Recommended Child’s Age: 5+

Lifespan of Pet: 15-20 years

Required Care: Medium – Low

Pet Interaction: Moderately Social / Social

Costs: Medium

 

About Cats 

Cats are another one of the most popular family pets.  Smaller in stature than most dogs, cats are able to provide love and loyalty to their owners along with a degree of independence.  Some items you would need to consider when getting a cat include:

Lifespan
Many cats live between 12-20 years. Indoor cats typically live several years longer than cats that venture outdoors.

Reproduction
Unless you’re wanting to breed your cat or become a multi-cat family (the average size of a litter is 3-5 kittens), you’ll want to get the cat spayed or neutered at as early as 7 weeks. You can check with your local humane society for references.

Indoor vs Outdoor cats
Indoor cats typically live longer than outdoor cats.  The likelihood of your indoor cat catching fleas or diseases from other animals is considerably less than if you allow your cat to venture outside.  Keep in mind that cats are hunters by nature and they may try to sneak out from time to time.

Claws
Cats have retractable claws and use their claws for climbing, pouncing, defending, etc.  There are a few options for handling the potential damage kitty claws can do, for example cats can typically be trained to use scratching posts rather than the family furniture.  Sprinkle cat nip on the post and your cat will love it. Another non-surgical option would be to apply soft plastic nail caps.  Application is simple once you and the kitty get used to it.  One popular brand is Soft Paws

Similar to humans, you can also trim their nails using a cat nail clipper or by paying a little extra at your vet.  Be careful not to get too close to the quick or you may draw blood and injure the kitty.

Lastly, an irreversible option would be to de-claw your cat.  The cat will have to undergo a serious surgery to get their claws removed and they will be in pain for several days following the surgery, but should return to normal behavior within a week.  It is best to speak to your vet about their technique to declawing as there are several options available.

Grooming
Cats are known for their cleanliness, spending many hours licking their coats.  Some cats may have to regurgitate hairballs of fur from time to time.  This is normal.  Some foods are made to help break down hairballs so regurgitation does not have to occur.  Also regular grooming with a comb would decrease the amount of hair the cat ingests.

General Considerations and Responsibilities
When adopting a cat/kitten into your home, you’ll want to prepare a room for the kitten to stay during the first few days.  Make sure there is enough water, food, and litter in this room and you should plan to spend time with the cat/kitten so it can get adjusted to both you and your home. If possible, the first place you put the litter box should be the last.  This will eliminate the possibility of any kitty accidents occurring.  If you do need to move the litter-box at anytime, be sure to place your cat into the box in its new location so the cat will know where to find it.  Once your cat has adjusted you should be able to leave it alone for a few days in a row if necessary.

Cats are very independent animals and as long as you leave enough food, water, and litter, your cat will be able to take care of itself during your absence.  If you plan on leaving for more than 3 days, it would be wise to have a friend check in on the cat and clean the litter box.  Cats are very clean animals and do not appreciate having a dirty potty box.