Pros and Cons of Having a Cat: Things You Should Know

Pros and Cons of Having a Cat - cute grey kitten asleep laying on its back

Becoming a pet owner is an exciting journey, especially when that new furry friend nuzzles against you with affection.

Cats, in particular, stand out as one of the most popular pets worldwide, cherished for their companionship and mesmerizing antics. However, like any long-term commitment, bringing a cat into your home comes with its set of responsibilities and challenges.

To help you navigate this decision, let’s explore the pros and cons of having a cat.

Pros Of Having A Cat

Easy to Care For

Cats are renowned for their low maintenance compared to other pets. Their independent nature means they don’t require constant attention, making them ideal pets for individuals or families leading a busy life.

They are also excellent self-groomers, so you don’t have to spend a lot of time and money on grooming – unless you happen to have a long haired breed like a Persian that might need more effort to keep their coat clean and free of mats.

Affectionate Companionship

Despite their reputation for being aloof, cats can be incredibly loving and affectionate. Many cat owners will attest to the joy of coming home to a warm welcome from their feline friend after a long day. Cats also make great lap buddies and are always up for a snuggle session on the couch.

Mental and Physical Health Benefits

Spending quality time with a cat can have positive effects on your mental health, lowering stress levels. Their affectionate demeanor provides a sense of comfort during difficult times, enhancing your overall well-being.

Studies have shown that owning a cat can actually have physical health benefits. The calming effect of their purring has been linked to lowering blood pressure, while interacting with cats can boost our immune systems. Plus, chasing after your cat during playtime can provide a great workout!

Low Cost

Compared to other pets, cats are relatively low cost. They don’t require expensive grooming or frequent vet visits, and their food and litter expenses are minimal as compared to dogs. Plus, many shelters offer adoption fees at a reasonable price, making it easier for those on a budget to bring home a cat.

Pros and Cons of Having a Cat - two kittens being held in the arms of a woman wearing a white sweater

Fun and Entertaining

Cats are natural entertainers. From chasing cat toys to exploring nooks and crannies, their playful activities bring joy and laughter into a home. You can also find endless entertainment in their mischievous behavior, whether it’s knocking things over or getting into tight spaces.

Little Need for Space

Cats adapt well to indoor living, making them perfect for apartment dwellers or homes with small space. They find joy in cozy corners and sunny window sills, requiring much less space than big dog breeds.

Pest Control

Their natural hunters instinct is beneficial for keeping the house free from unwanted pests. Cats are excellent at catching rodents, insects, and other small creatures that may find their way indoors. This can save you money on pest control services and prevent damage to your home.

Companion for Children

Growing up with a cat can teach children responsibility and foster empathy. Cats often become wonderful companions for kids, offering cuddles and friendship. They can also provide a sense of security and comfort during scary or lonely times.

Self-sufficient

Cats manage their grooming and keep themselves busy, offering easier access to pet ownership without the need for constant supervision. They also don’t require walks (although some cats enjoy them!), which can be beneficial for those with busy schedules or limited mobility.

Cons Of Having A Cat

Shedding

Cats are notorious for shedding, and if you’re not a fan of pet hair on your furniture and clothes, this could be a major downside. Regular grooming can help control the amount of fur, but it’s something to consider before bringing a cat home. Hairless or low-shedding breeds might be an option of you love cats but not cat hair.

Pros and Cons of Having a Cat - Himalayan cat riding on the shoulder of a man wearing an orange shirt

Litter Box Duties

One of the less glamorous aspects of cat ownership is cleaning out and maintaining litter boxes. While cats are generally clean animals, litter box maintenance is a must for their hygiene and your home’s smell.

Handling litter boxes is a daily care commitment. Lugging heavy containers of litter about , scooping out waste and replacing litter adds to the daily tasks of pet ownership. This task may not be appealing to everyone, so it’s essential to consider before adopting a cat.

Potential Allergies

Cats can be a significant source of allergens. People with cat allergies may suffer from sneezing, itching, and even asthma attacks. Before bringing a cat into your family, it’s wise to make sure that no household members have allergies.

If allergies develop after a cat enters the household, there are ways to manage them, such as regular grooming and keeping the cat out of certain rooms and medication for the allergy sufferers.

Veterinary Bills

While cats generally have fewer health issues than some other pets, they still require regular veterinary care to keep them healthy. Unexpected medical issues can arise, and the costs associated with treatments can be substantial. Investing in pet insurance or setting aside a budget for health care can prevent financial distress while ensuring your cat receives the best possible care.

Scratching Furniture

Cats have a natural instinct to scratch, which can lead to damage on your furniture and belongings if they don’t have an appropriate outlet for their behavior. Providing your cat with scratch posts and training them early on can help prevent this issue, but it is not a fool-proof strategy – I can personally attest to that!

Space

While cats don’t require much space, they do need an area to call their own. This could mean having a designated litter box area or a comfortable bed for them to sleep in. If you have a smaller living space, this can be a challenge and may require some creativity to make sure your cat is happy and comfortable.

Independence

While their independence is a pro for busy owners, it might not be suitable for those seeking a constant companion. Cats often prefer alone time and may not be as affectionate as dogs.

Training Difficulties

Cats are known for their stubbornness, making training more challenging than other pets. It’s not impossible, just more difficult in general. If you’re looking for an obedient pet, a cat might not be the right choice for you.

Independent Yet Demanding

While their independent streak is often a plus, cats live on their own terms, which can include early morning wake-up calls or demands for attention at their convenience, not yours.

Potential for Damage to Wildlife

Cats are hunters by nature, and outdoor cats invariably hunt and kill large numbers of small animals. Indoor cats not only present less of a threat to local birds and small mammals, they are also protected from being injured or even killed by larger predators.

Time and Emotional Investment

Despite their solitary nature and generally being less needy than dogs, cats do require time, affection, and engagement from their owners. This involves playtime, grooming for long-haired cats, and simply spending time together to strengthen your bond.

Pros and Cons of Having a Cat - grey and white cat napping beside a teenager on a grey blanket

The Pros and Cons of Having a Cat: Navigating the Decision

While cats make wonderful companions for many people, it’s important to consider personal preferences before making a decision. Some individuals may prefer a more energetic and playful cat like the Bengal, while others enjoy the calm nature of breeds like the Persian. And some people just aren’t cat people at all.

Choosing to welcome a new pet cat into your life is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s a long-term commitment that requires thoughtful consideration of both the pros and cons of having a cat.

Cats indeed make great companions, offering laughter, love, and a unique companionship that can enrich your life profoundly. As long as you’re prepared for the responsibilities and potential challenges, a cat can be an excellent addition to your family.

So if you’ve decided that a feline friend is right for you, start researching breeds and adoption options and get ready for a lifetime of love and joy with your new furry companion.

Sources

Author

  • Dr. Wendy Wilkins DVM PhD.

    Dr. Wendy Wilkins is an experienced veterinarian and epidemiologist with over 20 years of expertise. She holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree and a Doctorate in Epidemiology from the University of Saskatchewan. Throughout her career, Dr. Wilkins has excelled in clinical practice, academia, research, and regulatory veterinary medicine. She is a respected voice in knowledge dissemination, delivering factual information in a readable and understandable manner through articles, books, and public engagements.