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How to know if you are ready to expand your family

Ehm not, I’m not talking about babies. This time I’m talking about understanding when you are ready to welcome a PET in your house!

Bisou and Romeo

Recently, a friend of us who is moving to America, asked us if we would consider looking after their dog because they would not be able to take him overseas with them. All of the sudden my dream to own a dog could become a reality!! I ALWAYS had dogs and cats when I was little and the idea to give our two kitties a furry friend really excited me!

I was already preparing all the best arguments to convince my husband that adopting this gorgeous border collie would have been a great idea when my friend told me that her sister offered to take him with her. At first I was a bit disappointed because I’m sure that dog would have brought happiness and more craziness to our house but soon I realised that it probably was for the better. I knew deep down that we would have struggled a bit to keep up with him mainly because we are just soooo lazy and bringing a new pet in the house, especially a dog, it’d have been such a huge commitment.

We current have two cats which we love dearly. I still remember the day we bought them. We were supposed to get only one but then they were so cute, fluffy, friendly and the two were just following each other so we could not separate them. It was so easy to say YES, we are going to take them both! We didn’t really consider what having two cats involved (especially for us, as we had just bought the tinest super central flat with no balcony and no garden).

kitty sleeping under a blanket

We knew that welcoming those cats in our life was a long term promise (cats can live up to 20 years!) so based on my experience, I wrote a list of things to consider before getting one and a list of reasons why you should have a cat in your home.

Things to consider before getting a cat

  • Unlike soft toys which you can stroke and cuddle as much as you like, real cats shed looots of hair.. everywhere… so although it’s lovely to have them in your bedroom, be ready to find cat hair everywhere.          Romeo sleeps every night in between us so we just put an additional blanket on our duvet that we can easily shake in the morning. In addition to hair, cats love to scratch their claws.. basically everywhere… if they find a surface which could help their claws to stay razor sharp then they will be on it! We bought a big scratch pole that we have had for ages and they really love it. BUT to make sure they don’t get bored and start scratching your new carpet, you’d need to consider getting a new scratch pole every now and then. Not a big one but something different to attract their curiosity. And consequently you will find little bits of claws here and there.
  • Cats obviously pee and poo. When you get a new kitten, it is usually toilet trained so you would only need to provide him with a litter which MUST be always clean. The reason behind that is that cats are very clean animals and they don’t like to use a “dirty loo”. We found that the crystal cat litter was the best solution for us. No odours, high absorbance and easy to clean. It is obviously one of the most expensive ones so you would need to consider that too. Remember that if you are thinking of getting two cats then you’d need to get two litters as cats don’t like other cats’ smells (unless you have a garden, then one cat litter works fine).
  • You need to consider various costs. Luckily health wise, our cats have been pretty healthy, but as a general rule not only cats need regular vet checks but in some cases they need treatments which can include spaying, deworming. IF for any reason they get sick then you need to take them to be treated professionally, and all these treatments are costly. To top that up you need to consider the cost for pet food, toys (you won’t resist and will buy many cat toys!), litter and flea treatment if need it.
  • Although cats are pretty independent animals they still need your attention, they need to feel loved otherwise they can easily get depressed. I’m not joking, it happened to our cats shortly after I got pregnant. The vet said that because of the change in hormones (mine not theirs- lol),  they knew something was going on and felt like we were more focused on something else. We did pay a high price for that.. they randomly started peeing either on the sofa, (once on the duvet!!), in a corner of a room, in one of my shoes! We were desperate as we really didn’t know how to solve this. Eventually we bought some Feliway which is a plugin device that releases hormes to keep the cats calm and luckily it worked. Again it was costly and I am honest with you my husband hinted that one of the options was to give them away but we sticked to our guns and just got on with it until we found a solution.

Reasons why you need a cat in your life

  • We personally found that having cats is very rewarding in terms of affection and companionship. I work from home and there is no better place to do my job than in a room with a background sound of two gorgeous cats snoring.. it’s relaxing, comforting, somehow it brings me peace and it does help to unwind my mind.
  • Your children will learn from a young age to respect animals and to be responsible for their upringing as much as adults are. Did you know that kids who grow up with furred animals have a decreased risk for allergies and asthma? The reason is that having a pet actually improves childrens’ immune system because of the higher exposure to allergens.

Cat love

  • Cats are cute and funny! You can entertain them for hours with just a piece of string and they can play fetch! Their agility and energy will amuse you and then when both of you will be tired there will be nothing better than laying on a sofa petting your purring cat next to you. Did you know that petting a cat increases oxytocin levels in the body? This hormone is released by touch and it is known for increasing feelings of happiness.

cat and baby

  • Believe it or not cats can reduce the risk of heart attack because owning a cat is proven to reduce stress.
  • Cats keep you warm during those cold winter evenings when there is nothing better to do than watch a great movie while relaxing on a sofa. Your feet will definitely stay warm.

cat with a hat

  • You don’t need to walk your cat! (Hurray!) He’s perfectly happy to find his way out discovering new places by himself.
  • Cats are relatively small and usually take up less space than most dogs.
  • Cats make the best listeners! Honestly if you either need to practice your speech or have a rant, they will just stand right there in front of you looking at your crazy faces and most of the time when you are done, they will come to you for cuddles…awww

If you decide to get a cat but you are not sure you know enough about kittens, then you can check these lectures which will explain everything you need to know about our little furry friends

 Despite what you hear, cats are incredibly caring creatures and more than a pet, they will soon become family members. And as such you will spontaniously want to give them all the love and attention possible so that they will feel looked after and they will give you plenty of affection and love back.

A cat is going to be your companion for life and trust me it will be totally worth it!