Considerations prior to buying a cat or kitten

Taking on a cat as a pet is a big commitment and should not be taken lightly. A cat will need attention, routine veterinary treatment, grooming and daily care for 10-15 years.
Too many cats end up in rescue homes waiting to be re-homed due to an owner deciding after buying the cat that they cannot give it the care it needs or cope with the financial commitment of owning a cat, the novelty of cat ownership wearing off, changes in circumstances or some other reason. Just as anyone would give careful consideration to their circumstances, lifestyle, commitment, time etc before starting a family, buying a cat should be considered in the same way.

The type of cat suitable for a particular adult or family will vary. Different breeds have different personality and traits and long haired varieties will generally need more care.


Male or female cat?

On average, neutered males are more calm and friendly; but individuals vary so much the 'average' doesn't count for much. Any pet should be spayed or neutered, especially males because you don't want them spraying.
Only girls can be calico or tortoiseshell, so if that's important your choices are a little more limited; other than that, picking the cat you like is more important than worry whether it's a male or female.


Introduce a cat to other pets

Some cats are more social than other cats. For example, an 8-year-old cat who has never been around other animals might never learn to share her territory (and her people) with other pets in the household. But an 8-week-old kitten separated from her mom and littermates for the first time might be glad to have a cat or dog companion.

All of this means that your current pet and your new cat need to be introduced very slowly so they can get used to each other before a face-to-face meeting. Slow introductions help prevent fearful or aggressive behavior from developing.


Cost of keeping a cat

Below is an approximate guide to the costs of owning and keeping a cat.

  • Equipment: When buying a cat or kitten it will be necessary to purchase equipment such as cat bed, toys, litter tray, collar, etc and this can cost up to €250.
  • Feed: The cost of food will vary according to whether a complete dry cat food or tinned meat and biscuits is fed but cat food will cost approximately €25 per month.
  • Cat Litter: The amount of cat litter needed will vary depending on how much of the time the cat spends indoors but will cost approximately €10 a month.
  • Worming: Cats require routine worming treatments and this can cost €15 every 3 months.
  • Vets Fees And Insurance: A young kitten needs to be vaccinated against cat flu, entiritis and feline leukaemia and these vaccinations can cost around €60 - €80 initially and then the cat will require annual boosters at a cost of €50 - €60.
  • Insurance to cover vets fees in the event of illness and injury suffered by the cat can cost €8 - €15 per month.
  • Neutering: Spaying or neutering a cat can cost €80 - €120.


Taking your kitten home

On arrival home the new cat or kitten should be taken to a suitable place, such as litter box placed by the door to the garden, to relieve itself and should be praised when it does as this is the first step to toilet training.

The cat or kitten should then be allowed to quietly investigate the home and members of the family. The temptation to fuss and "over crowd" the cat or kitten should be avoided, instead let it investigate and introduce itself at its own pace so that it can build up its confidence in its new environment. Remember this is a stressful time for a new kitten or cat - they have been taken away from familiar surroundings and moved to a new house with a new family and patience is needed.

If the cat is wary of approaching other members of the family a toy or treat should prompt them to investigate each member individually.

The cat or kitten should be introduced to other pets cautiously as older pets may resent the new addition or may harm the new cat, particularly a kitten with rough play unintentionally. It is best to supervise socialising with other pets for at least the first week.