Nine Considerations Before Keeping a Cat: Factors to Ensure Happiness with a Feline Companion

Are you considering keeping a cat because you want to spend more time at home? While the idea of having a furry friend may be appealing, it is important to understand that pets are a big responsibility from the moment they are brought home. To prevent regret, it is essential to be well-informed and prepared before making the decision to keep a cat. In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of cat ownership.

✨ Is Raising a Cat Challenging?

When choosing a pet, you have various options such as a cat, dog, rabbit, or bird. When deciding between a cat and a dog, it is important to choose the pet that aligns with your lifestyle and daily routine, such as walks and training.

When considering cat ownership, let us highlight the potential challenges that come with raising a feline companion.

❂ Admittedly, there are also challenging aspects

Cats are often considered to be low-maintenance pets, but taking care of them is not as straightforward as it seems. For those who are new to cat ownership, it can be more challenging and time-consuming than expected.

At a minimum, you must attend to the daily needs of feeding, litter box cleaning, health checks, brushing, and grooming.

In addition, you must also keep the entire room clean.

It is recommended to keep cats indoors, as allowing them to go outside increases the risk of involvement in fights or accidents, which can be life-threatening.

If you keep a cat indoors, you must create an environment where the cat can spend its time comfortably. This includes providing a place for the cat to relax, play space, etc. Since cats are agile and enjoy climbing to high places, you cannot simply tidy up the floor like you would with dogs.

When owning a cat, you cannot just decorate your shelves with stylish interior accessories. You must also be mindful of which plants are safe for cats to be around.

Both dogs and cats shed hair, so you must clean up regularly.

❂ Regret is also a possibility

Keeping a cat indoors can impact your lifestyle, such as requiring frequent cleaning and giving up a pristine interior. If the cat sheds a lot, it may leave hairballs that dirty your floor and furniture.

In addition, the cat may scratch and damage furniture, walls, and tatami mats, resulting in a state where repairs are constantly needed.

If the cat is friendly, it can be loved through affectionate physical contact, but if the cat has a cool demeanor, it may not enjoy physical affection and maintain a reserved demeanor. There are those who regret their decision to keep a cat after experiencing these difficulties.

✨ 9 Reasons to Regret Owning a Cat

As you can see, there are unexpected things that can cause you to regret owning a cat. Of course, everyone’s lifestyles are different and each cat’s personality is unique, so it cannot be definitively stated that it will be like this.

Despite this, there are some points that can be communicated beforehand, so here are 9 common reasons that may lead to regretting owning a cat.

❂ Regret 1: The odor is stronger than anticipated

Cats have less body odor compared to dogs, but they are not completely odorless. When you have a cat at home, there is a noticeable scent that can be sensed by visitors.

For instance, the odor from the litter box. Urine odor in particular can be strong. Unsterilized or unneutered cats may have a strong and distinct odor during their heat cycle. Some cats may also mark their territory, leading to urine odor that may persist even after cleaning.

❂ Regret 2: The Room Becomes Dirty and Cleaning is Challenging

As previously stated, frequent cleaning is required, and even if you clean, the room will quickly become dirty.

The litter box is a prime example of a cleaning challenge. Cats that prefer cleanliness may defecate outside of the litter box if it is dirty. There are also cats who may hold in their waste, which can lead to bladder inflammation or constipation and harm their health.

In addition, cat hair attracts dust easily, so frequent cleaning is necessary. Human hair should also be monitored, as it may be accidentally ingested and cause difficulties with excretion, resulting in a visit to the veterinarian.

Maintenance of household fixtures and furniture is also essential for the cat’s well-being.

Even though claws can typically be trimmed with a proper claw trimmer, in times of stress or demand, cats may scratch walls, pillars, furniture, etc. to get their owner’s attention. Scratching on tatami mats, sliding doors, or doors can result in time-consuming repairs and can become a never-ending cycle of repairs.

Garbage cans should also be placed in an area inaccessible to cats, as there are items that should not be ingested.

In households with small children, precautions must be taken to prevent accidents, such as being mindful of small items that may be put in the mouth, gaps in doors and door hinges that could trap hands, cords and outlets that may be played with, etc. The same level of caution should be exercised as with a child.

❂ Regret 3: The meowing is loud

Even if you appreciate a cat’s cute meowing voice, the meowing can interfere with sleep if the cat is loudly meowing in the middle of the night and your lifestyle is nocturnal.

There are breeds of cats that are known to have minimal meowing such as the Russian Blue, also known as the Silent Cat or Voiceless Cat, and the Himalayan and Persian cats that communicate effectively through body language. However, there is individual variation and some cats of these breeds may still meow excessively.

The perception of meowing can also change depending on the environment. For instance, in a large space like a pet shop, it may sound like a soft “meow meow” voice, but when brought home, the volume may be unexpectedly loud.

Additionally, over time, you may become accustomed to the meowing. This meowing is a call for the owner’s attention and can range from requests for food, to requests for playtime, or simply to be petted. However, it may not be feasible to fulfill all of these requests.

Cats are often considered easy pets to keep because they don’t bark like dogs, but their voice can sometimes be heard by neighbors when they are feeling lonely and searching for their owner.

❂ Regret 4: The high cost of pet ownership

Owning a cat involves expenses.

You can expect to spend an average of $500 per year on food. The price will vary depending on the type of food you choose, such as dry food, wet food, therapeutic food, or functional food.

In addition to food, you will also need consumable items such as cat litter and toilet sheets.

In the case of cat litter, the amount used varies depending on the type, but it costs an average of $7 to $16 per month. You will also need to spend $100 to $300 per year on toys, snacks, and care products.

The next cost that seems high is medical expenses.

Cats may need to go to the hospital due to diarrhea, a chronic illness, injury, or poor health. The cost of treatment varies depending on the cat’s condition, but the most common cost is $100 to $300 per year, followed by $300 to $600.

There are also cases where expensive treatments such as cancer or diabetes are required or long-term care is necessary.

Recently, more owners have joined pet insurance. Although cat insurance is cheaper than dog insurance, it costs about $150 per year for cats under one year old, and the insurance fee increases with age.

More owners are also vaccinating their cats every year. Depending on the type of vaccine, it costs about $30 to $75.

There are also veterinary clinics that recommend regular check-ups along with vaccines. Regular check-ups are effective for early detection of diseases such as blood tests, X-rays, and ultrasonic tests, especially as the cat gets older and needs 1 to 2 check-ups per year. The cost of health check-ups varies depending on the examination items, but the average cost is about $100 per check-up.

Now, let’s take a look at the estimated annual cost and lifetime cost of 15 years, the average lifespan of a cat.

Food expenses: $300 to $600 per year / Lifetime estimate of $4,500 to $9,000

Cat litter, etc.: $100 to $300 per year / Lifetime estimate of $1,500 to $4,500

Medical expenses: $100 to $300 per year / Lifetime estimate of $1,500 to $4,500 (excluding expenses for treating major illnesses)

The estimated lifetime cost is $7,500 to $18,000, which can be high.

❂ Regret 5: Limited Living Space

Some owners provide a cat tower for their cat to relax and place them in a cage during visitors or when they are away from home.

However, this requires space to accommodate the cage or cat tower, which can make the living space feel cramped.

A cage is roughly the size of a tatami mat and includes space for food, water, and a bed. Even the smallest type of cage is about the same height as a dining table.

While a cat tower is slimmer than a cage, its height can still make the living space feel cramped.

If you live in a one-room apartment or a small room, it is important to keep in mind that pet ownership may result in limited living space.

❂ Regret 6: Limited Travel

Having a pet, not just a cat, means sacrificing long trips.

During the owner’s absence, a pet sitter or pet hotel must be used, but cats are sensitive to changes in their environment. They may lose their appetite or become stressed.

Additionally, cats have a tendency to feel uneasy if their schedule is disrupted. If their wake-up time, meal time, or family return time is not kept to, they may become restless and unsettled.

For cats, changes in their environment can cause significant mental stress, so it is inevitable that the owner will be away from home for long periods of time.

❂ Regret 7: Concerns When Going Out

When leaving the house, owners may worry about their cat’s safety, such as their interaction with electrical cords, falling from furniture, accidental ingestion of objects, or consuming food and water.

Even though it may be considered overprotectiveness, cats are active and have a wide range of physical abilities, which can lead to ongoing concerns.

To ease such worries to some extent, some owners have set up cameras in the room so they can monitor their pet’s condition while at work or outside.

❂ Regret 8: Valuable items can be damaged

Cats view interior decorations displayed on shelves as obstacles in their path. Some cats are able to navigate around them, while others may intentionally knock them over to get through.

Even if it’s not in their way, it’s not uncommon for items such as hockey sticks to become toys for cats.

As measures like “keeping it out of reach” or “placing it in a high place” do not always work with cats, it’s important to store valuable items inside cabinets or drawers.

Even with these precautions, if the cat is skilled at opening doors or drawers, it can still turn into a game of “cat and mouse.”

If there is something you don’t want to be damaged at all costs, the best solution is to isolate it in a room that is off-limits to cats.

❂ Regret 9: Hobbies may need to be sacrificed

One of the challenges of owning a cat is maintaining your hobbies.

For example, with potted plants, some can be toxic to cats if they ingest them and some may even be life-threatening. Enjoying interior plants may need to be given up.

Aromatherapy oils are also hazardous. Cats are unable to metabolize the ingredients in these oils and may experience poisoning or even death if they ingest the oil. Aromatherapy using essential oils can also be dangerous because they can be absorbed through the skin.

Cats also do not tolerate strong-smelling things like perfumes.

For those who enjoy nail art or handcrafts, caution is necessary in all aspects, including parts that can be swallowed and managing paint supplies if painting is a hobby.

It’s not necessary to give up all hobbies, so let’s find a way to coexist by finding solutions.

✨ Still, keeping a cat is happiness!

I previously highlighted the potential drawbacks of keeping a cat. If you make the decision to keep a cat impulsively, it may not have a positive outcome for both the cat and the owner.

Despite this, there are many benefits to owning a cat.

❂ They’re cute anyway

Having a cat can be therapeutic. The cuddly gestures and the way they run with their tail held high are memorable.

They’re cute no matter whether they’re asleep or awake.

Owning a cat can be so enjoyable that some people can’t recall their life before having one.

❂ Adds energy to life

“Let’s just sleep in on days off.” Even such everyday routines change when you have a cat. Your day begins with the morning greeting of “Good morning! Can I have some food?”

Owning a cat means you live according to a schedule. Weekdays and weekends don’t matter to cats. It’s just that weekdays have longer periods of being left alone.

Cats have a regular rhythm of waking up, eating, playing, sleeping, and waking up again, and the owner also naturally follows a rhythmic lifestyle.

❂ Becomes motivation to work hard

Thinking that the cat is waiting, going home becomes something to look forward to. Some cats even greet you at the door.

The sight of the cat waiting for you before you even open the door is cute and unforgettable. Even if you feel down when you come home, the cat senses it and comforts you.

Just the thought of your beloved cat waiting for you at home makes you want to finish work early and go home!

Also, the desire to see the cat’s happy face drives you to purchase various items such as toys, snacks, and cat towers, which becomes motivation to work hard.

✨ Prepare to avoid regret

To avoid regretting keeping a cat, I have discussed these points. So, let’s review the factors to consider before keeping a cat again.

❂ Assess the availability of funds in the household budget for cat care

It is estimated that caring for a cat requires an annual budget of $500 to $1,200, and over a lifespan of 15 years, the total cost could range from $7,500 to $18,000.

Please ensure that these expenses can be accommodated within your household budget.

Additionally, in some circumstances, you may need to move to a pet-unfriendly environment due to a job transfer, for example, and abandon pet ownership. Properties that allow pets often come at a higher cost, so it is important to consider rental expenses in such scenarios.

❂ Evaluate the amount of time available for cat care in your current lifestyle

Cats do not require daily walks, but still need time for meal preparation and litter box cleaning.

If you have long work hours or frequently go on extended business trips, pet ownership may not be suitable for you. In households with young children, the busy period of child-rearing can also make cat care challenging.

It is important to assess your lifestyle and ensure that you have adequate time to spend with your cat.

❂ Determine if your home’s floor plan is suitable for cat ownership

It is essential that your home is suitable for breeding cats. Please assess if there is enough space in your home’s floor plan for a cat.

A cat needs designated areas for meals and water, places for cages and cat trees, and litter box locations.

It is also crucial to provide a quiet environment for meals and litter box locations.

❂ Ensure Availability of Care for the Cat in Your Absence

It is also important to plan ahead for the cat’s care while you are away. In some cases, it may not be possible to leave the pet alone during a sudden absence.

When unexpected hospitalization or a trip for a few days arises, it is advisable to find a pet hotel or a friend who can take care of the cat in advance. This way, you can have peace of mind without feeling rushed.

A common solution is to leave the cat with family members (such as with parents) or a pet hotel, or to ask a pet sitter or friend to take care of feeding and toileting at home.

Depending on the length of the absence, whether it is for a few days or for an extended period, the arrangements may differ, so it is reassuring to consider both options.

If you choose a pet hotel, you may need to bring the cat’s vaccine certificate, so be sure to check that as well.

❂ Can You Be Satisfied by Making Sacrifices for the Cat?

Living with a cat may also require giving up certain hobbies or adjusting your room decor.

It may not be appropriate for individuals who spend most of the day away from home or those with jobs that involve frequent transfers.

Additionally, it may not be suitable for individuals who keep other pets that could be preyed upon by cats, such as birds or hamsters.

Even if you make lifestyle changes or give up your ideal life, it’s okay as long as you still want to keep a cat.

✨ Conclusion

In this article, we have highlighted some of the things that you may regret before keeping a cat. However, you cannot maintain a long-term relationship with a cat simply because it is cute.

It may also be costly and impact your lifestyle and hobbies.

What we aim to convey in this article is not negative information about owning a cat, but rather to encourage you to consider the cost, time required for care, and the owner’s mental state comprehensively.

Starting a life with a cat impulsively can result in unhappiness for both the cat and the owner.

Please consider the potential regrets, think thoroughly, and only start a life with a cat if you are fully satisfied.

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