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Top Factors to Consider Before Getting a Cat

Top Factors to Consider Before Getting a Cat

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Before adopting any pet, it’s important to make sure that it’s the right pet for you. Just like you wouldn’t adopt a dog if you didn’t have time for them, you shouldn’t adopt a cat if you can’t meet their needs. Fortunately, cats are easy to care for and don’t require a lot of maintenance.


Sure, cats are independent creatures, but that doesn’t mean they don’t require any time or attention. Every cat is different, but you’ll want to have some time each day to spend with your new cat. It doesn’t take a lot of time, but you should plan on petting and playing with your cat every day.

A young cat or kitten will require more time to care for since they will need to be litter trained. Most cats pick up litter training easily, but make sure you have the time to be consistent with this. You’ll also l need to groom them occasionally. This if you start young, they’ll enjoy grooming time.

And just like any pet, you should set aside a little time for play. Unlike dogs that need walking, cats can get their exercise by running around the house. You can pull a string toy for them to chase or interact with them through other games. It is easy to find great toys at any pet or department store.

And, of course, you should pet your cat every day. Even if they are fussy or temperamental, you should make efforts to show them affection. Simply petting them a little will get them used to your presence. Some cats will enjoy this more than others, but it’s an important part of cat ownership.

owner is playing rope games with her cat.
You need to play indoor games with your cat during your free time.


Cats don’t require a lot of space, nor do they require a yard or outdoor facilities. But, they do require a little space so that they can feel at home. Many cats like having a quiet place to retreat to, such as a “cat cave” or other indoor house. These can be small or quiet large, depending on which on you buy. Either way, your cat will appreciate having a home!

You’ll also need an out of the way area for a litter box. The area should be accessible but not in a common area. A laundry room or utility room works well. If you have a large litter box or a covered one, you’ll need a bit more space.

If you plan on having multiple cats, you’ll need more than one litter box. And, if your home has multiple floors you will need space for litter boxes on each. Planning ahead for the space you’ll need will make life with multiple cats easier in the long run.

Cat is eating food in a designed space.
Image Credit: Lugo, Catsel

Cost of Cat Ownership

Can you afford to take care of a new pet? Can you cover the cost of food, shelter and medical expenses? These are a few of the questions you should ask yourself before making any decision. After all, adopting a cat is a lifelong commitment.

Considering the cost of pet ownership before you adopt will result in a happier experience for both you and your pet. It will also give you a chance to plan ahead so you can avoid unexpected expenses.

Fortunately, cats are one of the least expensive pets to keep. They don’t require expensive food, housing or entertainment. And, unless there is unexpected and unforeseen medical issue, veterinary care is generally minimal. But, this doesn’t mean you should plan ahead!

Buying Food

You will need to buy food and cat litter on a monthly basis. The costs of these vary greatly and you can spend as much or little as you want. For a single cat you, if you get a high quality food, you can expect to spend between 15 and 25 a month.

There are plenty of nutritionally balanced cat foods, however, that cost much less. You’ll want to balance affordability and quality. After all, you don’t want your cat to suffer health problems due to inferior food!

Buying Litter

Cat litter is another expense that you’ll need to budget for each month. The cost of litter can range from just a couple of dollars for a bag of gravel-styled litter to 10 or more for a specialty brand.

If you have more than one cat you’ll need to buy up more litter. The cost of litter, per month, should average between 10 and 25 a month. Keep in mind that buying a higher quality litter can make clean up a lot easier.

cat's reaction to new litter box
Image Credit: Yazzie, Catsel

Buying Toys

Since cats spend their time inside they need to have toys available to keep them engaged and active. These toys don’t have to be elaborate; in fact they will love simple balls, strings and even bottle caps. But, you can buy them new toys to give them something new to play with from time to time. You can find many great toys for less than 10 dollars.

Veterinary Care

All pets need veterinary care from time to time. You’ll need to get your pet vaccinated, unless you’ve adopted them from a shelter or breeder who took care of their first round of shots. Ask for records so you can be certain of their vaccination history.

While veterinary costs vary, the first year of vaccines can range from 40 to 80 dollars. Second year shots will be about half of that, depending upon your vet’s fee schedule. Many shelters can guide you to affordable veterinary options.

You might also want to spay or neuter your pet. This surgery is sometimes done at shelters before sending pets home. Neutering costs around 50 to 100 dollars while spaying can cost from 100 to 150. There are often low cost sterilization clinics which offer this service at a considerable discount or even for free.

cat is afraid of the vet.
Image Credit: Morris Due, Catsel

Pet Insurance

Having pet insurance is a great way to offset the cost of veterinary expenses. Although it is unlikely that you’ll need expensive medical care, pet insurance can provide peace of mind. Pet insurance can cover surgeries, emergency care, routine checkups and even dental care.

There are many different companies that provide pet coverage. You’ll need to read through the plans to understand what they do and do not cover. The costs vary, but most are quite reasonable. You can expect to pay from 14 to 30 a month, depending upon the plan and coverage you choose.

There are many different companies that provide pet coverage. You’ll need to read through the plans to understand what they do and do not cover. The costs vary, but most are quite reasonable. You can expect to pay from 14 to 30 a month, depending upon the plan and coverage you choose.