My cats feature fairly prominently on my social media, especially my Instagram, and I get so many messages and comments every single day about how cute they are and how much you all love them.
But over the past almost 9 years, I’ve learnt a lot about owning a cat [or two] and so I thought I would share this wisdom with you all.
Hopefully those of you who have cats will nod along in agreement, and those of you who are thinking of getting a cat will go into the decision with a bit more information under your belt.
Here are 9 things to know about owning a cat.
1. You will never go to the bathroom alone again.
Ever. I’ve taken to leaving the door open, or at least slightly ajar, otherwise Belle just scratches at the handle and slides her little paws under the door. We have three bathrooms, and so I normally just use the ensuite attached to our bedroom, but it’s still kinda annoying, not gonna lie. What’s privacy?!
2. Cats crave routine.
A lot of people aren’t aware of this, but cats are creatures of habit. They really like things to stay the same, and if things change up too quickly or too often, they do suffer from stress and anxiety. Case in point: we used to have a bedside table stored in a wardrobe in our last house, and Nala had taken to sleeping on it every. single. day. Well, it came to be reaaaally annoying, so we got rid of it one day while Nala was asleep on the couch. That night, she went into the wardrobe to get back on the bedside table and, upon noticing it was gone, went into full breakdown. She was pacing back and forth and was acting like maybe it was there but it was just invisible. It was the most peculiar thing, and now we’ve learnt that Belle and Nala actually have to see things changing to be semi-okay with it. It’s still not preferred, so maybe chill on rearranging your furniture every second day. The same goes with eating times, which is an actual pain.
3. Hairballs are more than just gross.
Everyone knows hairballs are disgusting, like beyond disgusting, but they’re actually super important. Cats should be able to pass the fur they lick off themselves through their digestive tract, but most times they cannot, and this is when they start to bring up hairballs. Well formed hairballs are ideal, but if you have a long-haired cat like Belle, you might find they struggle to pass their fur safely. We recently had Belle in the vet for two days with a huge build up of fur in her stomach which she wasn’t able to bring up or pass, so we decided to shave her. Some people disagree with having cats shaved, but as Belle is getting older, she really struggles to keep up with grooming herself, and she just can’t digest the fur, so it was the best thing we could possibly do for her. Keep an eye on your cat and monitor how they shed and pass their fur. High fibre diets are great for super fluffy cats.
4. On food…
Belle and Nala eat 90% grain free. Biologically, cats are carnivores. In the wild, they survive entirely off of raw and fresh meat. I’m not to the level of a raw diet with my cats, as I’m a bit concerned about bacteria and worms, but I do actively avoid feeding them food that contains grains like wheat, rice and corn. I also feed them 75% wet food, as dry food diets have been proven to cause kidney failure in cats. I’m a major fan of Wellness Grain Free Dry Food and Wellness Wet Food, Weruva Cats In The Kitchen Wet Food, Fussy Cat Grain Free Dry Food, Applaws Grain Free Dry Food, Canidae Wet Food and Science Diet Digestive Prescription Wet Food [for Belle]. You’ll notice that I feed my cats a variety of food. I always make sure they’re getting a variety to ensure all of their vitamin and mineral needs are met, and I do feed them treats every second day or so, just to keep things fun.
5. Cats don’t meow to communicate with each other.
Those 5am yowls are just for you, babe. No, but really, cats only meow to communicate with their humans, which is kind of cute. Beyond that, they’ve also got specific meows to communicate exactly what they want, and they meow differently for each human. Belle has a specific meow that she does around 4:30pm each day, and it’s for food. She also yowls if we she’s not sure we’re home. Nala cries like a baby every morning at around 7am for biscuits, and she also chirps if you scratch her back.
6. Water is major.
Cats have a super low thirst drive, meaning they would happily go three days without drinking water. Belle is funny with water, where Nala drinks it like a fish. Belle’s lack of water appetite means I need to get crafty to ensure she’s hydrated. If you don’t stay up to date with hydrating your cat, it puts serious strain on their kidneys, which is another reason that a dry food only diet isn’t great. I’m a fan of putting a tablespoon of tuna juice into half a cup of water and then placing that into a small bowl for her to lap up, and I also add one tablespoon or so of water to her wet food every day. Keeping a full and clean bowl of water out at all times is also essential.
7. Cattitude is a real thing.
Laying across your open laptop, stealing your pens, sitting on your head, and chewing your paper. Cats are notorious assholes. It’s just a thing you have to get used to. Belle is definitely the biggest bitch in our house, but Nala has been known to chew cords, paper, books, and bed frames. I usually find distracting them from destructive/negative behaviour with toys works a treat. Clapping is also fab.
8. You should be practicing self-care on your cat.
It’s so important to brush their coat, clean their eyes and ears, brush their teeth and monitor their trips to the litter box. It’s the easiest way to keep track of their health, check for ticks, and keep them healthy. I also provide lots of hiding places for Belle and Nala should they feel scared of visitors, storms or the postman, and I pat them until I hear a rolling purr multiple times a day. Keeping them happy will ensure they are living their best possible life.
9. Boxes are everything.
Seriously – don’t waste your money on expensive, flimsy toys. Cats love boxes. They play in them, sleep in them and scratch in them. Belle and Nala are the happiest cats after I get a delivery, because I usually pop the box [staples and tape removed] on the kitchen floor so they can play with it for a day or so. It’ll make a hell of a mess, but at least it will stop them from sleeping on your laptop and putting their paws in your mashed potato.
I hope you guys learnt a thing or two about owning a cat! Tell me about your pets in the comments below.
Oh and one more thing. Please keep your cats inside. The average lifespan of an outdoor cat is 3 years, compared to 15 years for an indoor cat. The statistics speak for themselves, but having your cat run over, stolen, harmed, or bitten by a snake, spider or paralysis tick is so not worth it. I’ve personally seen and heard way too many horror stories of cats being mauled by dogs, run over, kicked by drunk idiots in the street and EATEN by carpet pythons. Please keep your babies inside where they are safe.