Getting A Cat: 10 Things To Consider Before Buying One

Bringing a cat into your life is a decision that entails both joy and responsibility. These enigmatic and independent creatures can become cherished companions, but their well-being requires thoughtful consideration. This article explores eleven crucial factors before welcoming a cat into your home. From lifestyle compatibility to health care and grooming, we’ll guide you through the essentials of cat ownership, ensuring you embark on this journey fully prepared to provide your feline friend with a happy and fulfilling life.

Lifestyle Compatibility

Bringing a cat into your life is a significant decision that should align with your lifestyle. Assess your daily routine, considering work hours, travel, and social activities. Cats are social creatures and require awareness and interaction. If you have a busy lifestyle that leaves little time for pet care, consider whether you can make adjustments or if another pet may be more suitable.

Choosing the Right Cat

Selecting the right cat for your household involves understanding different cat breeds and their personalities. Research breeds that match your lifestyle and preferences. Determine between adopting from a shelter or purchasing from a breeder, weighing the ethical and practical considerations. Additionally, consider the cat’s age and energy level, which will impact their care requirements.

Budgeting for Your Cat

Owning a cat comes with financial responsibilities. Beyond the initial adoption or purchase fee, you must budget for ongoing expenses like food, litter, grooming, and veterinary care. Be prepared for potential emergency vet visits and understand the long-term financial commitment of cat ownership.

Preparing Your Home

Your home should be safe and stimulating for your new feline friend. Cat-proof your living space by securing potential hazards and creating designated cat-friendly areas. Provide essential supplies like litter boxes, food and water dishes, scratching posts, and toys. Design a space where your cat can explore and feel secure.

Health and Veterinary Care

Common veterinary care is vital to your cat’s health. Schedule check-ups, vaccinations, and preventative care as recommended by your veterinarian. Prepare for emergencies by having a plan and funds set aside. Understand how to handle common health issues and when to seek professional help.

Feeding Your Cat

Feeding your cat is a daily responsibility that directly impacts their health and happiness. Selecting the right cat food is crucial; opt for high-quality cat food that lists animal proteins as the primary ingredients. Discuss with your veterinarian to determine the suitable portion sizes and meal schedules based on your cat’s age, size, and activity level. Special dietary considerations, such as food allergies or medical conditions, should be discussed with your vet. A well-balanced diet with proper portion control ensures your cat remains healthy and content.

Grooming and Hygiene

Cats are generally meticulous groomers but may need assistance with certain hygiene aspects. Regular brushing supports keep their coat in good condition and reduce shedding. Trimming your cat’s nails prevents them from becoming overly long and causing discomfort or damage. Dental care is essential; ask your vet about dental hygiene practices to maintain your cat’s oral health. Regular litter box maintenance is crucial to ensure cleanliness and prevent litter box aversions, which can lead to stress and unhappiness.

Training and Socialization

Training and socialization play vital roles in your cat’s happiness and behavior. While cats are known for their independence, basic training can help establish boundaries and encourage positive behavior. Teach them commands like “sit” or “come” using positive reinforcement methods like treats and praise. Address any behavioral issues promptly, seeking guidance from a professional if necessary. Encourage positive socialization with other animals and people to ensure your cat is well-adjusted and confident.

Time and Attention

Cats thrive on interaction and companionship; providing them with time and attention is essential. Daily play and engagement are crucial to keep them mentally and physically stimulated. Even short play sessions can make a significant difference in their happiness. Balancing your work and cat care is essential; ensure your cat doesn’t feel neglected when you’re away. Recognize their need for personal space and respect their boundaries.

The Long-Term Commitment

Lastly, it’s important to recognize that owning a cat is a long-term commitment. Cats can live for 15 years or more, so plan for their future care and well-being. Consider factors like potential relocations or changes in your living situation and how they might affect your cat. While cat ownership comes with responsibilities, the joy, companionship, and rewards of providing a loving home to your feline friend make it a deeply fulfilling journey.

Q&A Section

What are the finest cat breeds for families with kids?

Some cat breeds, like the Maine Coon and Ragdoll, are famous for their gentle and friendly nature, making them great options for families with children. However, each cat’s personality matters more than the breed, so consider adopting a cat with a friendly disposition from a shelter.

How much does it cost to own a cat annually?

The annual cost of cat ownership varies but can range from $500 to $1,000. This includes food, litter, grooming, vet visits, and other supplies. Emergency expenses may increase costs in some years.

What should I do if my cat shows unusual behavior?

Unusual behavior in cats can indicate various issues, from medical problems to stress. If your cat’s behavior concerns you, consult your veterinarian to rule out health issues. If behavior problems persist, consider seeking advice from a professional animal behaviorist.

Is it better to adopt a cat or buy one from a breeder?

Adoption is often recommended because it provides a loving home to a needy cat. However, buying from a reputable breeder is an option if you’re looking for specific breed traits and are committed to responsible breeding practices. Always prioritize ethical considerations and the cat’s welfare.

How can I introduce a new cat to my existing pets?

Introducing a new cat to your pets should be done slowly and in a controlled environment. Separate them initially and allow them to become familiar with each other’s scent before visual introductions. Gradually increase their interactions while monitoring for signs of stress or aggression.


The decision to welcome a cat should not be taken lightly. Consider the compatibility of your lifestyle, choose the right cat based on breed and age, budget for the associated costs, prepare your home, prioritize your health, and be ready to invest time and attention. Cat ownership is a rewarding journey but requires commitment and responsible decision-making to ensure your feline companion’s happy and healthy life.