Yes! Cats are good pets! According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, about 25% of American households have these cuddly and loveable companions as members of their family. Cats are very popular pets for many reasons and make great companions.
All cats are not the same, but all cats can be great pets. Cat lovers know that they are greatly influenced by the humans around them. Their temperament is often reflective of their interactions with people.
When thinking about getting a new cat keep in mind the environment in which they live is vital. Also, if they reside with other cats, they may be nervous and respond differently.
Although there is no set-in-stone guaranteed method to choose the right cat, doing some research and a little guidance can help you find one that is a good fit for you.
Cat History Facts
Domestic cats all have a common origin from Felis silvestris lybica which were wild cats located in North African/Southwest Asia.
When researching primitive cat DNA, researchers discovered that captive cat breeding started in the Fertile Crescent and then advanced in early Egypt (in the Classical period).
Cats were transported first on merchant ships, probably to eliminate rodents and safeguard food storage on board. This duty as a ‘working cat‘ enabled them to disperse worldwide.
In ancient times cats stayed outside and were not viewed in the same way as the common house cat you see today. Indoor cats, at the time, were unimaginable and that thinking didn’t change until significant developments of the mid-twentieth century took place:
- Indoor Ventilation.
- Putting a cat’s litter box inside a home.
- The prevalence of neutering and spaying.
While these advances made it possible to create a domesticated cat living inside our contemporary homes, cats are biologically unchanged from what they were thousands of years ago.
Their acceptance as a house pet has grown and expanded in our society in the last hundred years, but their basic conduct and needs have not.
Today’s house cats have not changed much from the ancient wild cats of Egypt. They still need and want a high protein diet, unlike man’s best friends (dogs) who went through many physical changes after domestication and have evolved to eat an omnivorous (plant & meat) diet.
Cats and Humans Relationship
Cats can understand how their owners feel at times and will respond with certain noises such as purring. A cat’s purr can mean more than they are just happy. They are much smarter than some believe them to be. They use rote learning to determine what works best for each person.
They often interact with humans using only about a half dozen fragments of behavioral cues. Dog people know how sociable and loving they are. Cats are not as sociable and outgoing so their behavior may be misjudged at times.
In general cats are good with young children so also making great family pets.
How do cats choose their human?
Cats play favorites too! While you probably can never know for sure why a cat may like one person more than another it usually comes down to who feeds them and who plays with them the most.
Benefits of Cat Ownership
The age-old debate of do cats or dogs make the best pets can probably not be answered subjectively by a current pet owner. They have biased opinions based on the type of pet they currently have.
Here are some unbiased advantages of owning a cat.
- Cats are low maintenance. Perhaps the most appealing benefit of cats is that they are less needy and disruptive. Cats don’t need to go for a walk and don’t require a lot of attention.
While dogs require plenty of exercise, cats make great apartment pets and are happy to stay inside. There is no need to play with them much, they need fewer toys than dogs and cats don’t require a lot of space.
- Cats are independent and seem to be self-reliant. Your cat will be there for you if you need them, but they are also highly skilled at keeping themselves busy.
- Cats enjoy hunting rodents. But they also offer the sort of household security that Venus flytraps promise but seldom deliver as natural insect killers. Some cats enjoy exterminating house flies and spiders!
- A cat can have a long lifespan of up to 20 years. During these years, bonding with your favorite friend is the most rewarding stage of pet ownership. While you will still probably outlive your cat, their long lifespan means that you have more time with them. This can be even more important if you have children.
- Owning a cat also comes with several health benefits, such as relieving stress and anxiety. Cat owners manage to turn a stressful day into a good one by a nice petting session or engaging with their cat.
Scientific evidence suggests that a cats purr will help lower blood pressure. It also improves the cardiovascular system. Cat owners are also known to be less prone to cardiovascular disease and strokes.
- One of the most dreaded types of common allergies for humans is cat fur. Marshall Plaut, M.D., chief of the allergic mechanisms section at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, put out a study showing that if a child is accustomed to cats in the first few years of life, they will develop an immune system more resistant to cat allergies and some other allergens.
- Cats also help reduce feelings of loneliness and make wonderful animal companions. They deliver a level of love and affection that no human friends will reach.
What Do Cats Eat?
Cats are often referred to as “obligate carnivores”. This means their body requires a high concentration of protein-rich cat food to function well. Keeping it simple, this means cats must eat meat.
There is no universal diet that fits all cats, but the ideal diet includes a high protein and moisture diet relatively low in carbohydrates.
A study conducted in 2011 pointed out that when a group of cats was given several kinds of foods to choose from, most of them chose a meal with about 52% protein, 38% fat, and 12% carbs.
Thereby, we can all agree that there is no such thing as a “vegetarian cat.” Some other factors which affect your cat’s diet are:
- Age: Varying stages of life mean distinct levels of activity and dietary needs. For instance, kittens are usually much more energetic than their older counterparts, and they often need extra nutrients to assist them in their fast-growing phase.
Just as human infants should not merely consume the same food as adults, kittens and adult cats should not eat the same food because they need divergent fats as they mature over the years.
- Ailments or pregnancy: Research points out that mother cats require a significantly higher caloric diet. But when suffering from an injury or illness, they tend to eat simple foods that are lighter.
- Moisture content in food: Wet foods are generally easier to digest compared to dry kibbles. Pet owners should also ensure that they clean the food dish after every feeding session to avoid bacterial infections.
- Feeding your cat: Vets say that cats should be fed daily in regulated quantities and around the same time every day. Free-feeding can lead to problems like obesity and indigestion.
You should try to make eating a fun activity for them, and cats have a natural tendency for hunting, which can be stimulated if you use various treating toys found in stores.
Cat Health Problems
If you let your cat roam freely outside it will probably trap and kill some small animals at some point. Hence, you need to be aware of something called T gondii. Actually, the full name of this parasite is Toxoplasma gondii and it can even affect humans in addition to other animals.
Cats usually get this from eating contaminated raw meat or by the birds and mice they catch. While your cat may not even show symptoms of the disease (roughly 40-50% of cats allowed to go outdoors get it) there is a possibility it could pass it on to you via cat’s feces as it is microscopic in nature.
Yes, cats get fleas too just like dogs! Fleas can actually be the cause of some serious health problems for your cat such as hair loss, skin infection and even anemia! So it is important to treat them at the first site of fleas.
Fleas can also infest your house quickly and that will cause potential health problems for you and your family as well!
Tapeworms can cause a variety of symptoms in your cat including vomiting. This can cause weight loss. The best way to tell if you suspect your cat has tapeworms is to check their cat poop. You will actually see them.
Anytime you suspect something is wrong with your cat consult your veterinarian immediately.
Cat Supplies List
Now that you have made up your mind about getting your cute furry friend, you need to keep your house stocked with certain necessities to make it a cozy home for your cat.
Here we provide a quick list of important cat items you will need.
- Crate: A cat carrier or crate is something you need if you ever plan to take your cat anywhere. Don’t just use a cardboard box as it doesn’t permit adequate ventilation access, and a scared cat might be able to scratch her way through it.
A plastic carrier with a locking door is durable and has enough space to function as well.
- Soothing spray: You can use a soothing spray (or calming spray) to make your kitty feel relaxed and help your pet feel at ease in the crate. It is recommended to spray 15 minutes before letting your cat in, followed by placing a cloth at the bottom to keep the surface warm.
- Bowls: You should buy filtered bowls for your pet’s water to remove impurities through a charcoal filter. Make sure the bottom of the bowl is designed ergonomically to avoid tipping.
Food bowls come in a wide variety of options. I recommend something made from stainless steel and not plastic.
- Litter box: There are many available. You can buy a self-cleaning litter box that has a mechanism that scoops out the litter automatically. Although these boxes are more expensive, they are convenient and require little upkeep.
On the downside, some cats can be frightened by the mechanism. Another option is a hooded litter box intended to give the cat some protection while covering the mess frequently found in litter boxes.
This will also effectively prevent litter from ever being thrown over the box’s side and onto the floor. Some cats are afraid of the hood, though, and won’t use a confined litter box.
A simple plastic container is the third choice for a cat’s litter box. Numerous cat owners favor this simpler alternative, but some maintenance is required and make sure it is big enough.
- Bed: Choosing a soft, warm and comfortable bed is crucial for your cat to feel secure. Ensure it has enough room for your pet to stretch but is also compact enough to make it feel safe.
You can even get a miniature cat house if your wallet allows. A nice bed is important for your cat’s health.
- Scratch post: Cats have a natural tendency to scratch things, and the last thing you want them to do is scratch your valuables.
A scratching post should have a base that is sturdy enough that it does not tip over and should be at least 20 inches tall so that your cat can stand on its hind legs to get a good stretch.
- Toys: Some exercise is necessary for your cat to stay fit and entertained. Make sure you have enough toys to keep it busy. Avoid buying toys that your cat might choke on, such as pom-poms or bells. Consult your veterinarian for suggestions.
- Collar ID Tag: At certain times, your cat should wear a collar with an ID tag. Your name, address, and telephone number should be on the tag.
The collar may have an automated mechanism that will break loose if your cat gets caught on something. Ensure that the collar fits properly and does not irritate your cat’s neck or impair their breathing and swallowing.
The general principle is to provide enough space between the collar and the neck for two fingers to fit.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can cats eat dog or human food?
It is not healthy for cats to eat some dog foods as they are carnivores and require a diet rich in proteins and other meat proteins. Biologically, the senses and teeth of a cat are tuned for eating meat.
Can I keep a cat indoors?
If you want to induce its natural behavior, you should expose your cat to the outside world, too. This, coupled with some exercise and frivolous play, is the ideal balance for your pet.
Going outside poses various risks, but as long as you have a collar, ID tag, and you are around to keep an eye on them, everything should be fine.
How are cats with children?
Having a pet will teach your child to respect animals and be gentle with them. Basic hygiene practices will ensure that your child does not get any infections.
If you allow your child to stay in the vicinity of a cat, their body will develop immunity toward other kinds of common allergens as well.
What gender of cat is better?
The sex of a cat should not be an issue as long as you neuter or spay your pet before it reaches puberty. This avoids the effects of sex hormones.
The ideal time is around four months of age BUT ask your vet! Neutering is important because otherwise, many male cats start marking their territory by spraying urine.
Can you keep a cat if you already have a dog?
When your cat is little, make sure it does not get injured by the dog. Train your dog to be around the cat, and they will probably be good companions in no time.
But you have to keep your eye on them at all times as most dogs instinctively want to attack a cat.
What does it cost to own a cat?
Owning a pet comes with various possible expenses such as microchipping, insurance, food, toys, bedding, vet fees, and vaccinations. Be prepared before buying a cat and plan your expenses accordingly.
Cats can make wonderful pets and are a very popular choice for many families due to their pleasant nature and ability to provide some companionship.
Dog owners will still say their pets provide much better companionship but cats don’t take up as much space and require as much human interaction as a dog.
While everyone has different needs and desires, a cat still provides unconditional love to its owner just in a different way as they are independent animals.
I promise that you will have much more fun having a real cat at home than just watching a bunch of cat videos you find on social media.
Go to your local shelter and find a wonderful adult cat that you can give a new home.