Lifestyle

Why NOT to own a cat

I write this through observation of my own little terror, maybe not all cats behave this way, however I do feel the need to write this blog post, warning all those out there who have the slightest thought of getting a pet kitten of the “terrors” that come with it. Pet kittens are adorable, and hard to resist, that’s how I ended up with my now son, Jeraiya, a little runt who won my heart at first glance. He was the ugliest of the lot, and I thought that nobody else would want him, and he may not make it, so my impulsive nature led me to adopt this little boy without knowing how much it was going to affect my life. I don’t regret it, but life did turn out to be harder in certain ways.

 

1.Expenses

There are monthly expenses that factor into having a new fur buddy. Merely feeding them left overs of our own food and hoping for them to thrive on that is not enough.

 

Expenses Cost per month Cost per year
Dry food: one bag lasts a little under a month R100 R1200
Wet food: one bag costs around R6 and covers one meal.  Jeraiya has around three bags per week R6x3x4= R72 R864
Toys: I can spend from R100 to R1000 each month, depending on what toy it is- a new ball or a cat tree to claw on. So I’m going to combine this and get an average number per month spent Around R200 R2400
Litter: there are different types of litter. When I can afford it. I buy the crystal litter- it’s better with absorption and smell control. This usually costs around R97 a bag and lasts for two weeks. When I’m broke, I buy the 5KG sand like litter, which costs around R54- It can be used for a month but sucks at absorbing smells R54 R648
Cleaning supplies: With cat comes cleaning and strong enough detergent and scented sprays. Around R143 R1716
Total: R569 R6928

Other expenses:

  • Vet fees

It cost me around R800 to get all his injections as a kitten, and then another R950 to get him neutered, and then another round of injections for R500. these injections are to be given once a year. These are just the compulsory things. There are still those uncalculated visits because he fell out of a window from the second floor, or started spewing everywhere, and crying.

Pets get sick too, and the right thing to do is to treat them. This however, costs money, and in south Africa, it really costs more to go to a vet than a human hospital.

  • Brushes, nail clipper, blankets, pet beds etc.

There are other miscellaneous yet important costs that factor in too. A pet needs a place to sleep, a blanket to keep warm, their fur needs to be brushed to minimize shedding and matting, and a cat needs its claws trimmed.

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2.Training

Although cats are capable of learning how to use their kitty litter on their own, and they are very susceptible to things, they do still need to be trained in other departments. I’ve had to train my cat to accept me trimming his claws, which is so very important, because when they’re long, they can be dangerous even while retracted. I haven’t succeeded in training him to be calm in a bath, but recently he seems to tolerate it more than he ever has.

I’ve had to train him to walk on a leash, because after all, he is a house cat and a little dumb and there are many dogs outside, and he gets very stressed when he gets lost but still has the tendency to run off, yet I still want to allow him to enjoy the out doors and climb a tree now and then.

 

3.Allergies

 

Plenty people are allergic to cats, and you or your housemates could be too. You’d have to stock up on allergy pills and purchase a few humidifiers, which again, adds to costs. You might also have fewer friends come over, since there are so many dog lovers out there who decided that loving dogs does not allow you to love cats too.

 4.Shedding

They don’t always shed, but when they do…. Fur babies everywhere. The amount of shedding can depend on the breed you get. I have no idea what breed Jeraiya is, he is just a tabby baby, but gosh the amount of fur!! Fur in my tooth paste, fur in my hair, fur on my beautiful black clothes, fur everywhere. If you care very much about your appearance and strands of fur all over your shirts and pants is just too much to handle, then yeh, you’d have to rethink your decision on getting a cat. The shedding contributes all the way back to allergies, more fur around, more allergic reactions. If I don’t give my cat a wash often enough, he makes my face itch.

5.Scratching

The reality is cats do scratch. Sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally. This is why it’s a good idea to get them used to trimmed claws, it minimizes the damage, but doesn’t eliminate it.

I have many scars on my arms and legs due to Jeraiya latching on to me because I annoyed him or he really wants to play, or he gets a sudden scare and somehow latching onto me is safer.

My bed sides and furniture that are off-limit have not yet escaped the clawing. Though recently, with his new big scratching post, he scratches and claws my belongings a little less.

6.Hygiene

  • Litter box

Although cats are self-sufficient and capable of figuring out how to use a litter box on their own, cleaning the litter box is nasty– It stinks. However, since neutering my boy, I noticed a change in the smell of his pee, a lot less potent. Sometimes he topples the box over by trying to balance himself on the side, or he digs so much he splatters all the litter out of it, and I’m left with sweeping up litter and poop. The worst part is If you don’t change the litter in time, the stench emitted kills noses, even if you scoop every day. You really can’t be lazy on this one. There are so many powders and sprays out there that are supposed to be litter smell neutralizers but honestly, they don’t work that well, and when he poops, trust me for that one minute, you smell it.

  • Peeing

Once, I left my laptop bag with laptop in it, out in the lounge and went straight to bed… next morning, I found my bag and laptop soaked in pee.

I don’t know why, but one day, Jeraiya woke up and decided that it would be a good idea to start peeing on my belongings. He has peed on my bags, my curtains, the ottoman, in the bathroom sink, and even in the dish rack! I almost sent him to the homes for cats to learn a lesson after that. He has calmed down a lot after being neutered but he still managed to pee in my cupboard just recently.

  • Vomit

cats vomit a lot, well, Jeraiya does. He will choose to walk all the way to me, and vomit right there as close to me as possible. If I am not home, he will vomit on my bags, it’s always the bags.

  • Baths

it’s still important to bath them even though they clean themselves. Their little paws need to be wiped down often since they dig in their litter and then strut along every surface in the house.  I wash Jeraiya’s coat of fur or wipe it down, to try and minimize the shedding and spread of allergens, also because he feels so soft and fluffy after. Not forgetting that their teeth need to be cleaned in case of cavities especially if you treat them to human food on occasion.

7.Disrupted sleep

You could either not be able to sleep because little boy is doing the most, tearing things a part or hunting flies at 2 am, or because you’re so used to the noise and suddenly tonight it’s too quiet and you ‘re so you have to crawl out of bed and check if he is okay.

Sometimes other rubbish cats come to your window picking a fight and your boy has to defend his home with the most annoying howls ever. Other times, he wants to cuddle next to you, and now you don’t want to move too much because he is your precious little baby and you want him to sleep well, admiring his cuteness.

8.Needy

This point might surprise a lot of people, since cats are known to be the notorious control freaks incapable of love, but truth be told, they are needy little beings.

The kitten him at two weeks old needed to be constantly bottle fed, and his anus rubbed to help him poop. He couldn’t be put down and left alone or else he would just cry and cry, he needed to be warm all the time. I’d let him lie on my chest, and this seemed to help calm him down, he’d be okay.

Now, he may not want me to carry him all the time or have me in his space, but I know he really needs and loves me. If I am gone for too long, like a whole day at work he becomes a little sad and always greets me at the door with rubs, and cuddles. There are times where he forgets I’m home, so he starts crying softly, all I have to do is respond to him, he runs up, comes and checks on me, and then he is fine to continue with his activities of hunting flies and cable ties. We start our day with pets and praises, then end it with games. Cats need plenty of play. No play means a very destructive kitty with pent up energy running a mockery through the early parts of the morning, Jeraiya enjoys the feather on a stick and a lazor, sometimes we play a little wrestling (explains many of my scars). If I don’t play with him, he can become a little depressed, and aggressive.

9.You can’t own nice things

Due to their special skill of being able to climb everywhere, keeping things on higher surfaces to keep them safe does not work. Pot plants, vases, cups, cellphones, anything close to an edge will be pushed off. Soft clothes and blankets become portable beds. Jeraiya, finds anything he likes of mine, shoe laces, hair clips, hair bands and claims them as his toys.

 

 

I think it’s important to rescue pets, and love them, but I also want everyone to be aware of what may come with the package. With the cute fuzziness comes great responsibility, and I think that taking a pet in and then getting rid of it is worse than just allowing them to live out their lives in a place they are already used to. Pets do feel betrayed. I remember when i had to leave my boy at the hospital over night for his surgery, they pain on his face broke my heart. He didn’t want to be there, he wanted to go home with me. Lucky for him it was just a little scare and he was always going to go home with me, but for some little guys out there, they get used to the love and comfort of a home, and then get thrown into a cage not knowing why they were abandoned…. To them you are everything, even if sometimes you feel like they are ungrateful. They are just happy, and trusting of your love.

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