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dreaming about getting a cat, is it really as difficult as it's made out to be?

(74 Posts)
openallthetime Wed 30-Dec-20 22:07:06

Ok, I've never had a cat. I'm not a neglectful type, so not one of those pets for xmas kind of people. I love animals. I'm just dreaming at the moment. so not very likely to go ahead any time soon if ever. But I wonder would I get the joy out of it that others seem to get? or would I find it annoying and a huge responsibility? Would the joy offset the responsibility?

OP’s posts: |
sleepyhead Wed 30-Dec-20 22:13:52

We had ours for 15 years and miss her horribly, but have hesitated getting another:

- I found litter trays pretty horrible and also messy. It didnt seem to matter what type of litter we got, it ended up scattered and tracked all over the floor.

- vets bills can be eye watering and insurance costs start off very reasonable but elderly cats get expensive.

- they're much more independent than dogs, but obviously it does mean you have to plan for them. Do you have someone local who would catsit or have them to stay if you were going away?

Im sure we'll get another cat eventually as the joys massively outweigh the above, but that's what makes me pause at the moment.

minipie Wed 30-Dec-20 22:14:30

I can only speak for my cat but she’s amazingly low maintenance. But also friendly.

We rescued her as an adult and so avoided the hard work kitten phase and knew her personality. She is fabulous. Even my previously cat sceptic DH adores her.

DrDreReturns Wed 30-Dec-20 22:16:32

My cat is easy to look after. Goes to the toilet outside so no litter tray. Only needs feeding twice a day. He's super affectionate too!

minipie Wed 30-Dec-20 22:18:26

Re the PP:

We don’t have a litter tray, she goes outside and uses the flowerbed.

We have an automatic feeder and water fountain which covers 1-2 nights away. Longer stays we swap sitting duties with neighbours (also cat owners) or pay next door’s teenager. Admittedly we’ve only had her since Jan 2020 so there haven’t been many trips away!

It’s true she will get harder work as she gets older though - health issues and vets bills and it will be sad when things start to be harder for her physically. That’s a way off hopefully though.

Chillypenguin Wed 30-Dec-20 22:21:39

They’re pretty low maintenance with some things to think about:

The litter tray is pretty gross (some cats go outside but ours refuses).
Scratching furniture
Hair balls / vomit
They sometimes get diarrhoea and go outside the litter tray.....
Paying for a sitter when you go on holiday
Cost of food / insurance / jabs


There super cute
Very affectionate
You don’t have to rush home from a night out as they’re pretty self sufficient.

I love mine to bits, but wouldn’t rush into getting more. I don’t regret getting them though, it’s a great experience.

MrsWooster Wed 30-Dec-20 22:23:23

They are a great joy and, assuming you have a catflap, very, very low maintenance. Ours have one meal a day from a pouch and an endless supply of biscuits which is why they’re fat and give great cuddles and lap-sitting.

ApplestheHare Wed 30-Dec-20 22:24:18

We got an adult cat from the RSPCA and she's been the easiest pet I've ever had (compared with fish, hamsters, horses, dogs, rabbits, etc.). I wasn't into cats, DH and DD were, but she's totally won me over. Glad we avoided the kitten stage. She arrived toilet trained. All we do is feed her twice per day, make sure there is somewhere cosy for her in every room and give cuddles on demand!

alltheadrenalin Wed 30-Dec-20 22:24:49

I had a dog before a cat, so seems an absolute breeze. All I have to do is clean litter tray and put food down.

MrsTweedy73 Wed 30-Dec-20 22:25:14

Please don't underestimate the costs! Food, litter, regular flea and worm medication, etc. And, of course, veterinary care - particularly in their later years. I had two oldies who lived until 21 and 22, who cost me a fortune.

OydNeverDeclinesGin Wed 30-Dec-20 22:26:09

I'd recommend talking to a local rescue. An older cat would be good for you. Kittens are awesome but lots of work, when they're not sleeping that is!
Cats are independent but demanding. Each cat is demanding in their own way. Some want to settle on your lap of an evening and stay there all night being stroked, some prefer not to.
Our cat doesn't use the litter tray, ever. Prefers to go outside and if he gets caught short and been known to use a pot plant (grim, cat diahhorea and soil everywhere) or the bath! But an inside cat will require litter tray cleaning/emptying daily.
Find a local rescue and talk to the about what you want and expect. They will either guide you to not having a cat or guide you to one suitable if ones avaliable.
Good luck!

Toddlerteaplease Wed 30-Dec-20 22:27:12

Literally takes me five minutes a day to tend to my overlords. It's so worth.

BaronessVonCake Wed 30-Dec-20 22:27:18

I adopted my cat when he was 5 from the local RSPCA - he is v low maintenance!

He was already trained to use a litter tray but once he's been with us a while we put a cat flap in so he now toilets outside.

We have pet insurance but the only treatment he's ever needed is some teeth taking out (£260) plus you need to factor in annual booster, monthly flea treatment and regular worming tablets.

I'd really recommend adopting an adult cat that can go outside - none of the kitten shenanigans (poo, wee, biting, scratching etc) to deal with!

sproutsnbacon Wed 30-Dec-20 22:28:07

Cats are the easiest animals to look after and I’ve got a few different animals. Feed, empty the litter tray (I use wood litter and just Chuck the lot daily), water, options on places to sleep, vet once a year for jabs.
I give cat to my brother when I go away on holiday and collect it on the way home. He gives me his when he goes on holiday. The cats are used to this routine now. Make sure the cat is at night.
The most taxing part of cat ownership is looking for the cat on that one evening a year when she won’t come in, then laying awake most of the night worrying what could be happening to her. Thankfully she only stays out once or twice in the summer.
Just stick to one or two cats though.

mistermagpie Wed 30-Dec-20 22:28:09

I've got two bengals (so not the most 'low maintenance' of breeds!) and I don't find them hard work at all. I've also got three children aged 5 and under and a job, so it's not as if I have lots of free time either. Mine are indoor cats but also have a large purpose built run on the back of my house which they can access via the bathroom window.

The litter tray doesn't bother me really, we use breeders select litter and I've found that doesn't track. One of my cats eats dry food and the other wet and whilst the dry is cheaper, overall food isn't that expensive.

We use a cat sitter if we go away or ask friends and family to feed the cats, but we rarely go away for more than a few days.

Cats are brilliant pets, I wouldn't be without them. They are so much reward for really very little work, although you get back what you put in, the same as any pet.

Toddlerteaplease Wed 30-Dec-20 22:29:44

The astronomical insurance premiums for my two. Typing this will cheddar cuddled up on my chest. Patting my face.

lookdeepintotheparka Wed 30-Dec-20 22:30:17

I find the joy does offset the responsibility with our cat! I did worry a lot when we first got her (as a kitten adopted through Cats Protection) but my fears were quickly allayed and we all adore her!

Agree that they can be expensive to run with vet bills and insurance. We found it was worth getting a monthly veterinary plan which covers injections/check ups etc.

Ours was a biter when we first got her and can still be quite feisty but has calmed down hugely now and very comfortable around the kids. Worth thinking about if you have children as you never know what you'll inherit!

NewLockdownNewMe Wed 30-Dec-20 22:31:47

Cats are brilliant - and to my mind lower maintenance than anything which has to be caged. Yes there are responsibilities, but they’re not excessive.

TicTac80 Wed 30-Dec-20 22:33:19

We got our first kitten this year in October! :D The kids (now 7 and 14) had been asking for one for the past two years: so I made them research it and I spent that time reading up on how best to look after them, learning about the costs etc (I've only ever had reptiles as pets!).

We put our name down for the local rescue places but no replies/responses from them...then a friend's cat had kittens. I can't tell you whether she's easier/harder to look after than other cats/kittens, but we adore her. She's settled in beautifully, and is so much fun.

I work FT, and my kids are school age, so we do lots of playing etc with her whilst we're at home and she has the run of the house whilst we're out. She's fed 3x a day (first thing, and then at supper time, but I leave dry food out for her to graze on) and uses her litter tray with no problem (we scoop it 3x a day). She sleeps on my bed (despite having a lovely cat bed!) and wakes me up in the morning with lots of purring/chirping etc, it's so sweet smile

She's nearly 6m old, so was spayed and micro-chipped last month. I pay out a monthly thing with the vet to cover flea treatment and worming treatment, and I pay out for vet insurance. Food costs aren't too bad, but I've gone for Royal Canin, Lily's Kitchen and another one I can't remember the name of! I'm keeping her in for the moment and only slowly introducing her to the outside (mainly because I'm worried she might bolt and go AWOL). I've not yet had a catflap put in: maybe in spring time when it's a bit warmer and the days are a bit longer.

So yes, there's responsibility, but she's easy to look after, seems to have an on/off switch (goes crazy and zips around like a mad thing, does a massive long playing spree, and then zonks out!) and is really settled/happy.

Aquamarine1029 Wed 30-Dec-20 22:39:07

I've had cats my entire life, currently have 5, and find it odd anyone would think they are difficult, but then again all of my cats have been lovely.

The litter tray isn't a big deal to me at all. The key is using clumping litter and clean it multiple times throughout the day. If you keep a small rug in front of it, it will knock the litter off their paws and it won't get dragged all over the house.

Vet bills are always an issue, but that's true for any pet. Get insurance.

I have also always had a dog, aside from this past year because our lovely girl passed away. For as much as we love dogs, we have decided not to get another for now, possibly forever, because they are much more dependant and challenging to deal with. Dogs are wonderful, but can make life difficult in terms of being away from the house.

I highly recommend you get a cat, and definitely a short hair.

openallthetime Wed 30-Dec-20 23:38:54

Ah you all have lovely stories, thank you for the input!
A few questions

1) very rough cost of maintenance (food, vet bills etc) on a monthly basis averaged?

2) time per day doing cat stuff (feed, water, change litter, sort cat stuff) on an average day

OP’s posts: |
PuppyMonkey Thu 31-Dec-20 09:02:55

Baffled by the notion that having a cat is somehow difficult.

You could analyse the monthly costs and the time involved until the cows come home. Same with kids isn’t it? grin

Or just get a cat and have your kids enhanced by their amazingness.

PuppyMonkey Thu 31-Dec-20 09:03:43

* life enhanced. Not kids enhanced. But actually...

TicTac80 Thu 31-Dec-20 09:11:08 costs can really vary! Example, my kitten will have about 2 (sometimes 3 pouches a day), she'll also have some dry food (Royal Canin is about £25 for 2kg) . Hills Science Plan is about £9 for 12 pouches. Royal Canin is about £12. She LOVES the Seriously Good Bistro range at Pets at Home (the tuna one) and that's 99p a tin. She also likes the IAMS kitten food (cheaper, about £5 for 12 pouches). She likes the gravy/broth based wet food. You can look around and get deals on stuff. It's often dependent on what your cat will deign to eat though!!!

Cat litter costs me about £16 a month. I pay £12.49 a month for the vet plan (covers vaccinations/boosters, flea and worm treatments, includes a free microchipping thing, money off overall vet bills and so on). Insurance is about £20 a month (this is fully comp/the highest insurance level).

Initial costs included: cat bed, cat litter tray, cat litter, food, cat toys, feeding bowls, scratching posts, a feliway plug in. Spaying cost £70, and I had her microchipped (free) and blood tests done at same time (another £50 - not needed but I wanted to have baseline results of things to ensure she was healthy...what can I say, I'm an HCP and thought it would be useful!).

Times per day of doing stuff: feeding and scooping cat litter - less than 5 mins each time. Playing....a lot longer! She's so much fun!!!

Grobagsforever Thu 31-Dec-20 09:16:54

My cat takes 5 mins twice a day to feed. That's all I do for him, he toilets outside, I refuse to have a litter tray.

He's incredibly rewarding, loving and affectionate. He sleeps with the kids when they are sick.

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