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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Kitty Exposure on Reddit

So apparently, my good husband posted a photo of my cats on the bed with me in my "the oilier, the uglier" look, tinkering on my laptop. The comments are very interesting and amusing, I must say... and I'm greatly relieved to read that we are not alone in this world to own a lot of cats (yep, I admit 6 is more than enough). Well, that's not entirely true. I know a number of people who have a battalion of cats in their households, for the reason that they rescue a lot and doesn't have the heart to turn down and look away to those unfortunate, starving, abused, sickly cats/kittens on the streets.

But first, let me clarify - I do have a base station for working :P, and when the photo was taken, we just got up so that explains the big mess (haha excuses, excuses). 

Reading through the comments, I wanted to share one in particular because she practically nailed what you should expect more or less if ever you decide to adopt a cat - especially if you are considering more than one. Although I constantly look for potential adopters and promotes adoption to my friends, I also think it is responsible to tell them upfront what they are getting themselves in to. One of the many reasons there's so many stray cats in the streets is cat dumping. I am so sick and tired of seeing and hearing stories of pet owners who dump their pets all because they are tired of caring for them - either the cat is sick, have unwanted litter, misbehaved, or too much to handle. So when I find an interested adopter, I always make it to a point to set their expectations properly, and also to emphasize that getting a pet is a lifetime commitment. I wish I could make everyone realize that having a pet companion is like having another member of your family. It will be dependent on you, a part of you until the end of its days.

So here it is. Thank you flibbertygiblet of Reddit for a well composed comment. This will be a great reference for potential pet parents.

(note: I emphasized the word "more or less" because each cat has its own personality, and some may or may not be applicable like the costs - in a way, it is cheaper in the Philippines to provide food, cat litter, and medical care than it is in the United States. I do not intend to discourage people from adopting, nor to scare you of,  but I just wanted to give a rough idea of a serious cat care )

"5 cats is hectic, no getting around it. We have five, plus a dog, plus any number of fosters at different times. It is very fun and very rewarding, but here are a few things to consider.
  • each cat needs his/her own litter box. We get away with 3 for the permanent 5, but that is because they are all neutered males and get along fairly well. Each foster gets their own.
  • litter boxes must be cleaned daily. Plus, we completely dump/scrub/refill each one as needed(usually once every few weeks).
  • the amount of money we spend on good food, plus supplements(raw food), plus litter, plus toys is mind boggling. Currently around $150-$200 a month for just the cats.
  • Adaptation. We can't have fragile things on counters, vases of flowers, knick-knacks, stacks of mail, anything like that laying around. We must be vigilant about dropped tacks, staples, or toothpicks. No cords visible.
  • Destruction! They will destroy all that you love unless precautions are taken. We just bought our house a few years ago and have not done much renovating yet. The damage they've done already has shown is what precautions we need to take. We have narrow windowsills, they scamper to sit in them. All walls underneath windows will have to have a sheet of plexiglas on them to protect from scratches. Same for all outward corners.
They will knock things off counters and break them. They will shed and dirty up every blanket in your house(we use duvet covers to combat this). You will get lazy one day, fail to clean the box, and they will pee on your bed(mattress and pillow protectors).
  • Relationships. They have friends and enemies. There will be skirmishes, some you have to break up. Then there's just plain ol' rough housing. They will eat things they shouldn't. Kitty first aid knowledge is required.
  • medical expenses. Even if all is well, and they are indoor(ours are except on leashes)they need medical care. Flea treatments, ear mite treatments(not a huge issue, our fosters sometimes bring them), yearly check ups, shots, spay/neuter. It adds the fuck up. $45 x 5 is a large yearly expense. That's just check-up and rabies shot(ours are on a schedule now, everyone due at once, you can stagger to make it easier). Then there's things like colds that turn into URIs and boogery eyes that get infected from scratching. That's another $35 trip to the vet plus medications(this is rare though).
  • Feeding. Unless free fed, feeding can be a chore. And for free feeding, you need everyone to have self control(we are lucky here). Otherwise, it becomes a huge hassle and time eater to have to portion/feed/supervise the whole process.
  • Lack of sleep. You will lose sleep with so many cats. Whether they are knocking things around, wrestling, arguing, yowling for no apparent reason, running laps, playing with loud toys, trying to get you to play, sleeping on your head, needing fed if hand raising kitten(or a litter), or just taking up way too much fucking space on your king sized bed, you will lose sleep.
  • Time. This is the biggest one besides cost. I spend so much time watering, feeding, petting, playing with, cleaning up after, shooing off counters, snuggling, nail clipping, nip spraying/sprinkling, wrestling, walking, making toys, and everything else. It's a lot of work. Plus, we have a dog, so that's a lot more walking/training/playing.
The only way we are able to do this is because we have a unique situation. I work from home, as does my hubs about 75% of the time, and there's enough money that we don't have to skimp on care and feeding.
However, the cats(plus my dog of course)are the furry loves of my life. They can all be huge pains in the ass, but I wouldn't take a million dollars for any one of them. They are all unique in their personalities, and even though we didn't know it, each new one brought something we were missing. All the time, all the money, all the little annoyances are totally, 100% fucking worth it when they snuggle up for lovins, purr their hearts out, or do something so funny that it can change the outlook on a cloudy day."

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