I have been a cat person all my life. I started my cattish addiction quite young; when I was a little girl, I used to pester my grandmother’s cat to the point where they would probably rather play with the dogs than with me. And then one day I got my first cat and, oh my, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. It was such a… different experience to what I had imagined. Are you thinking about joining the feline cult too? Well, let me tell you what it is really like, having a cat and all.
Disclaimer: There was a time I decided it would be a good idea to be brutally honest with all of you and confess that among all animals I am truly a cat. So please consider it a guide to living with me also.
Having a cat means eating full fat fur with every meal
The first question any future cat owner should ask themselves is: how squeamish am I with my food? If the answer is anything other than not at all, one should abandon this crazy idea before one gets to attached to it. Cats and people who are not prepared to not fuss over their food is a really bad combination.
Ok, I know what you’re thinking. It is all about training the cat, right? Not letting him get anywhere near the kitchen. Keeping him off the table at all times (good luck with that one when you’re not at home). That may work, true, if you are trying to stop your cat from actually eating your food and you have very good reflexes. Cats’ fur however does not care about your rule and regulations. Cats’ fur does not understand the concept of borders and territories and no go zones.
Cats’ fur is free to do whatever cats’ fur likes.
It means saying goodbye to black clothes too
The same applies to cats’ fur getting onto other important stuff. Take clothes, for example. Cats love to sleep on freshly laundered clothes, but even if you lock these away from them they can still: sleep in your cupboards, sleep on your sofa, sleep on your chairs, nudge your legs as you walk past, make their fur travel through the air with the speed of light and sneak out in the middle of the night to pull their fur out of their tails and leave it on your suit.
My friends find my cat’s fur on their clothes; even the ones who haven’t seen the cat in question for years!
One would think that is an obvious implication. Everyone knows that cats lose fur on everything, right? (this is also true for my own hair) No. You’d be surprised how many perfectionist, cleaning-obsessed, pedantic individuals there are out there claiming that they will have a cat one day. I’m not sure whom I pity most. The cat or the crazy person who thinks this would work.
Having a cat means some of your friends cannot visit anymore
Friends, family, that annoying neighbor who likes to borrow your sugar and never give it back (although that may be a good thing) … The list can be surprisingly long. Do you know anyone with any allergies? Are you even aware of the fact some of your favourite people in the world may not be able to come around and visit ever again?
As someone who helped (well, my cat did) someone discover her fur allergy, I am particularly sensitive to the topic. All jokes aside, things like that are probably last on our minds before we buy or adopt a cat – but they should be on top of our checklists. What if the single worst thing happens and it turns out… it turns out that you have a cat allergy? Too many animals get abandoned because no one bothered to check whether or not it is safe to have one at home.
A house with a cat is more of a home, but what a chaotic one!
Cats are evil. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. They will try to ruin your perfect little life in any way or shape possible. Especially if they are anything like my cat.
Prepare to never sleep, because this furry friend of yours likes to sing at 3am. And give up on replacing the furniture, because your budget won’t catch up with him and besides all of his toys are just not scratchable enough! Oh, and one day he may decide he wants to climb onto the ceiling lamp that was never made to hold that many kilograms of pure fatty gorgeousness.
My cat went through a phase of bringing slugs home. Just saying.
No cat is quite the same. He’ll find his own style. Trust me. You can train him, you can teach him (I’ve heard), but there will always one last habit left… That last thing you just cannot get out of him.
The cat will be there for you when you’re sad… but it really will be there
When I am low, I find nothing more comforting than the warmth of my cat’s body. He is very cuddly, so that is not that hard to achieve. But sometimes I am just so unhappy or busy or tired that I just want to close my eyes and forget about the world.
Guess what? My cat is still there.
He is there when I have a deadline to meet and I am running out of time. He is there when I cannot find my makeup brush that he decided to lay on. He is there when I am so tired I can barely move my limbs – there and waiting to be scratched behind the ear. There is no holiday from a cat.
(Unless you put him in a cat hotel, which I would recommend only in extreme circumstances. Not that people running cat hotels are unreliable. They are usually very lovely and accommodating. It is just that my cat has a different opinion on that matter).
Cats can be extremely entertaining and funny, but they are not a TV show one can switch off on a bad day. Cats are there through the best, the worst and the most leave-me-alone times.
Having a cat makes travelling so much harder
Talking about cat hotels reminded me of one other quirkiness of my cat – he hates travelling.
I blame it on the fact that when he was just a kitten the only place he would travel to by car was the vet’s office and, trust me, his vet is the only person he ever barked at.
(He genuinely hates the poor lad. My cat’s vet has been brining his food and meds directly to our house for years now and I am pretty sure my cat has never let him in further than the corridor).
You may get lucky and get a car-friendly cat, you may not. This notwithstanding you will struggle to take him on holiday with you. Going abroad will be automatically out of question, unless you find a suitable cat hotel or a relative a bit too kind for their own good. And lots of places within your own country will have an anti-pet policy; and even if some of them accept pets, I bet you anything they will be more accommodating of dogs.
Your cat is just a cat
I love my cat. I really do. He is the single cutest thing in the Universe and I wouldn’t replace him with anything or anyone. I am sure most cat owners will tell you the same thing.
We, as society, are a bit crazy about cats. Cat videos. Don’t get me started on that. I spend half of my day looking at cats on Instagram and the other half stalking cats to put them on Instagram… They are just so pretty! And irresistible.
But behind this fluffy exterior and beautiful eyes and wet, pink noses, and wiggly tails and… Behind all of that there is a creature that needs to be looked after. A creature that needs our love and care. And this love and care is not always something pretty.
Petting a cat or even brushing one (if his fur is not too long and he is not too fussed about it) is plenty of fun. Cleaning the litter box – hmmm, not that much. But cats get ill like any other living thing, they get hurt and injured, and they are not mythical creatures with no bodily fluids.
Having a cat is not just about playing with him and taking pretty pictures. Having a cat is also about taking responsibility for another being. And that is something, I fear, not many people have really been told – or not many people really understand – about cats.
Are you part of the cat worshipping club? Or maybe you always wanted to have a little feline in your life but never got around it? Share your experiences – all cat stories are great stories by default!
Don’t want to miss my next post? Follow me on Bloglovin’ for automated updates. See you on Saturday!