When anyone sees the adorable countenance of a cuddly cat, they want to take it home. But unlike popular belief, a cat needs a lot of maintenance. It may constantly groom itself but that doesn’t mean that the owner is exempt from keeping it clean. It needs to be taken to the vet regularly, its litter box needs to be kept clean and it has to be bathed atleast once in a couple of months. We hear people saying, “I’m not ready for a baby!” Well, your cat would be like your baby. So think wisely before adopting a cat. As a cat owner, I have learned that pets acquired by impulse quite often don’t work out. Here are some of the things one must keep in mind before bringing a feline friend home:
1) Money Meow-ters: One should be financially prepared to provide the cat with atleast the minimum basics which are:
b) Safe indoor environment
c) Cost of spaying/ neutering
d) Core vaccinations
e) Emergency visit to the vet
2) Catty Commitment: Cats can live upto the age of 10-14 years but some cats reach into their 30s too (oldest known cat, Creme Puff, died at the verified age of 38!) This is great news for people who are committed to love their cat for so many years, but fickle minded people who won’t look after their old cat when it needs them most should stay away from adoption centers.
3) Kiddies and Kitties: If you have a toddler in your house, do not adopt a kitten, unless you can keep them both under complete observation all the time. Young kids may accidently hurt your little kitty and alternatively, could get bitten or scratched nastily. If you must, then get an older cat that has had en experience of being around tots.
4) Claws and Carpentry: It has long been assumed that when cats scratch objects they are sharpening their claws. It turns out that this is only a secondary reason. Research on cat behavior suggests that the major reason for this behavior is communication. By roughing up the bark of a tree or the leg of your favorite chair, the cat is letting other cats or people know where she is and what she is up to. So this is expected behavior and you cannot stop it completely. But it can be reduced by providing it with a good scratching post and a regular nail clipping. NEVER get your cat declawed unless suggested by a vet because it is a painful and inhumane procedure. No cat lover can let their cat go through such agony. Get a cat only if the cat will matter more to you than your furniture.
5) C-at-tention Seeker: Contrary to popular opinion, cats are very social animals and love attention from their owners. Your bond with your cat will last for a lifetime. A lonely, neglected cat will get into all kinds of mischief to amuse itself. In reality, you don’t have to be a slave to your cat. 15 minutes a day of play time and petting will mark the difference between a happy cat and a nuisance. You should keep in mind that you have to spend family time with your cat otherwise it will end up feeling unloved, lonely and moody.
6) Feline grooming: Get a cat only if you can be responsible for it. You have to be patient with grooming your cat in the beginning. Cats don’t have a water resistant coat and becoming wet makes them uncomfortable. You have to be tolerant with your cat’s tantrums. You will have to regularly check for ticks and fleas or matting in long haired cats.
7) Love: Of course, you have to have it in your heart to love your wittle (little in a pampering tone) kitty!
While you are going to be pouring your love on your pet kitty, you might think that unlike dogs, cats do not and/ or cannot show their love towards you. But ask the old bachelor who lives with his 27 cats about the love that they give him that no human could ever give. There are many ways a cat displays it’s love for it’s owner. Unlike dogs, cats don’t lick your face or jump at you when you return home. Instead, they profess their love through very subtle signs which most humans are unaware of. Some of these signs are:
1) Purring: A cat purrs to express many things. But if it purrs while you are petting it or sitting close to it, you can be sure that it is expressing it’s love for you.
2) Rolling: Cats don not like to feel vulnerable (but then who does?). If it throws himself at the ground at your feet and rolls around, consider it a loving gesture plus a way to seek attention.
3) Sleeping: If a cat chooses to be vulnerable in your presence by either sleeping on your lap or next to you, it is really love.
4) Bunting: When a cat cheek-rubs you, head-bumps your face, or pushes against you, it leaves its scented signature called bunting. They show their love in this way to other animals as well as humans.
5) Scratching: If your cat scratches your favourite chair or favourite spot on the sofa, it is love.
6) Kneading: Kitten paws knead against the mother cat’s breasts to induce milk to be released. Adult cats continue the behavior when they’re feeling most relaxed and content and loved, and that’s often when being petted on the owner’s lap. Kneading is an obvious expression of adoration.
7) Gifting: From frogs to mice to pigeons, my cat has brought me a gift atleast once a week. Gifting its owner is a sign of love and gratitude.
8) Playing: Kittens play out of excitement but cats play with only trusted people.
9) Meowing: This is the special language through which cats communicate with their owners. If it didn’t love you, why would it put in efforts to talk to you?
10) Grooming: Kitties that groom their owner by licking their skin or hair, or even nibbling or sucking on their clothing, indicates great affection. This spreads familiar scent and helps mark them as an important part of its family group.
11) Tails: High up tail is a sign of respect and love that kittens show to their mothers and cats to their owners.
12) Eyes: Cats that place their faces and wide open eyes near a human express great trust and love. A slow “eye blink” from across the room is considered a cat kiss.
13) Butts: The “elevator butt” pose invites you to give special attention. Simply scratch her above the tail.
14) Spraying: that cat will spray urine on their owner’s belongings so as to mark them with its smell.