Not everybody realizes what amazing pets cats are! They are fantastic snuggle partners, and like dogs, they reduce anxiety in their owners. If you’re thinking about adding a pet to your home and haven’t considered adopting a cat or a kitten, you really should. There are lots of reasons why.


They are low maintenance

Do you work too many hours to bring a dog into your home? Cats do not need — nor do they want — 24/7 companionship. They are very independent. You don’t need to spend your lunch hour traveling home to walk them -- they are fine left on their own all day.


In fact, if you want to take a weekend trip, they can even be left alone for a couple of days with food, water and a clean litter box. That also means that for more extended travel, you can have someone come in once every couple of days to tend to your cat, rather than incur the expense of boarding or a pet sitter/walker that comes to your home multiple times a day like you would for a dog.


Cat allergies may be less of a problem than you think

Do you wish you could have a cat, but are allergic to them? There are all kinds of products on the market that might work for you.


Purina has a cat food specifically designed to decrease the allergens cats produce — Purina Pro Plan LiveClear — making you less prone to allergic attacks. It works by reducing the major allergen in your cat’s hair and dander.


You might also try special shampoos (like Tropiclean and Earthbath) that are designed to minimize dander. And there are several other things you can do to minimize human allergic reactions to cats (like using HEPA filters in the vacuum cleaner and frequent brushing and grooming). There are lots of good tips in this article.


While these suggestions may not be the answer for those with severe allergies, they have been shown to work for many cat lovers.

An adorable kitten may be the perfect addition to your family

You can protect your furniture

A common reason many give for not getting a cat is that their nice furniture will get ruined. Here again, this doesn’t have to be the case.


I’m going to start by telling you what NOT to do. PLEASE don’t declaw! It can
cause emotional and physical complications for your cat. In fact, it’s even illegal to declaw a cat (except when medically necessary) in a couple of states, and it’s now been banned in the city of Austin. A cat's claws are part of their bone, and to remove the claw, the vet clips off their claw at the first toe joint. This throws off the cat's balance and also leaves them without their natural defenses. Many cats' personalities change post surgery — they turn from a fun loving cat, into a timid, skittish cat.


Here’s what you can do: use scratching pads. And, the BEST ones are not the fancy, carpeted posts, but the cheap, cardboard ones you can find at any box store or on the internet (do a search on Amazon for cat scratching pads and you’ll see a ton of them). Catnip and cat toys are other ways to keep them focussed on something other than your furniture. You can make a homemade toy by filling a paper towel roll with treats, folding over the ends, and puncturing holes in it. It can keep your kitty happy for hours.


Cats are clean

Cats seldom need baths, and are meticulous about grooming themselves (most cats don’t ever need professional grooming). Generally, indoor cats are very clean animals.


And this also goes for their potty habits. All you need to do is keep the litter box fresh. If you have one cat, you probably only need one litter box (but of course, having two doesn’t hurt). If you add a cat or kitten, you DEFINITELY need to add at least one more. Cats can be temperamental and many won’t potty in the same spot where a new cat is going. It’s easier to remove a box that’s not being used than to regret not giving another option.


Are you thinking about adopting at cat or a kitten?

So, are you thinking about adopting one kitten? Or TWO?


It’s a big decision to add a kitten to your home. You’ve thought about it and are finally ready! So you go to the rescue and there’s a whole litter of them, all snuggled up together, looking so cute. You start thinking, "what if I bring home two?" Then you decide "one is enough for now and I’ll add another one in 6 months or so." It’s not the easiest thing to add a cat to your home once one has established it as her domain. If you plan to have multiple cats, it’s easiest to adopt them together, at a young age.


They will bond and enjoy playing with one another. And you’ll have two companions who will live in perfect harmony. There's nothing like adding a cat or two to make your home complete.


And lastly, if you are a senior, and you are considering adopting a senior cat, check out the Charming Pet Rescue’s Silver Paws and Senior Hearts program. Under it, if you are 55+, you can adopt a cat or a dog that is 7+ without incurring ANY upfront costs or ANY ongoing costs for the pet’s life.

Southtown resident Joanne Gallagher is Applications Manager and Puppy Adoption Coordinator for Charming Pet Rescue.

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