14 Reasons Why Cats are Great Pets

June is Adopt a Cat Month.

What a better reason to talk about why cats make such awesome pets and companions? I’ll admit, right off the bat—I’m a bit biased. I share my home today with two dogs and three cats (and often foster litters of orphaned kittens) and feel that although the two species are different, they both have characteristics that I find appealing.

However, when I was a child my father was in the military and we often lived in situations where we couldn’t have dogs. We always had cats, though, and throughout my childhood two cats were always there for me. Boots, a brown and black tabby cat with a white chin and white paws lived to be 19 years old; and Smokey, an all grey short-haired cat lived to be 15. I have wonderful memories of both cats.

After reading how wonderful cats are, if you’re convinced a cat may be a great pet for you, we’ve also got a shopping list for supplies you’ll need before bringing home your new companion.

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istockphoto/Linda Raymond

What Makes Cats Great Pets?

Everyone’s definition of a great pet is going to be different, so I asked several cats owners what their thoughts were. Here are their ideas, as well as mine, and you can decide what is most appealing to you.

14. Cats are good with children. As long as the children have been taught to be gentle with the cat and don’t get rough, cats can be incredibly tolerant and amazingly affectionate with children.

13. Costs less than a dog. The initial adoption of a cat is usually significantly lower than the adoption fees for dogs. Although cats do need some initial supplies (see the list below) regular maintenance and care supplies are usually lower than those for dogs, too.

12. Apartments and condos. Cats are great for apartment and condo living. They are quiet, don’t need as much space as dogs do, and don’t need to be walked.

11. Low maintenance. Cat owners who say that cats are low maintenance don’t mean that the cat can be ignored; that’s not true at all. However, other than the litter box, it is much easier to care for a cat than a dog.

10. Fewer guilt trips. Have you seen the sad face a dog makes when you leave for work every morning? Cats don’t do that. They often will greet you at the door when you come home; happy to see you, but they won’t make you feel bad when you leave.

9. Keep themselves clean. Cats are wonderful about keeping themselves clean. They will still need some grooming care, however, especially trimming toenails and regular brushing, but not to the extent that most dogs need. Plus, many cats can go a lifetime without needing to be bathed.

8. Long lifespan. Many cats can easily live into their twenties, even upper twenties, and cats living to be thirty years old is not unheard of. Many of these long-lived cats are healthy, too, other than perhaps being a bit stiff. This longevity is wonderful.

7. So darn smart. Cats may not do well on intelligence tests, but cat owners will tell you that’s just because the cats have already figured out what’s going on. Cats are very bright and often figure out how to turn on the faucet in the sink for fresh water, can open every cupboard and drawer in the house, and know how to torment the family dog.

6. They are good for you. Cuddling a cat is said to lower your blood pressure, and laughing while watching a cat play makes you feel better. Waking up with a cat cuddled up next to you is a wonderful way to start the morning. Cats are wonderful companions and elevate our mood. They’re good for us.

5. Those eyes! When your cat climbs up on your lap and looks you in the eyes, it’s hypnotic. Those big bright eyes are something else. Cats convey all of their emotions with their eyes and all we need to do is pay attention.

4. They’re playful. Watching a cat play is like watching a leopard or lion on TV except in miniature. Cats are cats no matter what the size. Your house cat may be playing with a catnip toy, but she’s still stalking, hiding, leaping, and pouncing. Plus, as you watch her play or play with her, you’re going to be laughing. How wonderful is that?

3. Cats are so darn cute. Kittens are absolutely the cutest thing on the planet. After all, how many kitten memes and videos are there online? But happy cats, playful cats, and even sleeping cats are all over social media, too. Let’s just admit it, cats are cute!

2. They love us. People who say cats are standoffish or aloof just haven’t been loved by a cat. Either that or they judge a cat’s behavior by comparing a cat to a dog. These are two completely different species, and comparing them is like comparing apples and oranges. Cats do love their people and show it in many ways; we just need to watch them to see it.

1. The greatest thing about cats? They purr. There is nothing like a cat’s purr. When your cat is on your lap or snuggled up against you in bed and that purr motor begins…there is absolutely nothing else like it in the work. You know your cat is happy and content, and while you hear and feel that purr, you are too.

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istockphoto/Barisic Zaklina

What Supplies do You Need?

If you’ve decided you need one of these wonderful creatures in your home you will need to go shopping first. You won’t need a lot but there are some necessities that you should get before bringing home your new cat.

The first and most important is, of course, cat food. Obviously, The Honest Kitchen’s cat foods are wonderful and you should have that on hand, but you should also find out what the cat is eating now and buy some of that. Then gradually over a couple of weeks, switch the cat to the food she’ll be eating long term. Food and water bowls are also needed. Again, find out what she’s used to and offer her food and water in similar bowls. You can make changes later if you wish.

The litter box, cat litter, a scooper, and a roll of small trash bags are vital. As with the food, try to use a similar type litter box and the same cat litter as your cat is used to. There will be many changes as she adapts to your home and a familiar cat box can help prevent accidents. As with the food, you can make gradual changes later.

A cat carrier is also important. There are soft-sided carriers as well as hard-sided plastic carriers such those used for traveling. Choose the one you prefer. It really doesn’t matter as long as your cat is safe and secure and has room to move around.

A cat collar with an identification tag is important. Some grooming supplies, including a comb, soft-bristled brush, and nail trimmers are also needed.

Toys are very important as cats love to play, and playing with your new cat is a great way to bond with her. Crinkly foil balls, balls with jingle bells, feather toys, and fishing pole toys are all fun. A cat tree is a good idea, too, as it provides a place for your cat to stretch and scratch. If the cat tree has a bed platform high up that will give her a place to relax and watch her new home.

These supplies are all you need to get started but they certainly aren’t all that’s available. If you browse a cat supply catalog or store online or go into the cat section at your local pet supply store, you’ll find many other cat items but you can get those later as you find out more about your new cat’s likes and dislikes.

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istockphoto/lisegagne

Meet the Author: Liz Palika

Liz Palika is a Certified Dog Trainer, Certified Animal Behavior Consultant, and the co-owner of Kindred Spirits Dog Training in Vista, CA. Liz is also an award-winning author and writer specializing in pets. She writes about cats, cat behavior and health, dogs, dog behavior and health, living with pets, and pet nutrition. Liz’s works have been recognized with many awards, but her most recent book, “Idiot’s Guides: Dog Training” (Penguin Books, 2014) recently won the Best Nonfiction book category in the San Diego Book Writing competition. Liz shares her home with two dogs; Bashir, an Australian Shepherd, and Bones, an English Shepherd. Three cats, Spock, Scottie, and Kirk, provide motivation for her articles about cats. And yes, she is a Star Trek fan. For more information go to www.kindredspiritsk9.com.

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