No pet is ideal for everyone, and that includes cats. Whether you should bring a cat -- or any animal -- into your home depends on a number of factors. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you a "cat person"? Cats don't deliver the same "dogged" devotion as their canine counterparts. They won't fetch your slippers or run panting to the door to greet you. But if you would enjoy sharing your life with a clever, graceful, entertaining companion who considers herself your equal (at the very least), then a cat might be right for you. Spend some time around cats before you decide.
- What activities do you want a pet to share? If you enjoy active outdoor activities and want an animal to accompany you, a dog would be the obvious choice. If you prefer to spend your leisure time indoors curled up with a furry friend, a cat will fit the bill.
- Do you have enough time to devote to a cat? You'll need to make time each day to feed your cat, groom her (especially if your cat is long-haired), and keep the litter box clean, as well as to play and cuddle.
- Do you travel frequently? If you're often away from home for more than a day or two, you'll need to arrange for someone to check in on your cat and provide her with fresh food and water.
- Do you have the financial ability to provide necessary food, medications, and regular veterinary care? Cats are relatively inexpensive to feed and maintain, but your cat's daily necessities and ongoing health care will have to be factored into your household budget.
- Do you or anyone in your household suffer from allergies? If your allergies are triggered by cat dander (flakes of shed skin), having a cat in the house might make it more difficult to keep your symptoms under control. A pet that doesn't set off your allergies would be a safer bet.
- Are you allowed to have a pet in your current home? Some apartments and condos prohibit or restrict pet ownership. (You might be able to negotiate an exception by furnishing references and/or making a refundable deposit to cover any possible damage.)
If you and cat ownership aren't a good fit, you might want to consider another kind of pet, or put off pet ownership until your circumstances become more animal-friendly.
Continued on page 3: Kids and Cats