Pets

Before getting a pet...

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  • Aug 27th, 2017 8:19 am
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[OP]
Deal Addict
Mar 11, 2004
2098 posts
213 upvotes
Mississauga

Before getting a pet...

... is there such a thing as a "dry run"? For example, I want a cat. I always wanted a cat. For the past few years I have been reading and looking into owning a Maine Coon. Seems like an ideal breed for me.
Now... wanting and dreaming about a pet is one thing but actually owning one is something else.
Is there something that I can do in my own apartment that will make me see if I can actually live with a cat and care for it before I bring a living thing into the house?
I have kept tropical fish that require a lot of work and maintenance. I have had 3 x 135Gal tanks with various species of cichlids in my place and only sold them because I had to move. Again to some people fish, especially these size tanks and species, are a lot of work. To me it was a no biggie.
So bottom line is, how do I know that I really WANT a cat in my life and not just on paper? How did you decide that you really wanted a pet?
19 replies
Sr. Member
Apr 25, 2011
689 posts
251 upvotes
British Columbia
I grew up with animals so there wasn't really a question of if I wanted one...

Can you set aside money for their care monthly? There is the sky rocketing price of pet food to consider (prices have gone up around 25% or more on many foods in just the last few years! Much faster than regular inflation -- also keep in mind wet food is the superior choice to feed cats to prevent several health concerns, especially if you get a male cat) and vet bills (most city vets charge around 50+ dollars for an exam alone, a routine dental cleaning is about 400+ most places before extractions are added on).

Timewise, clipping their claws every few weeks and needing to brush your cat daily or at least weekly (long haired cats need brushing and if not may require lion cuts which are quite expensive), can you spend the time to scoop out the litter box daily and make sure to play with your cat?

Lastly, consider adopting a cat. With so many on the streets and in shelters you can easily adopt a lovely cat or kitten at a fraction of the cost of a purebred and do a good thing in the process.

Possibly try to foster a cat before adopting. Some shelters allow this approach.
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May 9, 2006
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cRaZyRaVr wrote:
May 9th, 2017 9:56 am
... is there such a thing as a "dry run"? For example, I want a cat. I always wanted a cat. For the past few years I have been reading and looking into owning a Maine Coon. Seems like an ideal breed for me.
Now... wanting and dreaming about a pet is one thing but actually owning one is something else.
Is there something that I can do in my own apartment that will make me see if I can actually live with a cat and care for it before I bring a living thing into the house?
I have kept tropical fish that require a lot of work and maintenance. I have had 3 x 135Gal tanks with various species of cichlids in my place and only sold them because I had to move. Again to some people fish, especially these size tanks and species, are a lot of work. To me it was a no biggie.
So bottom line is, how do I know that I really WANT a cat in my life and not just on paper? How did you decide that you really wanted a pet?
Only you can answer that question of wanting a cat or not.

Cats in general are easy to care for. Keep the litter box clean, have food and water handy, and brush them every so often. With Maine Coons you probably will have to brush more often. They have a thick undercoat and if you don't keep up, their fur can mat.

Do you have any friends/family who have cats? Offer them the opportunity to cat sit when they go on vacation. That's like having a trail run.
Deal Addict
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Jul 19, 2012
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Lots of cats looking for homes but don't forget it's a life long commitment that said they make excellent companions
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Mar 23, 2008
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Karala wrote:
May 9th, 2017 12:07 pm

Possibly try to foster a cat before adopting. Some shelters allow this approach.
I was also thinking of suggesting to foster a cat. But most reputable fostering agencies wouldn't let an animal go to someone with no experience with animals and who is "unsure" about if they really want one. They don't want to deal with panicked phone calls at 2 am telling them to come get this demon cat out of a home... :)

C
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Dec 31, 2007
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Volunteer to cat sit for a friend while they're away.
Jr. Member
Apr 5, 2009
123 posts
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Vancouver
I don't think there's a way of doing a dry run. I was worried about this too before I got my cat earlier this year. It takes a few days for the cat to get accustomed to your apartment so even if you babysat a cat, they won't be the true cat you get. Also every cat has a different temperament, even within species you can get very different personalities.

The good thing is, cats are relatively low maintenance. I purchased an automatic litter box that rakes the litter and you just have to change it every 20-30 days (for 1 cat). It's expensive but I think worth the time savings.

Check out your local SPCA. They may allow you to foster a cat before committing to adopt. I was able to foster mine for a week before the adoption finalized (she wasn't getting spayed until the week after and they couldn't officially finalize the adoption until she was spayed) so I got to know her very well. I've heard that shelter cats are generally more affectionate because they're smart enough to know you "saved" them. My cat is super affectionate. Obviously this is generalizing and as I said before, every cat is different. You may need to just bite the bullet. I've never had a pet before getting my cat and I bit the bullet and it was the best thing I've ever done.
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Aug 17, 2008
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As for knowing - well, I grew up not being able to have a pet, but was a huge cat lover. When I moved out on my own the first thing I got was two kittens - and have had cats in my life ever since.
Getting them from the SPCA is definitely the way to go, as the poster above said. I am also a huge fan of getting two - so they have a companion when you are away, and it's nice for them to play and grow up with another.

About getting a Maine Coon - well, that would be the dream for me, too - who wouldn't want such a huge bundle of love?
I think it would be best to start with just a regular cat, before paying mega money for a purebred one.

There's something very special about just getting 'average tabbies' - who are absolutely wonderful. Actually, we do now have a Ragdoll mix (a surprise), and she's fabulous, along with her daughter. I think we laugh every day at their antics, and it's just really nice having the company at home!
[OP]
Deal Addict
Mar 11, 2004
2098 posts
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Mississauga
Thank you all. Your thoughts are my thoughts exactly. I dont mind taking care of a cat at all. That is not the issue here at all. The question I have in my head is "do I really want to". Again, on paper, I do. But in practice things are different.
Also, if I decide, it will not be a shelter car for sure. If I am going to commit I am going to get what I want, and that is a lovely Maine Coon brown / white mix :)
Sr. Member
Apr 25, 2011
689 posts
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British Columbia
I understand wanting to get what you want but getting an animal based on looks is a poor reason to choose an animal.

Unlike purebred dogs that can have more distinct personalities and exercise requirements, cat breeds, with few exceptions, are all over the map in personality even within a breed. Cats have not been bred for distinct traits like dogs have. Every animal is an individual.

Most purebred cats only came about in the last hundred years, before that they were mostly all your run of the mill street cats. Maine Coons in particular can have some health concerns (including hip dysplasia!) ... If you just want a fluffy brown and white cat there are countless ones to be found in shelters. The color is very common. Most people with brown and white cats say their cat is a Maine Coon which just cracks me up since every black cat must be a Bombay by that logic.

The one "purebred" we have (without papers so really... who knows; any cat can look like a purebred but without papers to back it up you don't really know what you have) we got as a kitten. She is a nasty cat. Doesn't fit the breed description at all and has health issues up the wazoo (several bouts of pancreatitis, IBS -- meaning very expensive foods for the rest of her life, multiple bladder infections...). Coupled with her completely unfriendly demeanor she is a lemon. Meanwhile the cats I've taken in off the street are fantastic. One has to be about 20+ years old now... I swear she's secretly the Guinness record holder. Another acts more like a dog and is super laidback.

Whatever you choose I'm sure you'll fall in love with it, regardless. Umm. Unless you get a cat like our "purebred". I love animals but could really do without her...
Last edited by Karala on May 11th, 2017 1:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Jan 27, 2004
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I'm not sure how to answer that... i knew bc i fell in love with this cat that was up for adoption :)
She was already kinda a big cat @ 3 years old.

But she came up to the front of the cage and said "mew". After that me and my gf fell in love with her. As long as you promise to love and care for them they'll be alright. And patients!!! cats can have annoying habits.

Mine is luckily friendly and well behaved. But she fat. And poo sticks to her ass causing skid marks... kinda nasty. But ez fix..,clean it up and more grooming... we trim her hairs more often.
Deal Fanatic
Apr 23, 2009
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South of Ottawa
There are Maine coon cats in shelters and with rescues, if you have your heart set on one. Why not look there first?
[OP]
Deal Addict
Mar 11, 2004
2098 posts
213 upvotes
Mississauga
Beachdown wrote:
May 13th, 2017 1:42 pm
There are Maine coon cats in shelters and with rescues, if you have your heart set on one. Why not look there first?
Ohhhh I never said I will go to a breeder. For sure I will at first explore the local shelter / rescues etc.
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Apr 23, 2009
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South of Ottawa
cRaZyRaVr wrote:
May 13th, 2017 2:54 pm
Ohhhh I never said I will go to a breeder. For sure I will at first explore the local shelter / rescues etc.
cRaZyRaVr wrote:
May 11th, 2017 9:42 am
Thank you all. Your thoughts are my thoughts exactly. I dont mind taking care of a cat at all. That is not the issue here at all. The question I have in my head is "do I really want to". Again, on paper, I do. But in practice things are different.
Also, if I decide, it will not be a shelter car for sure. If I am going to commit I am going to get what I want, and that is a lovely Maine Coon brown / white mix :)
uhuh.

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