Pros and Cons of Cat Ownership
One way to generate family excitement about learning is to consider adding a new member. A great family project is exploring the realities involved with actually doing this. Most families will admit pets are largely considered family members, often being offered equal consideration in big family decisions such as moving. This is one good reason to undertake this decision with equal measure and depth.
Cost, variables, new items for purchase, ongoing vet bills. These are only the beginning of a long list of considerations that can be numbered and discussed. Allergies could be triggered; another big question, especially if a household has very young children with sensitive immune systems. There are cat breeds that have a much lower rate of fur-triggered allergic reactions.
Some breeds have fur with much higher chances of triggering episodes of itchy eyes and skin. Many times allergies are caused by the mites and other common pet bugs. Sometimes allergies to pet bugs can trigger eczema.
Furniture damage, another factor. Will the decision be to de-claw kitty, or will the family offer scratching posts and ever-shrinking deck railings? Does the household already have caged birds? What will happen if kitty brings home a barely-breathing birdie prize- hoping for squeals of pride and delight?
Will you “bell” your cat in hopes of preventing rodent murder? These are some very big decisions for a growing family. Will you allow your cat to be a raw-food eating, claw-sharpening neighborhood hunter?
Another consideration is the neighborhood and the potential impact on the attendant eco-system. Is there a cat family already in the neighborhood? How many cats are there? Are there cat-harassing or worse, cat-killing dogs nearby? Are there an abundance of rodents and birds, or are they struggling populations that are barely hanging on?
Could this bird or squirrel shortage be because every house in the neighborhood already has two actively-hunting cats? How about the flower beds? Is the neighboring Tom cat already making them his “doody” burial grounds? Too much cat box activity can turn soil into acidic places some plants won’t grow.
Is someone growing catnip? Do you have a spot to grow some? Do you want to attract the neighbor kitties to your yard? This may be cheaper than getting one of your own. Just how much “kitty time” does your family really need, and what are some alternative ways of getting this?
Vaccines are important and sometimes they can be expensive. Not getting them, deciding to skip a seemingly expensive booster shot, can have very sad consequences. Is there a pregnant mom in the house? Another moment to pause. Cat-box feces can carry diseases that pregnant women should never come into contact with.
To cat box or not to cat box? Indoor kitty or outdoor-only cat? Do you have a rodent problem? Choosing a good mouser is the way to deal with this problem. Many breeds of cats have been tailored for specific jobs. Learning about breeds can be lots of fun.
Hairless kitties are quite striking, and sometimes cause giggling to occur. Nearly hairless cats are from the Rex family. Maine Coons are great mousers. They look like raccoons. They are also just as playful.
So are Tabbies, who are directly related to Maine Coons, and host a dark swirl on their side, often with mascara-like lines around coon-like faces. They are both great hunters and playful when prompted. Burmese kitties are sleek, long, smooth and short-haired with varieties of colors.
Siamese cats are bred in Asia. Himalayan cats are full of long fur, seemingly almost angora, as a version of the Persian cat comes originally from the cold Himalayan regions of India and Tibet, where angora goats deliver the world’s finest pashmina and cashmere wool.
Family fun kicked off by a cat breed hunt can bring a whole global experience about how and why cats are bred to have the traits, looks and characteristics that they do. So much intention is put into breeding and propagating these magnificent creatures, that taking them into a family should not be an “impulse decision.”
The cost of a kitten first year needs to be understood, as well as the levels of attention required to make certain your pet has good house manners. Cats can be trained just as dogs can, however, this under-reported truth is offset by the aloof response most associate with trying to influence or “herd” or “direct” any cat.
Cats can be taught to use toilets, ring doorbells and ask politely to be let outside. The cost of a first year for a new kitty family member can vary widely by state or region, as any financial climate does, but the ball-park costs can be identified. Pure bred cats can be expensive, just as any pure bred dog, however free kittens are available in abundant supply.
To figure what the costs of the first year will be, following are a few basic cost frameworks; Lab tests that require a vet visit – $150 to $225, cost per required immunization-$120 to $185, Internal/external parasite treatment (this means fleas, ticks and body mites) treatment and control-$50 to $140, spay/or neutering-$90 to $500 depending on sex, age and access to spay and neuter clinics, food-$100 to $200 again variables include food quality, cat size, hunting practices, etc.
Hopefully this guide has inspired conversation, questions and new considerations about how or when to bring a new kitten into the home. Family learning projects may not conclude with a new family member, sometimes the process can show us just how ready we are not.