Happy National Cat Day – 10 Things You Should Know Before You Get a Cat


Today is National Cat Day, so congratulations to all the happy kittens and cats out there and all the happy people who own cats!!  In honor of National Cat Day I wanted to share some things I’ve learned about cats that may help other people before they run out and get a cat, or kitten, for that matter.  So, here goes:

  • Cats can live anywhere from about 5-7 years for an outdoor cat to an average of 13-17 years for an indoor cat.  I know of several indoor cats that lived to be over 20 years of age.  So consider the commitment involved with getting a kitten or young cat.
  • Compared to dogs, cats are generally less expensive to care for.   After Purrkins $100 hairball, described in Chapter 6 of Something Furry Underfoot, and one mishap with a sewing needle someone left lying around, we’ve had no medical issues with Purrkins.  Over the same time period, our dog, Little Dipper, cost us over $1,400 in vet bills for teeth problems.
  • Always take your new kitten or cat to a vet for a check-up.  Purrkins was a hit at our vet’s because he had both lice and fleas, which, thankfully, the vet treated with one shot.  After the basic check-up, note that there are differences of opinion as to whether cats need annual vaccinations.  Some vets encourage annual vaccinations, especially for outdoor cats, but many say a blood test should determine what the cat is susceptible to and what shots it needs.
  • All cats should be spayed (females) or neutered (males) because there are simply too many cats in the world in need of good homes.
  • Cats take to litter boxes with little or no training.  Purrkins was probably 12 weeks old when he showed up under our deck, yet he took to a litter box the first day he was inside our house.  To keep your kitten or cat happy, plan to empty its litter pan every day.
  • Cats have a natural instinct to kill.  Keeping a cat indoors will protect outdoor critters.  But if you have other indoor pets, you also have to keep them safe from your cat, too  Purrkins was great interacting with our rabbit and most of our ferrets, but when our ferrets got oler and were less inclined to play, I had to supervise them so Purrkins wouldn’t play with them.
  • Cats love fresh water. Purrkins seldom drinks out of the dog bowl on the floor and he ignored a special water bowl I once filled daily for him.  Instead, he follows me down to the bathroom for a fresh drink from the faucet.  If that’s not your cup of tea, you can find special watering devices for cats that keep the water fresh and bubbly.  The downside of these gadgets is that your cat may play in the water and splash it all over the floor like Purrkins did when we had one.
Purrkins getting a drink of water from the faucet.
Purrkins getting a drink of water from the faucet.
  • Long-haired cats create hairballs and will need hairball medication.  You can find anti-hairball medication in bite-size chews, laxative tubes, and included in dry cat food.  Purrkins would have nothing to do with bite-size chews or an $8 laxative tube I purchased, so he gets Iams Proacive Health:  Mature Adult Hairball Care which we mix with his preferred food, Purina Cat Chow, with a morning side dish of Little Friskies canned food.
  • Some cats are pretty communicative.  If Purrkins walks in front of me and falls over, he wants to get petted.  If he walks in front of me, meows and walks to the front door, he wants me to open the front door (with the storm door closed) so he can “hunt” by looking outside.  If he walks in front of me and guides me to his food bowl, he’s telling me I didn’t get put out the right kind of canned food and “Might you try again?”
  • Cats are independent for the most part.  Many cats merely tolerate a good snuggle every now and again. Purrkins likes a good rub-down in the morning, a brief snug when I get home from work, and a mere pat on the head when I wander to bed.  Other than that and a little play time right before I go to bed, he’s happy if I leave him alone.

Source:  PetMD and my own experience.  Read about Purrkins in Chapter 6 of Something Furry Underfoot.  Purrkins is also featured in my rhyming e-book for kids called Purrkins, the Cat in.  See comments at amylpeterson.com by clicking on “My books” or go to Amazon.com or Smashwords.com and type in Amy L Peterson.

Happy National Cat Day to Purrkins!
Happy National Cat Day to Purrkins!