6 Things You Should Know Before Adopting Cat(s) For The First Time

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Source: Shaz’s Personal Photo Collection

1. Raising cats will be different from raising dogs

Ever noticed a dog will do what its owner asks it to, while cats are indifferent? Apparently, there’s a reason behind this!

What you need to understand is that unlike cats,  dogs are fully domesticated animals. This means that dogs have been selectively bred to ensure that only the most friendliest, obedient breeds pass on to the next generation. Cats on the other hand, are only half-domesticated, according to a study at The Genome Institute, Washington University.

Instead of being bred for their friendly traits, cats voluntarily stay with humans only for the rewards the study adds.

Khai, an owner of two special breed cats, says that if you want to train a cat, do it while it’s still a kitten.

“Cat’s aren’t easy to train, so if you want them to be comfortable around people, you have to be close to them while they’re still a kitten. You have to make them comfortable with touching you so they don’t shy away once they’re adults.”

However, Khai also says it’s still no guarantee the method will work, so don’t expect the same results compared to when you train  a dog.

2. Find out if you and your family has an allergy towards cats

Shaz has many cats in her house in Penang. However, her brother Mohamed, who stays in Kuala Lumpur, is allergic to cats. It gets to a point where Mohamed feels nauseous and having flu-like symptoms whenever he’s around them.

Mohamed tries to alleviate  these symptoms by taking antihistamines whenever he goes back to his hometown. However, it can only control the symptoms to a certain extent. He still experiences his allergies mildly, which makes him  think twice before going back to Penang.

In case you’re wondering, you can request for an allergic test at a diagnostic lab near you, such as BP Lab and Pathlab to find out if you’re allergic to cats, and other things as well.

Source: Shaz’s Personal Photo Collection

3. Scheduling your time around your cats 

Since raising cats is a long term commitment, expect changes in your life and how you spend your time too.

Shaz can’t remember the last time she went for a holiday. The reason being that she can’t leave her fur-babies alone for very long!

Sure, she can ask for the neighbour’s help, and prepare the cat food in advance. However, she’s worried that something might happen to the cats while she’s gone. Because of that, she will usually stay home, even during public holidays too.

4. Neuter them before it’s too late

Shaz never had a first hand experience raising a cat. She didn’t realise how important it was to neuter a cat. Before she could get around to it,  her cat  had given birth to five kittens! Another one of her cats decided to give birth to another six kittens!

There was no male adult cat around the house at the time, so the pregnancy came as a surprise to her. Having learnt the lesson the hard way twice, she has since neutered all her cats. She advises other cat owners to do the same!

Source: Shaz’s Personal Photo Collection

5. Cats wants a lot of attention and equality too!

Khai says if you’re introducing a new cat to the current one you’re having, it’s important to provide a safe environment for each of them. This means that both of them should have access to their own food, shelter, water as well cat litter. Yes, in short, you need two of each lah! You also need to spend equal playing time with both cats!

This also means once you get back home, you can expect to spend a significant portion of time attending to your cat’s needs. As mentioned previously, it’s a long term commitment!

Khai’s two cats, Miko (white) and Maru (blue+white)

6. It’s not cheap to raise a cat

Khai spends about a 100 ringgit per month but he splits that with his housemate who also takes care of the cats. In total, the costs of taking care of two cats (one of which is a long-fur cat) goes up to about 200 ringgit on average. This includes royal canin food, grooming and medication.

However, the costs are more expensive for a kitten, since it’s the time when they need to  visit the vet most often.

Shaz spends close to 150 ringgit (she spends on vitamins too) per month per cat. This doesn’t include the cat house built specifically for all the cats she has at home. Shaz says you’ll be surprised to find her cats to get better nutrition compared to some of the diets other people are taking!

If you’re struggling to make ends meet, think twice before you choose to raise a cat. It’s not cheap to provide for them, and the expenditure adds up quickly.

Now you know how it feels to raise a cat, has it changed your mind, or made you rethink about raising one? Share with us  the challenges of raising a cat in Malaysia! 

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