Introduction: Why Choosing a Pet-Related Topic
There comes a time in every person’s life when they are ready to take their love to pets from watching adorable YouTube cat videos to the next step. Getting a pet cat might sound very easy – and, in fact, it is – but it is the process of becoming its owner that might need some practice. Therefore, some guidelines might be of great use.
Step One: Educate Yourself
While the feeling of enthusiasm is exciting and fantastic, it is necessary to take a deep breath and engage in some down-to-earth business, such as learning about cats, how they look, what they eat, etc. That way, not only will one be able to address possible issues with a pet but also find out what they are getting in and, therefore, refuse the idea before it is too late. Therefore, the more one learns about pets, in general, and cats, in particular, the better one will be able to judge their abilities.
Step Two: Which One to Choose
If the mere sight of cat-related issues no longer seems disturbing, it is, perhaps, the time to choose what type of a cat one would like to have in their house. The choice between a cat of pedigree and the one from a pet shelter may be very complicated. It is hard to tell whether it will be the luxurious fur of the former or the sad look in the eyes of the latter that will tip the scale. However, it is important to bear in mind that cats from shelters may have suffered severe health issues and, therefore, will require more attention and resources. Furthermore, cats from shelters are likely to have experienced violence, which means that they may bite – and, if something goes wrong, they most certainly will. Also, it is desirable to think of the preferable age of the cat – pet shelters will most likely have either newborns or grown-up cats, whereas cat breeders prefer selling kittens at the age of 2-3 months. However, at any age, a healthy cat is capable of tearing one’s place down and making a mess in the owner’s shoes at any age, which is something to keep in mind for people with the habit of cleaning their house often (Landsberg 593).
Step Three: Locating the Owner
As soon as the decision about the type of a pet and, possibly, its breed (e.g., a Moggie (i.e., a non-pedigree cat (Mash 32)), a Ragdoll, a Scottish Fold, a Siamese, a Maine Coon, etc.,) is made, it is essential to learn more about the places where one can get a cat. The choice of the location depends heavily on whether one wishes to get a non-pedigree cat or one of a specific breed. While the former can be easily found in cat shelters, the latter can typically be purchased from cat breeders. Searching for the cat breeders in the vicinity with the help of Google may be the first step toward completing the goal. Further stages, however, will require direct contact with both the cat and its owner, and it is hard to tell whichever is trickier. The cat may bite, whereas the owner is unlikely, yet the latter will require some proof of the candidate’s ability to provide the pet with essential items, such as food, vet services, and toys – countless toys for physical and mental development (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals 6).
Step Four: Playtime
Speaking of which, as soon as one has a relatively clear idea of what cat they are going to have, one must get ready to spend a lot on creating the perfect environment for their pet. A bed, a bowl, a water dish, and a litter box are the four crucial items that one must purchase first. A scratching post will be required next unless one would like to see their furniture destroyed (however, some cats display exceptional skills in wood carving that may pass for art). One may also want to buy some toys that bounce, make funny sounds, and interact with the kitty – in fact, the abundance of toys is quite welcome. However, one must also be resourceful and able to invent homemade toys, such as yarn balls, toys made out of socks, etc. So one should be ready to throw their money on an expensive toy and watch their cat play with a candy wrapper instead.
Step Five: A Room with a View
It is crucial to zone the house so that the area where the cat’s personal things (i.e., the bed, the food, etc.) are should be marked clearly. When a cat is brought to an unfamiliar place, it is very stressed, and the last thing that it wants is a vast ocean of the unknown. One should try thinking of it as of being lost in a megalopolis with no clue as to where their home is, how to find a restroom, and why no one understands what they are saying. Granted that the identified situation might seem rather typical for the people that go on business trips or refuse the services of tourist agencies when going on vacation, this is a rather unpleasant experience that one would not like their pet to suffer (Gardiner 247).
Step Six: Privacy Time
Once everything is ready, and the cat is brought to its new home, one should let it explore its area for some time (0.5-2 hours). Going away is not a necessity and, is, in fact, not recommended since the cat may need the support of its new owner to see that there is no danger lurking around the corner and that the mirror will not possess its soul. It is crucial to make sure that the pet is confident and has nothing to fear in the new environment, which is why it would be best to reduce the noise to the minimum. Surviving without watching a TV while the pet is getting used to its new home is, in fact, a possibility supported by research results.
Step Seven: Responsibility
As the cat eats, cleans itself, and decides to take a nap, one should sit in the chair, take a sigh, and say goodbye to the years of happy, careless life. Jokes aside, though, taking care of a cat – or any pet, for that matter – is a responsibility comparable to the one of raising a child. The only difference is that, at the age of ten, a child is capable of serving their own breakfast and will most likely be fast asleep at 5 a.m. The cat will not, though.
Step Eight: Love and Care
Finally, one should learn to be respectful of one’s pet. Even though it does not have much to say, it is a living being, and it needs love and appreciation. A happy pet equals a happy life together.
Conclusion: What It Takes to Be a Good Pet Owner
Being a pet owner is a challenging task. The choice of buying a cat changes life completely, making one resign oneself to the changes that the pet makes. The stack of bills from the vet will, probably, reach the moon. However, the soft purring sound that the cat will make while sitting in one’s lap and blocking the view of the laptop screen will be more than rewarding.
Gardiner, Andrew. A-Z of Cat Health and First Aid: A Practical Guide for Owners. Souvenir Press, 2015.
Landsberg, Gary. Behavior: A Guide for Practitioners, an Issue of Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice. Elsevier Health Sciences, 2014.
Mash, Holly. Holistic Cat: A Complete Guide to Natural Health Care. Crowood, 2014.
Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Care for Your Kitten (RSPCA Pet Guide). HarperCollins UK, 2015.