I had always considered myself to be a “dog” person. For me being an animal lover meant that you have to be in love with dogs!
As a kid, whenever I used to demand for a pet, my parents use to say “first grow up and learn to handle your responsibilities on your own”. Needless to say, my parents didn’t keep their promise. And I was ‘that’ person in the group who would squeal every time a furry being was seen around. Finally, when i started living alone, one of my friends convinced me to foster a kitten. That’s when my journey as a failed foster parent began. Not because I wasn’t caring enough, but because I would end up keeping not one, but 3 of the kittens I had brought in to just foster. I am proud to say, I am mother to the most beautiful and loving felines ever. They taught me that being an animal lover means loving animals of all sorts.
Having established that, Let me assure you it wasn’t as smooth a journey to begin with. People always tell you about the licks and the cuddles when they talk about adopting pets. No one tells you about a hundred other things you need to be prepared for, when you adopt a furry baby.
Here are a few do’s and don’ts from my amateur experience:
1. Ensure that you read up well on the feline family.This will help you be mentally prepared and also keep in stock, the required things when you bring the kitten home.
2. Unlike dogs, cats do NOT need to go outside. Cats are almost always naturally housebroken and can be litter trained at an early age. If left unattended to go outside, cats might get lost or hurt and sometimes get killed. I had to learn this the hard way when I lost my first cat to a freak accident.
3. Cats need to be fed good, nutritious food regularly, at least once to twice a day. They also need plenty of cool and fresh water. What they do not need is milk. Unlike the popular myth that cats survive on milk, adult cats can get diarrhea, skin rash and liver problems due to milk intake. Pls consult your vet before giving your kitten any milk as well.
4. Have your cat spayed or neutered by a vet once it reaches maturity (usually around six months of age). Otherwise you may have to face issues like them peeing outside of the litter box to mark their territory, mewing all night and signs of aggressive behaviour on their part. Neutering will ensure that your cat enjoys a longer, healthier life & there’ll be fewer strays on the streets.
5. Though cats are known to be more independent than dogs, they thrive on your company and love. A responsible pet parent should spend at least one hour every day giving ample attention to their cat. This may include training, grooming, and playing or even just some lap time on the couch.
6. Cats do NOT need to be bathed. A healthy cat keeps the self clean and well-groomed. However, for people like me who are particular about hygiene, I would suggest using a shedding comb on your cat every once in a while to tae care of all that fur which is likely to be present everywhere in the house if the cat isn’t groomed well. And instead of bathing the cats, use a wet wipe on them gently to clean their body. Be careful while you do so, else you may end up getting scratched by them if they’re not in the right mood.
7. To prevent your cat from scratching or tearing your furniture, trim it’s claws regularly (if you can) and provide them with a small rug or scratching post. Verbal scolding at an early age can help prevent such behaviours. It did, on at least one of my cats. You could try vinegar or vicks as the hacks to keep them away from destroying any furniture.
8. It’s in the cat’s nature to sleep 16-18 hours a day. That being said, it’s always better to make them play and run with the use of toys, laser light etc. around the house so that they are active and don’t put on too much weight. Who doesn’t love a chubby furry? But we would love for them to live longer with us. Hence, it’s better to keep them agile.
9. Pets come with their own set of expenses. Getting one home might mean having to re-calculate and amend your monthly expenses. Here are a few mandatory items you will need to spend on, for your cat:
- Food & special treats
- Routine veterinary care
- Kitty litter and box
- Basic grooming equipment and supplies
10. Last, but not the least – If you’re adopting a cat, it’s always better to adopt them in a pair. A single kitten will get lonely when you’re not around if you’re working and may resort to aggressive behaviour or be depressed.
Everything said and done, there is no better reward than coming home to be greeted with paws, whiskers,licks and purrs! You don’t get to choose your family, it just comes to you. And my feline family brings me immense joy!