5 Things to Consider Before Adopting a Cat

Adopting a cat isn’t a decision to make lightly.  When you already have a resident cat, it can be even trickier to decide whether or not to add another cat to the family.  You’ll learn about the five big reasons that getting another cat might not be the best choice, and how to mitigate these problems.

1.  Additional Costs

Adopting a second cat isn’t much more expensive than the first one—assuming they get along.

If your current cat is super friendly with other cats, you’ll pay double the kitty litter, double the vet bills, and double the feed bills.  You’ll also need to do a one-time purchase of food bowls and an extra litter box or two.

If the new cat and your current cat do not get along, getting another cat might be more expensive.  There may be initial vet bills if they hurt each other.  You’ll need to keep them separated, and might need baby gates or crates to keep them apart at first.

If the new cat is a rescue, you might also need to pay for some initial vet visits.  A cat rescued from the street must be checked for contagious diseases that could kill your current cat.  They also might need to be spayed or neutered.

2.  Does Your Current Cat Want a Friend?

Sometimes it seems like your resident cat might want a friend, but it’s not always easy to tell what your cat is thinking.  Some cats really won’t do well with another friend.

Is your current resident aging?

Getting another cat to keep your aging or elderly cat company is a catch-22.  A new kitten might provide new life to an older cat.  The older cat will be forced into more action daily, and might enjoy playing with a new friend.  On the flip side, as a kitten ages it may become too boisterous for the elderly friend, and harass the older cat.

When the older cat passes away, the new cat may place you back in the same situation: should you adopt yet another cat to keep this one company?

Is your resident chill?

Is your current resident chill, or anxious?  A chill resident is probably more able to settle into having a roommate—but an anxious one might be calmed down by a relaxed friend.  Has your cat lived with other cats?  If they have, and did well, they will probably do well with a friend.

3. Do I Want an adult or kitten?

If you are looking for an adult, finding a rescue could be a great option.  Adult rescues have been “tested out” with other cats and can be evaluated with your resident.  A kitten will grow up as a friend to your current cat, and will never know that they have the option of not getting along—though if the kitten grows up to be assertive, it’s important to teach them how to be gentle.

4.  Children

If you have small children, are they ready to have another cat?  If you’re getting a small kitten, they are much more breakable than adult cats.  They aren’t as capable of defending themselves, and don’t have the sense yet to just walk away.  Even if your children are fine with a calm, adult cat that knows to get on a high shelf if they want to be left alone, they might have trouble with a kitten.  Kittens don’t know how to avoid a child—so might get hurt, or might hurt a child if the child is rough or persistent.

Adolescents can have the same problem—they are extremely active and are still learning rules.  An older cat might be unable to handle the level of chaos that toddlers and preschoolers create.  It’s important to find a cat that can handle the kind of family you have.

5.  Do you want one?

Do you even want another cat?  You might be thinking about it because “the kids want one” or “current cat seems lonely,” but if the bulk of the responsibility is going to fall on you, make the decision that’s right for you.  If your kids are older and can handle some of the responsibility, that’s great and a good factor in the decision.  But if you don’t want one, don’t get one.  No pet deserves to feel unloved by its primary caregiver.

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