The cat is an enigmatic creature, mysterious and beautiful. Cats have style, pride and good looks. Yet you either love them or well, you tolerate them. I personally adore them, I always have since I was a child, I grew up with them and still live with a couple today.
The Egyptians built temples in honor of the feline, they revered cats so much men have been known to be condemned to death for mistreating them. Upon the death of a cat a national mourning time was to be adhered to. The departed creature was generally embalmed and laid to rest in a sacred temple where a Cat Goddess was worshipped.
In the Middle Ages the cat was considered to be the reincarnation of the Devil. These poor creatures have been known to be hunted, burnt alive and crucified along with any woman who was caught taking care of them.
It is said that dogs love their masters and cats love only their home. Not so, cats are not demonstrative but faithful and loving to their owners and they deserve to be pampered. These days if you are a cat lover and you are considering adopting one, you can be prone to a few mistakes.
I inquired at Ballajura Veterinary Hospital in Perth Western Australia, and this is a summary of how vet nurses Sue and Jeannie have responded, “We perceive the most common mistakes that cat owners make are: Thinking they “own” the cat; cats have different “wiring” to dogs and are not so intent on pleasing their human. Cats love differently, they are much more independent.
Not feeding their cat complete professional cat food. Again, cats need optimum nutritional requirements just like dogs.
Not understanding a cat’s instinctive behavior. Cats are natural born hunters and pro-creators. Cats will wander to find a mate and cats will kill birds and native fauna if left outside. Cats make wonderful pets but they have a different intellect to dogs. Dogs do not need a big brain as they are fed, walked, hugged etc on a regular basis by their human. (They do not need to think for themselves, that is why we train them) Cats are designed to hunt (a predator needs to be intelligent in order to search, stalk, get eye contact and snatch prey) and to ensure the species is continued, therefore they often do not seem to be as loving.
Cats need to be wormed (due to their hunting/diet), need vaccinations due to their wandering lifestyle, need parasite prevention and all these things seem to get missed by some owners. Cats are not secondary to dogs they all need similar care and maintenance.”
A beautiful adorable kitten will grow into, a not always pleasant puss, who will demand attention, grooming, regular vet checks and something to claw, which usually consists of one’s favorite arm chair. It sounds obvious but any pet adoption is for life and that can be over 15 years! Adopting a cat on impulse would have to be the number one error new cat owners make.
The “Cat Haven” in Shenton Park Western Australia receives a lot of unwanted cats. Roz Robinson is Community Relations Manager there and she claims not thinking cat adoption through is one of the main causes for the large number of residents in her shelter. She says a lot of people don’t check with their landlords before taking an animal home and often discover, after the fact, they are not allowed to have one, “People don’t realize that if they manage to acquire a kitten for free, keeping it, is not cheap, there’s vaccinations and sterilization and that can add up to $300 and they haven’t even started on food yet! They generally underestimate how long it will live and 5 to 10 years down the track the cat has grown up and suddenly they have this pet they no longer want.”
She says, “Not bothering to sterilize the animal and ending up with unwanted kittens is another reason we receive a lot of cats here.” Kids tend to lose interest when cats are no longer babies.
“Owners have been known to discover that they are allergic to cats, and although this can be overcome,” Roz says, “a lot of people just want a quick fix which usually means surrendering the pet.”
Furniture destruction is not always a consideration and can come as an unpleasant surprise, “Kittens love curtain and sofas and it can be quite shocking to discover the $2000 lounge has been trashed, “claims Roz.
“We see a lot of cats here when owners decide to go on holidays. It costs between $12and $15 a day to board a cat and some don’t want to spend that sort of money which can result in relinquishing.” Roz claims that elderly people moving into nursing homes are sometimes forced to let their cats go. Some older folk will take on a cat for companionship if they live on their own not really thinking it through, “If they are 84 now and the cat lives for 20 years, they’re going to be long dead by then and the first thing the relatives will do when they’ve passed away is bring the cat in to us.”
Karen Craft from “AllExperts.com” has over 40 years experience with cats and through her work as a foster carer and rescuer has come to this conclusion, “I guess the most common mistake cat owners make is not to have money put aside for the care of their cats. I get a lot of questions about what they can do to treat their pets at home”.
This brings us to another common error in cat rearing; allowing your precious feline to wander outside. Tina (MS biomedical science) also from “AllExperts.com” has this to say in regards to allowing cats outdoors loose, “The dangers of allowing cats outside are often dismissed by people until something tragic happens.”
She has written in an article that, although cats are very smart and alert, they are no match for the many perils that await them outside such as cars, animal attacks, disease, accidents, human malice and some cats have been known to have been bought by research labs for experiments. “They will remove collars and lie about where they found the cat. Even if your pet has a microchip, the lab company may neglect to scan for chips,” she says in her article, “that’s why the average lifespan for an outdoor cat is 5 years, as compared to an average life span of 15 years for an indoor cat!”
Many people believe that if you love something set it free and if it comes back to you it’s yours; not as far as cats are concerned. It is safer to keep them inside. Think of it as consideration for your neighbors as well. After all if they wanted a cat in their garden they would get one. The birds in the area will thank you too.
These are some things to think about before making the decision to bring a cat or any pet home but if you do it will enrich your life and provide you with pure unconditional love. Adore or hate them felines are extraordinary creatures so independent, proud and extremely beautiful.
Here is a summation of guidelines to consider before adopting a cat:
Don’t act on impulse. The kitten may be adorable but it will grow and stick around for a good 15 to 20 years!
Consider the cost involved. Around $300 for initial vaccinations and sterilizations. Not neutering or spaying will almost certainly result in at least one litter of unwanted kittens or a “wandering” tom. A good idea is setting up a “cat kitty” where $5 or $10 a week can be deposited so that should the need arise vet costs can be mostly covered. Remember cats are resilient and can recover quickly from illness, but if more serious conditions are left untreated they may cause a lot of unnecessary suffering to the cat which could result in more costly care down the track or even death.
Cats are not humans so our food is not necessarily the best for them. Specialized cat food will provide all the nutrients they require for optimum health.
Cat proof your home and consider keeping your friend indoors. An outdoor enclosure is a good idea although a little costly to set up. Some cats will walk with a lead if trained early enough.
Finally, there will be extra chores involved such as regular litter cleaning, brushing and bathing.
Think it through, remember it’s a life commitment of care and expense but you will enjoy a loyal cuddly friend for a long time to come.
I’m with French novelist Edmond Jaloux, “I must admit”, he quotes, “it’s stronger than I am, this feeling that I cannot trust anyone entirely who does not like cats.”
I cannot disagree with musician, photographer Jeff Valdez either, “Cats are smarter than dogs. You can’t get eight cats to pull a sled through the snow.”
Let’s face it you don’t have to tell your cat you love it – it knows you do.