When people think of a family pet, the first decision they have to make is whether to get a dog or a cat. It is no surprise, as both dogs and cats can make great companions and they can even help owners with special needs. What may come as a surprise is that the feline friends are in fact the most owned pet in the country with 57 million of them living in 31 percent of the households.
There are many advantages to owning cats; they take a lot less work in your part to care for them. They seem more independent, to the point that you may think you are just a privileged servant to them. Even if some people will take them out for a walk here and there, all they really need is a litter box to take care of their business. There are still a few things that you will learn when you own a cat. Keep in mind that there are a lot of misconceptions about these beautiful and elegant pets. Here are the things you will learn.
There is no getting around it, if you decide to adopt one you will have a few scratches. It is not that he/she wants to harm you as some times the scratches are an accident; sometimes it is just that they are being playful. When you take a kitten from the mom and siblings they have played the other kittens in the litter, and if you have ever been present during kitten play time then you know it is going to hurt. They play with each other as a way to train for hunting, climbing and doing things that cats do. Your little purring machine may never have to hunt in its life, but it is still a predator and it needs to learn how to become one. When I adopted my first kitten, I found that I was playing the part of his siblings, so since I appreciated not getting hurt I got a second one so they could play with each other instead of me.
As adults you still want to play with your cats but doing so with your bare hands is just a bad idea. Some cats will have their claws out during playtime and that can leave you bleeding. Again, they do not try to hurt you, it is just play time. It is a better idea to use a toy that can keep you safe and them having fun. Some people opt for de-clawing but their claws are a part of them and it is better to keep them just the way they are. Eventually they get a lot better.
They Need You... A Lot
Even though cats are known for being independent, they still need you a lot. When you own one then you understand the concept because your cat will like to spend a lot of time close to you. While often they do not act as excited to see you when you come home, the fact is that not having you for extended periods of time is very stressing for him/her. They do not only need you for food, they also need companionship, and unless you are there all the time or get a second cat they will be very bored and lonely.
You will notice how much they love being around you even if they pretend to be very independent during the day. They will want to cuddle with you when you sleep and then you realize that your cat is a big softie.
They Need Exercise
A cat that is lonely the entire day can easily be bored, and a bored feline can easily get into trouble. If the cat has no one to interact with then it will have two options: It will get fat and sick and lead a boring life, or it can entertain itself by destroying some of the wires around the house. That is dangerous to the cat especially if the wire conducts electricity. Your plants will also be fair game and so will your carpet. Giving your cat a fair amount of exercise in the way of interactive toys can help you save your furniture, wires and even the cat's life. If you own a cat, then you already know where the toys are available; but if you are new to cats then you should head to your local pet store.
A pet boutique is another place where really good toys for cats are purchased. The difference between a pet store and a pet boutique is that the boutique will usually have higher quality items for sale. You can also find a lot of toys online, but before you buy a toy read the safety information of the toy you like.
They Are Not Dogs
A pet owner may feel that they know what to expect when they adopt a cat because they had another type of pet in the past. This is actually not the case. Cats are very different from dogs and a new cat owner would do well to do some reading before ever going through the adoption process. Feline education is a lot different from dog education. The games that they like to play are different and the way you will need to cat-proof your home is similar, but some cat proofing steps are unique to them. That said, cats are great companions to people and you will have a long loving relationship with them.
Some cats will play fetch (not outside, there is always something better to do out there) and some will come when called every time, but that is the exception to the rule. It is not as easy to train a cat so you may just opt to let it be a cat. Treats are available that can help you with positive re-enforcement, but the thing that works the best if you do not want your cat to get into trouble is to remove the source of the problem. If you do not want your kitty to get on the counter or the table then remove the incentives it has for doing so.