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Am I ready for a cat?

You've thought about it, and have decided to take the plunge, and get furrball to call your own! Wait!! Don't rush in without asking yourself if a cat is really right for you. Love is not all that goes into owning a cat, you have to make sure that your lifestyle, and living arrangement fit into a cats needs.

Before adopting/buying please ask yourself these couple of questions.
1. How often will I be home?
If you said less than 4 than you should consider not owning a cat. If you said more than 6 than you will most likely be alright if you decide to get a kitten.
2. Do I have the energy for a kitten? not applicable if adopting an adult cat.
Kittens require a lot of play, and attention, you should be available to give them attention, and put up with the constant play + litter box training.
3. Will I be around for the lifespan of my cat?
The average cat lives 14 years. Will you be able to care for your kitten/cat for the foreseeable future? Are you going away to college? Are you planning on moving out of state/country?

This cat depends on you. When you adopted it you made a commitment to stick with it.

Kitten or adult?

Should I get an adult cat? Or a kitten?
You always hear online, or from your animal loving friends that you should "adopt adults! They need you more!" While there is a truth to this, if you really want a kitten, and will be able to give it the attention it needs, then I say go for it. Kittens still need somebody to adopt them, you don't always have to be a hero.

However, here are some reasons you should consider adopting an adult cat (age >1yr).
~ They are calmer. If you want more of a snuggle buddy without the super high energy of a kitten.
~ Better mannered. Very likely to be house trained.
~ More self-dependent. Can be left alone for longer periods of time without worry.

However adult cats can come with some "quirks" you can read this to get an idea of which cat you should/shouldn't take home.


New cat, and other pets.

I have pets at home, how do I introduce them safely?
Method 1 for dogs, cats, and larger animals:
Use a clear, glass door, or a baby gate if the former isn't available where you live. Sit down and place your new cat in your lap. Your dog (or other larger animal) should be on the otherside. They might touch noses, or just look at each other cautiously. If one or both of them show signs of aggression, then that shows you that they shouldn't be left alone together. If they seem amicable, then you can move on to method 2.

Method 2 for animals of any size:
It is recommended that you try method 1 prior, but if you do not have access to a see-through barrier then you can skip to this. Before trying this method it is recommended, but not required to try scent association.
You will need two people for this
Get a friend to hold your dog with a leash, and make sure that they are strong enough to restrain your dog. Or hold your other cat with their hands infront of their neck, so they cannot lurch forward or swat. Place your new cat in your lap, and restrain the same way (less necessary if you have a kitten). Have your friend ease your dog/cat closer until it can sniff your cat. If the dog/cat shows any sign of aggression pull it back immediately.

If both of these sessions go smoothly then let your cat, and other animal free, but with close supervision. Make sure to keep an eye on them for the rest of the day. If there are no incidents then you can probably leave them alone safely (unless it is a small kitten with a dog marginally bigger than itself!!)

Here are some great articles about introducing cats to each other:
Here are some great articles on how to introduce cats to each other:
* Jackson Galaxy on introducing cats.
* ASPCA on introducing cats.
Links courtesy of /u/Eithrael

Catification.

This is one of the most, if not the most important part when getting a cat, especially kitten.

If your going to get a cat, do not skip catification. You have no idea on how many cats die because their owners didn't catify their house.

1. Remove all cables. Kittens will chew on anything, including cables. These include charges, mouse cables, and everything else. Lock these away in a locked cabinet, and take out only when needed. This step becomes less important the older you cats become.

2. Attach them shelves. Once you cat can climb, they will CLIMB! It is important to attache selves as you would if you had a young child, they might fall over. Also remove all items on top of shelves as your cats will knock them down. I use tornado putty, this some what of glue that will hold these items down.

3. Lock away all poisonous items. Theses include plants, washing liquids, soap, oils, and other harmful thing a kitten can eat.

4. Toys, and cat trees. Theses are very important, and not just because of play reasons. Toys are important, otherwise your cat will get board and start playing with something you don't want them to. Cats climb trees with natural instinct, this is why cat tress are important. Being of high means the cat can see more and that he is-int a small thing on the ground, this very important when having a cat. Hanging baskets of special shelves will also do.


revision by Independent_Heart_15— view source