vocalists, especially when they’re in heat (mating season)! You’ll have them ranting about how they were once royalty and you not treating them on par with their ancestors and all. You just gotta listen, really. Try to keep up with the conversation, will you?
3. They Sleep, A LOT
You think being a predator would mean them readily pouncing and hunting like their ancestors every second of the day but not really. Cats are known to be asleep most of the time with an average total of 15 to 20 hours a day!
Ideally, they like to nap in the daytime, basically when people are often out of the house at work or running errands. But this also means they are active at night, and sometimes get zoomies on top of you while you’re sleeping.
You might think that having a cat bed would be ideal since they sleep a lot, right? More often than not, your cats will just use the bed as a decoration and opt for YOUR bed instead. Or any cool nook or crannies they can find like the end of furniture, underneath the tables, or on top of washing machines (be sure to lock any rooms you don’t want your cats to go into).
Oh, they can also sleep right in the middle of your way too. They just love to be trampled over. It’s a hobby, really.
4. They Need Health Check-Ups Too
They may look energetic and tough but sometimes, these little furries get sick too. Boy, the bill for one trip to the vet can surely get you depressed. Whether it’s a government or private vet, if your cat has a serious health condition, you need to be very prepared financially.
Apart from emergencies, your cats also need regular visits to the vets for vaccinations (RM40-RM80 per vaccine). There are a lot of types of vaccines for many diseases (FeLV, FIV, FPL) and they need to take booster shots for them too. Some of them are very recommended and some are just a precaution. Ask your vets which ones they recommend your felines to get.
If your cats have parasites internally (microorganisms, worms) or externally (fleas, ticks, mites) they can get treatment at the vet too. A simple deworming medication can cost around RM10-RM20. You can also get a shot or other medications from the vet if the flea shampoo or collar doesn’t work.
5. They Reproduce, A LOT
You need to neuter or spay your cats if you don’t want any unwanted litter (especially your female cats). Spaying/neutering helps to regulate your cats’ moods. Male cats are proven to be less aggressive and won’t pee everywhere, female cats will not go into heat and be horny and irritable everywhere. The average cost of neutering and spaying in Malaysia may be around RM100-RM200.
Apart from preventing cat overpopulation (stray litters without proper care can die from starvation, diseases or accidents and they can even carry dangerous zoonotic diseases that can affect humans), neutering and spaying may have other medical benefits too like reducing the risks of uterine infections or cancerous tumours in their sexual organs in the long haul. Hence, your cats may live longer (their average lifespan is 13 years but they can live up to 20 years you know).
Unless you’re a professional breeder or just want a happy family of kittens all around you (more kittens more money, just saying), then you don’t need to do this step.
6. Their Hairballs Are Not BALLS
Hairballs do not come in the form of a ball, instead, they are cylindrical or sausage-like. They may come with complimentary vomit and secretions as well. These are particularly common for long-haired cats.
It may be common for your cats to spit out hairballs once in a while but frequent coughing, gagging, and retching of those hairs can signal that something is wrong with your cat. It could be intestinal blockages or too much stress that promotes excessive overgrooming. Get your cats to the vet if you see them gagging out hairballs on a frequent basis.
7. Like Royalty, They Need To Be Entertained
Cats are hunters, in nature. So they have quite the amount of energy to pounce and play. If you don’t let your cats wander around the house or let them roam free outside the house, you need to entertain their exercise needs. You can play with them using a laser pointer, a fake mouse, a feather on a stick or even a string.
If you’re ‘lucky’, they’ll even attack your legs when you’re casually walking, and then sprint up the stairs frantically for no good reason (they tend to do that sometimes if they have too much energy, so play with them and give attention!). It actually helps them to be mentally and physically fit, apart from being a good bonding session with your furry friends.
8. They Are Wanderers, So Get Them A Tag
They’re no Christopher Columbus but if you put a camera on them, you’ll be surprised by the destinations your cats will bring you. These are particularly true for those cats who you let roam freely.
You know you can count on them to find their way back but if they are met with external factors (getting lost, involved with accidents, or even a seductive and attractive hunka hunka/hottie), you would worry yourself too much. So get them a collared nametag with your contact details or get them microchipped. At least, it’ll put your mind at ease.
However, cats are safest when kept indoors, so do that if it’s an option. You can prevent them from getting lost but what about getting kidnapped? Yikes.
9. They Have A Record With Showers, Bad Ones
Let’s face it, cats clean themselves quite constantly. But sometimes, they smell quite funny. Or they might have fleas, ticks and mites on their furs. So they are in need of a shower. For those cats who love water, we don’t know what breed they are or who possessed them but you’re one of the luckiest owners there is.
However, for others, getting them in a shower can be one of the most traumatic experiences for both you and them. Get your body and ears ready for a whole lot of scratching and yelling. They could win an Emmy Award for the best “I’m being tortured, help me out” actor. The drama.
So a protip is to trim their claws first before you give them a bath and do it in a closed space (bathroom or sink) so they can’t escape easily. Be calm, use lukewarm water and be gentle to them. Don’t use intimidating big splashes or heavy flow of water, you’ll get them scared.
10. They Are So Worth It
Despite their attention-seeking, better-than-us-arrogance, and catastrophe prone behaviours, deep down, they make a great and adorable company. They will accompany you anywhere, whether you’re cooking in the kitchen or watering your plants outside, they make it a habit to be present wherever you are, in case you’re lonely and you need them on standby.
They also lower our stress levels, are good for our mental health and are just adorable little beings we can easily forgive again and again no matter what mischievous acts they do. Did you know that the frequency of a cat’s purr is proven to decrease stress levels and lower blood pressure?
In the end, all these struggles will be worth it, just to see your cute furry friend cuddling beside or on top of you. That’s the BEST. FEELING. EVER.