Adopting a cat is not all chocolate box kittens, fluffiness and purrs. It takes time to develop a relationship with your new family member.
Your cat will understandably be disturbed by the move. However lovely your home may be, it will be unfamiliar territory and your cat will take time to adjust. It may take days – or even weeks – for your cat to emerge from behind the sofa.
If you’re very houseproud, think long and hard before adopting a cat. Your furniture and carpets may get scratched, so provide a scratching post from day one as a more appropriate alternative. You can’t guarantee that your cat will use it, though!
Provide a cat bed but don’t be offended if it’s rejected. Your white settee may be a lot more comfortable – it might be time to invest in a washable throw. Curtains are sure to suffer as sitting on the windowsill watching the world go by is a favourite occupation of many cats, and fur and dirt will be transferred to the curtains as they squeeze through the gaps.
Your cat is a trained killer and may or may not bring you ‘presents’, such as dead (or live!) rodents, birds, frogs, etc. You cannot stop this, but you can fit a safety collar with a bell to give the wildlife a chance. If your cat is bringing them inside, consider restricting access – eg, just allow cat flap access to the porch, where he or she can be frisked and searched before allowing into the main house. Which brings us on to…
Your cat will almost definitely wee, poo or vomit in an unfortunate place at some during its lifetime. We’ve heard of pets urinating in sock drawers, handbags, tissue boxes, Lego… and if anything unfortunate happens on a rug, it’s almost certain to happen on the tassels, so that it’s even harder to clean up!
Cats don’t do this deliberately. Take a look at things from their point of view. They will invariably choose the most appropriate place to go to the toilet in the absence of a suitable tray. If a tray is provided but it’s not big enough, clean enough, private enough or doesn’t have enough litter in it, your cat may reject it. If they’re unwell, with diarrhoea for instance, they won’t have time to look for a toilet, so provide lots of newspaper until the vet’s treatment kicks in.
Vomiting is a different matter; when you gotta puke, you gotta puke, and no cat is going to stop to think about the clean-up process!
Biting and scratching
Even the most docile of cats is still, in its heart and mind, a wild animal. All cats have their limits and will scratch, bite and hiss when frightened or threatened. Some will lash out simply when they’ve had enough of being stroked. Treat them with respect and they will invariable return that respect to you. Give it time to settle in and become less frightened.
A happy family
Those are some of the disadvantages of owning a cat.
But any cat lover will tell you that these little niggles are more than outweighed by the pleasures of sitting with a warm cat on your knee, listening to contented purring.
That even a dismembered mouse becomes insignificant when its killer chirrups with delight and looks to you for approval. That you’ll burst with pride when your previously shy cat blinks slowly at you for the first time (blink back, it’s only polite). That a perfectly sensible conversation can be held between human and cat, both understanding the other’s every utterance. That your cat is part of your family, and deserves to be treated as such. Families aren’t perfect, but they stand by each other. So stand by your cat. (*cue music*).
Now it’s over to you. Is your cat less than perfect but totally purr-fect? Maybe he wees in your slippers but you love his rewarding ankle rubs? Perhaps he’s no looker, but is beautiful to you... tell us why your cat’s imperfections don’t matter to you and submit, with a pic, to email@example.com for possible inclusion on our blog!