I'm not biased at all* when I say that cats are delightful creatures.
*I am totally and completely biased.
Cats can really enhance your life and bring you a lot of joy. As I discussed in a previous blog post about if cats are easy pets, cats can have their own set of challenges so they're not always a great choice for everyone. How can you decide if a cat is right for you?
I've got good news: It's a lot simpler than you think!
It Comes Down To One Question
Ask yourself the following question: Can I meet all of the needs of the cat?
That's it. That's the only thing you need to ask yourself. If the answer is yes, go for it! If the answer is no, reconsider.
That said, that's a pretty loaded question and it's a lot more complex than it would seem. There is sadly still a lot of misinformation about cats out there and people sometimes underestimate their needs. Most people get a lot of their needs correct: Food, water, litter box, safety. Those are all very important!
People still miss out or are misinformed about other needs: Cats need vertical space to climb and play on. Cats need play time during the day. (Most) cats need (and want!) social interaction with us, even if it's on our terms. Cats need their claws. Cats need someone to check in with them and can't just be left alone for the weekend. The list could go on for a while.
All of these are important and all of them must be addressed in order for the cat to be happy and to prevent behavior problems. Cats absolutely can have all their needs met (and they can have them met indoors!) with some planning and by spending time with them, but you need to know what you're doing.
My biggest piece of advice? Research cat care before you adopt one. If you don't think you can meet their needs, that's okay! Consider volunteering at a shelter or helping cats in another way.
If you're unsure? Fostering is a great way to see. It's a shorter commitment and gives you a chance to make sure the cat's needs are met. If it's too much, that's totally okay! The cat will find a forever home and you can know you helped save a life.
If you think you can handle it (cats aren't easy, but they're not hard!) but want a little extra support, consider a Welcome Home package or attend one of my workshops. The fact that you're wanting to help make your cat as happy as you can signals to me that you're going to be a great cat parent! There are a lot of resources out there to help you and people like me who are here to help if you need us.
About the author: Joey Lusvardi CCBC is a Certified Cat Behavior Consultant and cat trainer based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. He runs a behavior consultation service, Class Act Cats, where he helps cat parents address a variety of unwanted behaviors. He is available for consultation in the Twin Cities or virtually wherever you are located.