As a lifelong cat servant, proponent of cat rights, and all around cat lover, I’d have to say my adoration of cats and all things cat related runs fairly deep. As such, I thought I’d break down a list of all the reasons why cats are awesome and the very minimal points explaining why cat servitude may not be quite the fit for some. So, if you are a fellow kitty lover (high five) or are thinking about welcoming a kitty into your home, or just want to see what’s up, keep on reading!
- Cleanliness: I’ve had all sorts of pets through childhood and adulthood. One of the pitfalls of owning so many pets is the process of maintaining either a clean place for them to live (fish, hamsters, birds..etc) or for the sake of our own sense of smell, keeping the animal clean and smelling at best, tolerable. While dogs are usually high on the list of desirable pets, they often smell inexplicably wretched if not bathed quite often. Like the majority of the human population, most dogs don’t seem to enjoy bathing. As such, owners are usually tasked with fighting their furry friends into the bathtub and scrubbing the smelly nether regions of their four legged friends. If not up to the task, paying a groomer is always an option but can be rather costly long term. The hassle of cleaning cages, terrariums, and habitats makes owning some small pets like rodents, birds, and fish a bit of a maintenance hassle. Rodent (rats, mice, hamsters, gerbils…) cages will tend to smell like urine rather quickly if not cleaned on a regular basis, not to mention it’s horrible for the little guys to be living in their own filth. Birds…well, as much as I love birds..don’t get me started on the little buggers. Birds love to make messes. Well, any bird I’ve ever owned did anyway. Perhaps the little buggers just enjoyed making me clean up bird seed constantly? However, my experience with birds has always been a messy one. The amount of bird seed and shells from seeds that they fling around everywhere will leave you in a constant state of cleaning. Not to mention the poop… Which brings me to the point of why cats are the superior clean pet. You don’t have to coerce them, you don’t have to take them to the groomer, they don’t poop everywhere (typically), they don’t live in a cage that needs to be cleaned either. They willingly take the time to groom themselves without being forced to. The only downside to owning a cat is the litter box. They say the rule of thumb with the litter box and cats is one box to two cats. I poo poo that suggestion. My cats are picky poopers and each want their own box and who could blame them? Would you want to share a box full of urine and poop with a room mate or family member? Yeah, me neither. I’ve found it helpful to get a litter box suitable for the type of cat that will use it. For instance, I have a larger, senior girl. She is our queen and refuses to use the box with other cats. She likes a pan with high edges so she doesn’t defecate or urinate on the floor but she does not like the type of litter box where she has to jump inside (like a large plastic tote container). Also, it’s important to keep the box clean to ensure your cat does not decide to find somewhere else to do it’s business. I know it may seem a bit excessive, but I scoop my three litter boxes once daily and completely toss out the litter and clean the boxes about every week or two. My cats seem to prefer this process but every kitty is different.
2. Independence: One of the toughest things about owning a pet is being able to travel and ensure that your pet will be safe and healthy in your absence. A lot of us rely on a family member, friend, or neighbor to check in on our pet while we are away. Some people choose the option of boarding a pet at a pet hotel. Whatever route you go, the animal will more than likely have to be physically fed, taken out to use the restroom, or have it’s habitat/cage cleaned daily. My experience with owning a cat has taught me, if you like to travel but want to own a pet, get a cat. Cats are wildly independent. If I plan on being gone for an x amount of days I will leave my cats safely inside my home, place large bowls of food in various locations throughout my home, I fill up large bowls of water in various spots and plug and fill a bath tub with water in case a cat decides to get cheeky and knock over water bowls. I will place multiple litter boxes inside for them as well. It’s advisable to have someone check on them periodically to make sure they still have food and water if for some odd reason you have a pest invasion in your home and perhaps they eat the food or your cat decides to eat like a pig. Chances are, the person checking in on your kitty will say they are just fine and then be on their merry way. The only downside to leaving your kitty friend alone while you travel off somewhere is the scathing looks you’ll get from kitty for leaving them behind when you get back home. Some treats and extra attention will remedy this.
3. Cost: I’d say one of the most expensive pets I’ve ever cared for was a dog. I’m sure some of the exotic birds and other exotic pets can fall into the expensive category as well. Between the cost of dog food, toys, vet care, flea medication, grooming supplies, leashes, collars, ID tags, etc… I’ve easily spent thousands. Dogs, in my experience are a lot like kids. Cute, needy, and expensive as hell. This is another reason why cats are awesome. Your cat bored? Give it the cap off your soda or drink and it will entertain itself for hours. Don’t have a cap handy? Use a string, a reflection of light, even your hair and fingers…cats are easily entertained by the simplest things. I have a cat who will entertain himself with his tail or the video games I’m playing. I don’t even have to participate. I can just spectate and enjoy myself while I watch my kitty have fun. After all that playing your pet may need a nap. Dog beds are ridiculously expensive. If you have a cat you can just give it a box and it will be absolutely ecstatic and squeeze it’s furry butt into it no matter how small the box is…he/she will try. Cats also consume less food on average so that will cost you less out of pocket. The grooming factor comes into play again. Unless you have a fancy Persian cat chances are they will groom themselves without any help necessary. If you keep your cat indoors (which you should anyway because it’s much safer for them and they will live longer) you will incur less veterinary bills. And last but not least…cats are very cheap to adopt from local animal shelters. They are cheaper to adopt than dogs. If you have the space in your heart to welcome a furry companion who is fiercely independent, clean, amusing, cuddly, and inexpensive to take care of…go to your local animal shelter and bring home your furever friend. You’ll make all the difference in their life and they will love you forever for it.