Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my two cats. Kitty is around 6 years old now and I’ve had her since she was a kitten, and Stevie is almost 7 months old. I must admit though, both were taken in without giving much long term thought to the responsibilities and costs of having a pet.
The thought process for having Stevie was pretty straight forward. My friend’s cat had birthed a kitten, and I’d be considering getting a ‘friend’ for Kitty for a while. Being at work Monday to Friday and being out of the house for 12 hours a day left me concerned for her loneliness and she was becoming increasingly ‘bored’ and seemingly frustrated when I was too tired to give her attention. How did I know this? The wee. Cat’s generally wee when they want attention and Kitty was starting to do it more frequently on one too many coats.
Kitty has interacted with other cats before. When I lodged at my friends house for a few months, she got on well with the other cats she ended up residing with. In fact, her and Dillon had a whale of a time up until the early hours, with constant chasing and playing. With that in mind, I assumed that her and Stevie would get on fine.
I Was Wrong
One of the main differences between Kitty going to another cats house and another cat coming in to her house, was territory. This house is her domain and coated in her scent. To bring another random cat inside was a thoughtless idea. Especially considering her personality can be rather shy. Stevie is a boisterous male cat with no fear – something Kitty definitely is not.
They’re getting along fine now, apart from the odd hiss here and there. They don’t have fights, but more rough and tumble ‘plays’, which have calmed down more now Stevie is older and slightly less playful. Since having two cats there have been unexpected additional expenses which I didn’t tend to have with just the one.
The Real Cost of Having a Cat
Which brings me through to the point of this post. The importance of thinking of the cost of having a cat. In fact, let’s scrap that – the cost of having any pet.
I see too many people on social media thinking it’s ‘cute’ for their animal to go produce kittens, puppies and general small bundles of fluff. But what seems cute at first, is absolutely crippling animal charities and not for profit organisations.
Luckily, I can afford to feed, keep, neuter, and insure my cats. And as soon as both have been ready, they have gone straight to the vets to have the snip. Something which will set you back around £50 and will stop adding to the selfish trend of letting your animal give birth and becoming yet another animal needing a home – when there are already an abundance in animal shelters which are struggling to find their forever home.
Why this country doesn’t have licenses for animals, I will never know. Too often people are treating pets as disposable and giving them away, without even considering the repercussions. When animal shelters are full, they have no choice but to turn the animals away, and if someone is already wanting to get rid of an animal, what do you think happens? Abuse. Plain and simple.
When Animals Shelters Reach Capacity…
I’ve seen this first hand, when my friend used to foster for the local cats home. On a daily basis they would have to turn cats away. If there was no one to foster them, the people trying to get rid of them would simply ‘dispose’ of them. I’ll leave the details to your imagination…
Before having an animal, look at the life expectancy, the cost of insurance, save the money for them to have the snip. Within the first 6 months of having a cat you can expect to spend around £150 on set up costs (such as food and litter trays), spaying and toys. I beg you – make sure this money is available before you commit. There is no excuse. On a weekly basis I spend around £10 on cat food and litter in total. I am committed to doing this for the next 18-25 years. Because guys, guess what? Animals need to eat. You know this before you have one. Don’t go in to the commitment with ignorance.
Yes, animals are cute and they’re absolutely great companions, but consider the real cost of owning one. It’s not just money, it can be the guilt of having to give one up when you realise you jumped in without thinking of the long term.
Don’t Get Me Wrong Though!
Having cats is costly and a commitment I was initially worried about, but now both are settled it’s absolutely brilliant. Not only are they yes, cute, but when you live alone they are endlessly beneficial to your well being. If you’re happy, sad or just in the bath; you can rely on your little best pals to be there. No matter what room you’re in, no matter what you’re doing and when you just need a cuddle, I wouldn’t be without Stevie and Kitty and I feel lucky that I can afford to look after them and give them a good home for life.