Holidays like Valentine’s Day and Easter are popular pet gift-giving times. If you’re thinking of getting a kitty for your kiddie this Valentine’s Day (or any other day), check out what Caren has to say first.
There is no doubt that owning a cat, or as I prefer to say, having the cat allow YOU to share ITS home, is one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have in your life. However, being a responsible pet owner brings certain points that must be considered, and bringing a cat into a home with a child–or multiple children–requires even more careful consideration.
Don’t get me wrong, I am all for kids having pets. However, unless the cat was there before the child then I am less enthused about bringing a cat into the home.
Cats don’t like to be “annoyed”
That’s right. I am saying that little kids can be somewhat annoying to a cat. Would YOU like your tail pulled or stepped on, ears grabbed or, worse yet, picked up and stuffed into places that no self-respecting cat would want to be a part of? I am speaking about being stuffed into baby carriages, small cars, or who knows where…
Are you thinking of getting a kitten or adult cat?
Tread carefully. Kittens get into TONS of mischief, from knocking down plants (or worse yet EATING THEM) and vases, possibly chewing electrical cords, climbing into high, impossible-to-reach areas and more. It is like having another child…at first.
On the other paw (er, hand), if you are thinking of getting an adult cat you must first “screen” it by finding out
Does your child understand the word responsibility?
Cats have to be fed, played with and loved. Yes, they are probably one of the lowest maintenance pets out there but they still require care. If your child is too young to understand responsibility, then you must be prepared to do the above…as well as the responsibility of litter box maintenance (which ideally should be done twice daily).
“But I want my child to learn responsibility and compassion by having a pet.”
Great! But be prepared to take on the responsibility when your child loses interest in the pet (which doesn’t always happen, but could easily happen).
Budgeting for veterinarian care
This is a necessity! Normal veterinary care includes yearly shots, tests for worms and other exams needed depending on the age of your cat. The average cost runs anywhere from $100 to $300 per year. Remember, that’s average cost for a healthy cat. Costs can be much, much higher for a cat with special needs.
The key is preventive care: have the cat checked at least yearly for cats under age 7 with no health issues. Senior cats–ages 7 and up–should ideally be checked by the vet every 6 months.
There are also other ongoing costs to take into consideration including cat food, cat carrier, cat litter, litter pans and scoops, cat toys, trees, treats and much more.
As I mentioned above, cats are relatively low maintenance but it is important to remember that the cat will rely on you for an entire life–which averages 15 years or more. If you are not prepared for such a responsibility then please do not get a cat. It is much, much harder to place an adult cat in a home should you decide you no longer want the cat once it passes the cuteness of kittenhood.
Please, if you cannot give the cat the love, attention and health exams that it needs to live a long and happy life, do not get a cat!
And…if you do get a kitty….by all means ADOPT! There are many, many shelter kitties looking for purrfectly wonderful homes…LIKE YOURS!
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.40momsclub.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/CarenCat.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]About the Author
Caren Gittleman is a freelance writer who loves all things kitties. Her blog, Cat Chat, is a labor of love, with posts written from the heart. Pictured here is her cat, Cody. [/author_info][/author]