May 4th, 2022

What does it mean to be a responsible cat owner?

Cats have a reputation for being easier to look after than dogs, leading some to believe there is very little they need to consider before deciding to get a cat.

There are in fact a number of things you will need to think about before looking for a cat, and further measures you need to prepare yourself for in order to look after your cat in a responsible way.

The right fit

Carefully consider whether your home and lifestyle are likely to provide a cat with everything they will need to live a full and happy life. It is true that most cats are more independent than dogs, however a significant amount of effort is still required to meet the needs of your feline friend. Do your sums to make sure you are able to afford the ongoing costs of being a responsible owner.

Is a Maine Coon the right breed of cat for me?

Should I consider rehoming a rescue cat?

How do I prepare my home for a new arrival?

Microchipping

Microchipping ensures the best chance of reunion if a cat is lost or stolen. There are government plans for microchipping of cats to become compulsory by law, as it is with dogs. For now, it is still left at the discretion of owners, however we strongly advise arranging this if your breeder hasn’t already done so. There is a significant amount of resource required on the part of shelters and charities in rehoming animals that come into their care who are not microchipped and cannot be reunited with their owners.

Insurance

Trips to the vet can often be expensive and unexpected. Insurance may seem like an annoying ongoing cost, however you don’t want to be faced with a bill that can run into the thousands of pounds. Uninsured animals are at risk of being put down if they have a serious illness and their owners are unable to pay for treatment. Owners can also become reluctant to take their cat to the vet for fear of how much it will cost, increasing their pet’s risk of becoming seriously unwell. Some breeders will provide 4-5 weeks of free insurance when you collect your kitten, however you will need to remember to renew the policy or look for your own insurance once that time is up.

Worming and flea treatments

You will need to protect your cat against common parasites they can pick up from the environment or other cats on a regular basis - usually with a monthly administered treatment depending on the type of parasite. Many vets will offer discounted plans to help you cover the cost of this, plus you will receive email or text reminders to pick up the next set of treatments from the practice. Worming and flea treatments can be administered in a number of ways depending on the brand; as a spot-on, a tablet, a paste or an injection. Some are only available with a prescription, so book an appointment with your vet to discuss. 

Vaccinations

All kittens on Pet Path will have received their first set of vaccinations before you collect them. Once they reach their first birthday, they will require a booster. Your chosen veterinary practice will be able to advise how often your kitten requires boosters going forward after that. Keep hold of the vaccination record the breeder has given you, as this will be important for your vet to see. If they don’t stock the same brand of vaccines, your kitten will need to start the course again with the new brand at the point they would normally receive their boosters.

Neutering

Neutering is the medical sterilsation of an animal, meaning they cannot go on to produce offspring. It is a widely recommended practice in cats not intended for breeding to reduce the risk of certain health conditions and for behaviour management, as well as to prevent unwanted pregnancies. If your kitten is not intended for breeding, it is important to arrange neutering at 4-6 months of age if your breeder hasn’t already done so. Most breeders who do not arrange neutering of their kittens before rehoming will ask you to sign a Kitten Contract to formalise your commitment to neutering the kitten when they are a little older.

Kittens are a long term commitment

When you first bring your kitten home you will be obsessed with their every move, and your motivation to provide them with everything they need will be high. As you get used to them being around it is so important to maintain the effort you put in at the beginning. Your kitten will need lots of stimulation from multiple play sessions a day, regular weighing to ensure they’re growing properly or not becoming overweight, cleaning of their litter tray multiple times a day, and the opportunity to explore outside… yes, even for indoor cats. Carefully think about whether you have the time and resources to dedicate to a cat long term.