Advice on buying a kitten or getting a cat Bringing a new cat or kitten into your home is an exciting time. Before you welcome your new feline friend into your family, here are some key things to consider: Can I make a lifetime commitment? When looked after well, cats will live into their 20’s. This means dedicating two decades of your life to the care of your feline companion. Ask yourself, are you ready for this commitment? Consider your lifestyle. Will you have time to appropriately care for your cat? This includes time for feeding, grooming and entertaining. Do you find yourself away from home for long periods of time? If left alone for long stretches of time, kittens start getting agitated. They also require small regular meals throughout the day. If your lifestyle sees you away for long periods, consider getting a cat who is more settled. Inside or out? It’s important to decide whether your cat is going to live exclusively indoors, or if they are able to go outside. There is much debate on which lifestyle is best for their happiness and well-being. Your decision should be based on the lifestyle you lead, as well as the surrounding area you live in. All kittens need to be kept indoors until they have all their vaccinations, which gives you a couple of weeks to decide whether your feline friend will be kept indoors or if they can go outside. Changing your mind later on, once your kitten has settled into a routine, can lead to destructive behavior in the home, such as furniture scratching and spraying. Is my house big enough for an indoor cat? Cats are naturally active and inquisitive creatures, so ensuring your cat has sufficient space to wander and explore is very important. A cat that feels cramped can become frustrated and bored, resulting in destructive behavior. Do you have an indoor cat, and have a porch? You could potentially block this off for them to roam around in, thereby allowing your feline friend some of the freedom of the outdoors. If you live in a rented property, think about asking your landlord whether pets are welcome. If its discovered that you did not declare your pet, your landlord reserves the right to evict you. Do I have the financial means to provide for a cat? (Remember – this could be for 20 years!) Consider your financial situation now, and how you would manage if your circumstances were to change. The largest expense to consider, is that of veterinary bills and medication costs. If your cat sustains an injury or has an illness, would you have to means to fund the treatment and recovery? On average, caring for your growing kitten costs between £500-£700 a year. This covers their food, insurance and basic veterinary care, but don’t forget all other accessories they will require! Cat or Kitten? One consideration to think about it whether you should get a cat or kitten. You may want to introduce a kitten into your household so you can watch them grow into a loving family cat. Having a kitten from 8 weeks also means that training and socialising is more achievable. Others will want to re-home a rescue cat, and most shelters will offer adult cats looking for a forever home. Rather than going to a breeder, a rescue centre is your best bet for finding a lovable companion, in need of lots of care and attention. How will my other pets respond to having a cat in the home? The presence of pets already in the home can be a worry to new cat owners. It is important to introduce both pets gradually so that they can become accustomed to each other and live happily together. Start with having the pets in separate rooms and have an item, like a blanket with each others scent, so each pet can get accustomed. At meal times, feed them on each side of the door to encourage a positive experience. Gradually let them sniff each other though a gap in the door, then move up to a supervised meeting. Within no time your pets should be able to live happily together. How will my children respond to having a cat in the home? A new kitten can be delicate, so teaching your children how to be gentle to the new addition to the family is essential. When a cat perceives threat, it is likely to retreat to high-ground or act in a manner to protect itself. In order to avoid being scratched or bitten, respecting your cat’s space is very important. Recognizing the signs of their inherent nature to be independent is necessary , as not all cats will want to be petted, fussed and placed on a lap. Do I need Pet Insurance for my cat? As part as being a responsible cat owner, pet insurance should be put in place for the unfortunate event that your cat falls ill or has an accident. You can compare pet insurance to find the best policy to suit your individual needs and budget.