A Lifelong Purr-mitment: Are You Really Ready for a Kitten?
Its the Kennel Club’s Puppy awareness week and over on Dogs and Puppies we wrote a few questions you need to ask yourself before adopting a puppy. But what about their feline counterparts? Whilst cats are often seen as lower maintenance than dogs, it’s still important to be certain that you are ready for a cat, as it’s very often an 18 year commitment (and sometimes much longer!).
1. What Kind of Life Could You Offer a Cat?
Do you live in a flat? Do you have access to a garden? Do you live near a main road? These are just a few of the things you need to evaluate before bringing home a feline friend. Having access to an outside space gives cats the opportunity to engage their prey drive through hunting and to experience new smells, sounds and sights. That said, and indoor-only home can be the ideal environment for an older cat (often in abundance at shelters like Cats Protection and the RSPCA) and sometimes safer for purebred cats, whose value often attracts the unwanted attention of thieves.
You also need to ask yourself how you would cope with a cat in the event of a major lifestyle change e.g. new baby, new job or moving abroad. A cat is for life, not just for when your lifestyle can cater for one.
2. Purebred or Domestic?
‘Domestic’ simply means the cat or kitten is mixed-breed. Purebred or pedigree cats will always be more expensive to purchase, and you need to ensure you connect with a reputable breeder before doing so. One advantage of purebreds is that you can have some idea of what to expect by researching the cats breed traits - you can find our guide to cat breeds here.
However, domestic cats also make wonderful pets, and very often you can learn a lot about their personalities by observing them with their litter or, if adopting an older cat, by asking the shelter.
3. Rescued or Breeder?
As stated above, shelters can be excellent places to find your furry new family member and there are an abundance of kittens brought into shelters via pregnant strays, particularly during kitten season (around November). You can find your local rescue in our UK shelter directory.
Both domestic and purebred cats can also be acquired through breeders, but it is essential that you do some research on the breeder beforehand. Its is also very important to never purchase a kitten from a pet store - as these are frequently supplied by kitten farms, which are rife in the UK. The conditions in these ‘farms’ are often deplorable, and the kitten will frequently suffer from ill health and behavioural problems later on in life as a result of bad breeding and being separated from its mother and siblings too early. One way to ensure your breeder is reputable is to ask to observe the kitten with its litter, as well as its mother (or both parents, if you can).
4. You've Said You're Sure, But Are You Really Sure?
Far too many cats and kittens end up in rescues every year, often because the previous owners did not fully comprehend the long-term commitment of a kitten or cat. If you are wavering at all about inviting a catty companion into your life, please have a rethink. Why not first try fostering a cat to see how it fits in with your lifestyle - you can do this through local shelters, as well as national organisations like The Cinnamon Trust (who are always on the look out for people to foster cats whilst their elderly owners are in hospital).