Getting Your First Cat

If you’re reading this article, it is probably because you are thinking about buying a cat. Whether you are a first-time potential pet owner, or you are considering adding another pet to your home, there are many things to consider before taking this step.

Some people make the mistake of entering lightly into the commitment that buying a cat brings. In fact, if a pet owner is to be responsible, it is a very long-term commitment that lasts the entire lifespan of the cat. Here are some things that you should consider before making the decision to add a cat to your family.


Owning a cat involves financial commitment. To properly care for a cat involves much more than picking up a bag of litter and a few cans of cat food from the grocery store. There are routine vet bills, grooming (for some cats), and boarding should you go on vacation. This is in addition to the routine costs of food and cat litter.

Another thing to consider is whether you have the finances to deal with a cat that gets sick. In some cases, caring for a sick cat can cost thousands of dollars. That is not to say that someone refrain from buying a cat if they cannot afford thousands for vet care, but it is something else to keep in mind when thinking about adding a cat to your household.


While cats to generally require less attention than dogs, many do have a need to have regular interaction with their owners. Failing to properly socialize the cat when she is a kitten can result in possible emotional and behavioral problems that last throughout the cat’s life.

Plan to take the time to properly socialize your cat. This includes allowing her to spend time around your family and guests while she is still a kitten. This will help her to get used to other people and behave properly and not be frightened when new people are around.


It takes some time to properly care for a cat. Again, this commitment of time may be less than when caring for a dog, but it still needs to be a consideration. The cat must be fed and given fresh water at least two times a day. The litter box must be cleaned and changed several times a week. Additionally, the cat will need you to take time to play and interact with her each day.

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While this won’t take several hours, caring for a cat will probably add about an hour on average to your routine each day.


People who do not own pets are free to just toss an overnight bag in the car and head off for a spur of the moment vacation. Pet owners do not have this luxury. Instead, pet care must be considered and planned for in advance when making vacation plans.

Some cats are ok if left alone overnight, but some are not.It is best not to leave the cat alone, but if you must, it should not be for any longer than one night.


There are many cat owners who do not bother buying a new sofa because they know the cat is just going to shred it within a week or two. While there are ways to curb this behavior, it should be understood that there is the potential for a kitten or cat to destroy some property. If this is something that is completely unacceptable to you, and you are the type of person that would get rid of the cat for scratching your furniture, then a cat is probably not the pet for you.

That’s not the say that the behavior should be tolerated over and over again. There are humane methods of directing the cat’s instinct to scratch to the appropriate places (her scratching post). But there is the chance (and a pretty good chance) that, at some point, your cat is going to scratch somewhere she should not.

Other Pets

If there are already other pets in the home, consider how they are going to react to you buying a cat. Some dogs get along fine with cats, others do not. Sometimes the cat or cats already in your home may not take too kindly to you adding another.

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Consider your current pet situation carefully before deciding to add another cat.

Small Children

Families with small children should consider that some children are rather rough with family pets. This is often especially true with cats, because they are easy to pick up and pull on and, sadly, swing around.

This treatment is not only painful and frightening for the cat, but it can end up being harmful to the children as well. Cats that feel threatened are going to scratch and possibly even bite.

Of course, not all children will be rough with pets, but it is important to be sure and take the time to explain the proper way to handle a cat. When children are very small, it is best that they not be left alone with the pets.

Once all of these considerations have been weighed, and you have decided that buying a cat is the right thing for you and your family, it is time to decide where to buy the cat. There are several options.

Pet Stores

Many pet stores continue to sell pets despite the large amount of negative media attention they have received. This negative attention comes from the fact that many pet stores get their animals from disreputable breeders. These breeders keep animals in inhumane and often unhealthy conditions. The result is often animals with health or behavioral problems.

Even if the cat does not have any of those problems, many people have an ethical problem purchasing a cat that they know came from a breeder who treats the animals so poorly.

By buying a cat at a pet store, you may be supporting such treatment by keeping disreputable breeders in business.

Classified Ads

Many people post ads in the classified section of the newspaper or on websites to sell their kittens or cats.Some are breeders, but many are just people who, for whatever reason, can no longer keep their cat.

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This is a good option in that you will be giving a cat a home that might otherwise end up at a shelter. The problem is that you don’t know the history of the cat. Ask the seller why they are getting rid of their pet. It could be an upcoming change in their living situation that won’t allow them to keep it. Many people falsely believe that they should get rid of their cat when having a baby. There is an endless list to the possible reasons someone may be selling their cat.

Ask for all vet records so you can learn as much as possible about the health background of the cat.


For people who wish to buy a purebred cat, there are plenty of reputable breeders out there. By doing a little research, you can be sure that you are dealing with a breeder who has the best interest of the kittens in mind.

When dealing with a breeder, you should always visit the place where the cats and kittens are kept. A reputable breeder is not going to have any problem with allowing this. In fact, a breeder who truly cares for the kittens and cats is going to insist on meeting you and perhaps even doing a background check on you before selling you a kitten or cat.

By dealing with reputable breeders, you know that you are not supporting “kitty mills” and others who treat animals poorly.

Buying a cat is a big decision, but if you decide that it is right for you there will be no end to the joy you will get from your new pet.

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