10 things you need to know before getting a cat
I’ve always had a cat. From my very first tiny black cat, Suki, to the stray that would come hang out in my room at uni (I affectionately called him Colin), I’ve always been around cats. So, when I bought my house last year, it only seemed right to adopt a little furry friend once I’d settled in.
Enter, Mollie (aka moo bag, moo pie, rat bag, ratty, little lady, moo moo, mooshi). I got her in February, so she’s been mine for around 6 months now, and even though I’ve grown up with cats, I’ve been on a very steep learning curve.
1: You will get fur everywhere
And I mean, everywhere. Mollie is particularly bad for malting anyway because she has a thick undercoat (going through a seasonal fur shed was NOT fun), so a lint roller has now become my favourite and most used item in the house.
Shedding can differ in all the different breeds though, so make sure you Google or ask around as to what cats don’t shed too much (especially if you or someone you know has allergies).
But, if you’re good with finding hair all over your black work trousers when you’re about to go into an important meeting, it shouldn’t bother you too much.
2: Your sleep pattern will get interrupted
Mollie has a *horrible* habit of howling her head off at around 6am, regardless of what day it is. I mean, it’s great on a weekday – I can get up and get stuff done before work and feel like I absolutely win at life – but on a Sunday after a few too many gins? Not so great.
Have a think and make sure that you’re alright with having a shouty, furry alarm clock.
3: You need to let them settle in before any big events
I made the mistake of bringing Mollie home from the shelter around two weeks before my birthday weekend, where I had 4 people stay at mine over a few days and I also hosted a party. This, in hindsight, was a huuuuuge mistake. Mollie obviously wasn’t completely settled in yet, and she let me know by peeing over several different items over the course of the weekend. I think she also developed a mild bout of cystitis through the stress of it all.
Lesson learnt? Make sure that your cat is completely comfortable with their surroundings before having any sort of big event, loud noises, or a few more people around than normal. It’ll normally take around a month or so, and it’ll also make sure that you don’t need to apologise to your guests for having them nearly step in cat wee before they get in the shower. (:
4: Be realistic with how much they cost
I’m actually surprised with how little Mollie costs me each month. Everyone’s situation is different, but here’s my breakdown with what I’ve spent so far, and what I spend each month on her:
- adoption fee: £30 (this will obvs differ with where you get your cat from)
- vaccinations: £40
- initial set up (litter tray / bedding / toys etc): £100 (again, this will differ as to where you buy this all from)
- pet insurance: £6 per month (I use More Than)
- food: £20 per month (although Amazon do a preeeeetty sweet deal on mass buying cat food which will last you ages)
- treats: £5 per month (I normally just buy a pack or two of Dreamies a month or when she runs out)
- litter: £8 per month (Mollie is super fussy and won’t use anything but Cat San *rolls eyes*)
- toys: £20 every couple of months (you don’t have to do this, but I tend to make sure she’s got something new every now and then so she doesn’t get bored)
- vet bills: £40 a time (I’ve taken her to the vets twice since I’ve got her, so make sure you’ve got enough ’emergency fund’ money in case anything does go wrong)
Obviously, you can spend a lot more on a cat to make sure she gets the best food that’s made organically by sherpas in the Himalayas, but I feed Mollie Whiskas and Iams and the vet said she’s in pretty good nick.
5: Be realistic about what how much ‘stuff’ they need
I’m slowly but surely realising how much she’s taking over my house; there are generally cat toys scattered around the lounge, dining room, my bedroom, the room she sleeps in and my office. She’s also got a couple of scratch posts dotted around the place, and her water fountain is a key feature of the dining room.
Obviously I don’t mind any of this as she’s part of my home and my little family too, but if you’re desperate to keep that ‘minimalistic’ look and feel that us millennials love so much – I can guarantee you won’t be able to.
6: Be realistic about how much time and attention they need
Cats are definitely self-sufficient and fairly independent, but that doesn’t mean to say that you can go days and days without giving them any sort of attention.
Giving Mollie a bit of a fuss and playing with her favourite toys is also a bit of downtime for me – I can just let go of anything that I’m thinking of for that half hour or so when I get home from a busy day at work.
It’s also a great way to tire them out before bedtime; an hour of playing with the laser guarantees that she’ll snooze all the way through the night (see point number 2).
7: Always, always adopt rather than buying from a farm or online
It’s a little bit easier to adopt from a shelter where I live as cat breeders are a little bit hard to come by here, but if you’re living in a place that’s in abundance with kitten farms or local breeders, I’d urge you to go adopt from your nearest rescue centre.
A lot of people have the misconception that if animals are from the shelter that they’re damaged goods, but when I was doing the rounds before I got Mollie, I saw some of the cutest, sweetest and friendliest little guys that were all waiting to be re-homed.
It’s also considerably cheaper, as most shelters will just ask for a donation rather than a £200+ price tag. They also check them over before they face the public, so they’ll always be honest about any sort of health defects or conditions before you take them home.
8: You will become a cat person even though you always thought you were a dog person
I know, I know. I’ve always wanted a dog. Always. Yet I’m constantly told by several different people after I whine ‘but I waaaaaant oneeeeeeeeee’ when I see a cute little woofer in the road that dogs are hard work, they need constant walking, they need constant exercising, they can’t be left alone so what are you going to do when you work 8 hours a day, their food is expensive, a lot of them have health problems etc etc etc etc.
Jeez. Cats are so much easier.
9: You will become the proudest cat mum or dad
My camera roll is *full* of photos of Mollie and it takes so. much. damn. strength to not upload every single picture to Instagram.
I’ve even tried putting Snapchat filters on her, she appears quite a bit in my Stories (to the point where someone messaged me and asked if I was going to be going out that day because I was doing nothing but filming and photographing her), and I will definitely try and slip her into conversations at every possible opportunity, even though absolute tumbleweed rolls past every time I do.
She’s my little buddy and if Taylor Swift can go on about her cats across all her social media, then goddammit so can I. Let a girl live.
10: They will become your favourite thing in life
After all the pee accidents, the howling at 4am and the poop in my plant pots, there is nothing better than coming through the front door and seeing her sleepy little face poke through the bannisters as she’s sat on the staircase waiting for me.
They will become your companion, your compadre, and your favourite thing in the entire world.
So – that’s my little guide to getting a cat. What do you think? Have you adopted a cat before? What was your experience?