The Pleasures (and Perils) of Owning a Cat

NCandkitty

Aww, memories. This photo was taken in May, just before we moved to Chicago. I blogged about that trip here. I’m standing in my friend Forrest’s backyard in North Carolina. And I’m holding Coquito, the Norwegian Forest Cat they adopted. Coquito was SO cute, so fluffy. Utterly adorable. Unafraid of people, even strangers — on the night we slept over, Coquito got into bed with me and wrapped his long, fluffy tail around my husband’s head! Coquito was an awesome kitty.

Today I found out that my dear friends Forrest and Lydia have lost Coquito to coyotes. I am so, so sad about it. RIP, Coquito. I hope there is a kitty heaven, and I hope you are in it. And I hope eventually my dear friends take another shelter cat into their home, because they are great pet owners, and any pet would be lucky to share a home with them. (Love you guys!)

I am sure my friends are currently wondering what they could have done to prevent this — and sadly the answer is, nothing. Forrest lives on an awesome acreage, and it would have been cruel to deprive Coquito of the natural setting he so obviously loved. This was a cat that was all about climbing trees and bounding through the wildflowers with that long, bushy tail bouncing behind him. And if he was anything like my Max, if he was confined to just be an indoor cat and there was all that beautiful green space just waiting outside, he’d have found a way to get out anyhow.

I know lots of people who don’t like cats, or cite reasons for not wanting to own a cat. And one of those reasons is, cats are own-way pets who want to go and come as they please and show affection at their whim. That’s indisputable. Cats do as they please. Max is my furry BFF, but just minutes ago he decided it’d be fun to claw the bejesus out of my hand. They have minds of their own. That’s the downside of owning a cat — if you want a well behaved pet you can control, you may not want a cat. But there are so many other ways in which cats rule. And it’s worth noting, even when Max is at his feistiest, I love him and I’d highly advocate cat ownership to anyone considering getting a pet. Here’s why.

1 — I can’t think of a more low maintenance pet. Cats are amazing that way. From the minute you get a kitten, all you need to do is put their litter box in a somewhat private corner, show them where it is, and they take care of the rest. Yes, you gotta clean up after them and that sucks but if you do it daily, there’s minimal odor in your home. Then besides that, all you gotta do is make sure they have food and water every day, and play with them when you feel like it. My cat would rather play by himself and chase a ball around the room sometimes, than wait for me to throw it. So independent!

2 — Cats choose their owners, so if you’re chosen, consider yourself lucky! I had been told years before, that someday a cat would set its sights on me. And there’s no doubt that Max chose us. When a cat chooses you, it means that you’ve got a new shadow. For most of the day, Max follows me quietly from room to room, making sure everything’s OK. But…

3 — Cats are independent. I’d grown up with dogs all my life, and dogs are wonderful, loving pets. When you come home from work, you know a dog will come running up to you with their tail wagging. A cat might be sleeping on your bed (or under the bed) and will emerge when they are good and ready. When a cat comes over to you, snuggles up on your lap and starts purring, it feels like an honor. They aren’t needy pets, and if you’re a busy person that can be kind of wonderful.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll always be a dog lover, but I can’t think of a pet with more personality than a cat. If you want to bring a kitty into your life, now’s a great time. The Iams Home For the Holidays campaign continues until January 4. Click here to learn more about the initiative, and to adopt a dog or cat that needs your love. And if you can’t adopt a pet right now but would like to help shelter pets, click here to vote for your favorite shelter in Iams’ Feed Pets In Need program.

RIP, Coquito. This post is dedicated to you.

Are you a cat owner? Tell me about the kitties you’ve known and loved!

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Comments

  1. I love dogs, but my lifestyle only allows cats. I’ve worked solo @ home since she’s been with me, except for a few stints at on-site work. I wish I could say she’s not needy, but she is. She’s used to me being home all day, all the time. Once I start working out of the house again (next week), all heck’s gonna break loose.

  2. My 12-year-old cat Tina (Maine Coon) died this summer, 3 days before Michael Jackson, and I was so heartbroken. I’d grown up with her and my mother and I miss her dearly. So I know what you’re going thru. Keep your head up and remember the good times.

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  4. i just adopted two kittens in november with my boyfriend and we are loving them. i’m sure every pet owner thinks this, but really, my kittens are the cutest and funniest cats ever. have you ever seen two kittens wrestle and chase each other around? endless comedy. they are brothers and by having two it ensures that they never get lonely. also it makes them less mischeivous when we’re gone since instead of getting in trouble and scratching or chewing things, they just roll around with each other. Two kitten households FTW!

  5. I wish I could have a cat, but I’m very allergic to cat hair. I have to be hopped up on antihistamines before I can even go anywhere where a cat has been or I will start scratching, breaking out into hives, eyes getting red, etc. LOL They are cute, so I love them from a distance. Needless to say, I’m a puppy person. :o)

  6. paradisebird says:

    i heart heart heart cats, but alas, our condo is way too small and we cannot give a cat the opportunity to go outside :-(. So, I hope that somedays we will move to a more cat- friednly place and then…I“ll wait to be chosen!

  7. I love cats. I have grown up with cats as my feline friends for years.
    My lovely Tuxedo cat, Mabel, is the sweetest cat. Even when she wakes me up early with a meow in my ear,
    I still love her. So many cats
    need a good home. Great post, Bella.

  8. When I used to live in Phoenix, there used to be a problem with the number of stray cats hanging around the complex. I had a cat and a dog, so I couldn’t take any more in. Anyway I noticed that a few months later I didn’t see the strays as much as before and commented on it to my husband. He then told me that one of the neighbors and his son had been shooting and killing them off. Even though I was aware of the problems they were causing on the property, I was horrified about what that neighbor did. I now live in Chicago, and I keep my cat and dog indoors. I do take the dog out for walks and to the park. What my point is, is that unfortunately ppl can be evil and cruel, so keep your cats inside.

  9. dogs too

  10. I’m so sorry your friends lost their Coquito. Losing a pet is so very difficult.

    I’ve always been a dog person, but this past summer, I just felt compelled to get a cat. We went to a cat shelter and met the most wonderful little cat. After meeting her, my family didn’t even want to consider any of the other dozens of available cats. We adopted her immediately.

    Millie follows me around and purrs so deliciously. It’s a joy to watch her play. She’s my sidekick and I’m so lucky to have her. Her nickname is Miss Kitty Fantastic, because she is a fantastic kitty!

  11. While I like dogs too, I love, love, love cats. I was sad that for 10 years we couldn’t have them due to my kids’ allergies and asthma, but they have since grown out of the allergies and in June we adopted 2 sisters out of a litter of 7 from a nearby shelter. The kids are thrilled!Cassie is very shy, Spicy is more adventurous and very loud. She virtually talks to you, love that! Watching their very different personalities unfold has been enormously entertaining for the whole family. My last cat, who was used to running in the woods was run over by a car when we moved to the suburbs, so Cassie and Spicy remain indoors, but they have full reign of the house. We love watching the “cat crazies” as they chase each other all over the house. And then there is nothing sweeter than seeing them curled up with each other asleep in some little spot hidden from my 3 kids or husband. I love their independent streak and the feeling that they’ve really graced you with their presence when they come to you to be pet. RIP Coquito.

  12. Paradisebird — it’s better to have your cat be an indoor kitty! Max used to be indoor/outdoor, but it’s far better and safer for him to live inside. So don’t think you can’t have one!

    Designdiva – OMG that is AWFUL. I hate hearing about animal cruelty like that. What a cowardly jerk your old neighbor was. Glad to hear your pets are safe at home!

    Great to hear from all of you – I know my friends are reading all of these sweet wishes and words about their kitty. It may not ease the pain but it’s nice to see anyway. Love you bellas!

  13. I’m with you Bella, indoor kitties have much longer life spans, and unless they were previously wild, they may not have much interest in going outside at all.

    We adopted an older (6 or so?) cat three years ago from the animal shelter. He is wonderful. Not fiercely independant, but good enough to leave for a weekend with one of those fill up cat feeders/water troughs. Also, he doesn’t go outside, nor does he want to. We live on a gated alley, so sometimes if we’re sitting outside, he’ll come sniff around but one noise and he flies back into the house. I’ve woken up to find that the door was open a few inches due to the wind and an improper closing (thanks to the husband) and momentarily panicked to find the cat blissed out on the bed.

    That’s terrible to hear about Coquito. Very very sad. Your friends might consider taking a few cats from a ferel colony since they have so much space. They probably wouldn’t make very good indoor pets, but would certainly curb any rodent problems that might develop on their property.

  14. Oh, what an awful way for a cat to go. My parents have an outdoor cat that loves to be outside at night, hunting field mice no doubt. Their problem is foxes. I shudder at the thought!

    Our long-haired calico, Cleo, is an indoor-sy diva. Ever since she snuck out once and got into a fight with something, she’s been very flighty about being outdoors. I think it’s better to keep a cat indoors if you can. Fewer issues with fleas and ticks, less chance of them getting into fights with other animals, and I think they’re just calmer in general.

  15. I’ve had cats all my life and I LOVE them. I wasn’t allowed to get a dog when I was a child. As soon as I was moved out I got a dog. People are right, they are JUST like children and need you to do everything for them. I love my dog but now I kind of wish I had a cat.

  16. Farah Mendlesohn says:

    Thank you for the post. I was sitting in the vets reading my blogroll when this came up. My kitty is 16 now, and is the most spoiled cat I’ve ever had in my life. She came that way. When we first saw her, she was a small brown fuzzball sitting on the arm of the breeder’s chair (she is an abyssinian, selected by us because they don’t have much dander and I’m allergic to cats). She *radiated* personal space about five times bigger than herself. This is a cat who can make her wishes known more clearly than many humans.

    She’s old now, and we were there for ther three monthly kidney check up. We’ll probably lose her in the next year, but in the meantime she remains one of the delights of our lives. Utterly selfish, wonderfully entertaining.

  17. V to the E to the G says:

    My kitties Ali (a black Maine Coon who was 14) and Jack (a domestic short hair, black, who was 8) both died in 2008.

    I miss having them around: they had entirely different personalities but were both two of the best cats ever.

    I haven’t been ready to get another cat…maybe in 2010!

    My family has owned pets, cats and dogs, since forever. RIP to all the furry friends (canine and feline) who’ve passed through my life:

    Lady
    Baby
    Goldie
    Bud
    Shotgun
    Big Boy
    Little Man
    Girlie
    Shadow
    Frazier
    Ali
    Jack

  18. V to the E to the G says:

    Jack was 8, not a smiley face. Not sure how that happened!

  19. I love dogs, but love cats even more. I just love that independent streak cats have. So we have both.

  20. My cats are supercute. Matilda and Esmeralda. Matilda is very feisty, Esmeralda is pretty fat and inactive, and not a very good groomer, but I love her anyway. They are like two little people with four legs and a tail. So sweet!

  21. Preach girl! I got Pepper from the shelter 12 years ago-actually she got me when I was at the shelter 12 years ago. I’ve always loved cats, but this one is beyond special. They are like people. If she ever started talking….

  22. MochaSiren says:

    Hey Bella! Happy New Year! I have always beena cat lover! Two weeks I adopted 3 1/2 month twin grey tabbies from my local Humane Society. Their names are Cornelius and George! They’re adorable and so affectionate! I hadn’t owned a pet the last few years so it’s such a joy to have them. I’m glad I adopted them both because they seem so happy together!

  23. funkystarkitty50 says:

    I love cats. I used to volunteer for an animal rescue group where I would “foster” the cats, only to end up keeping them. I had six cats at one point, which was too much and insane of me. Now I have one Maine Coon Tabby mix who is 12 and I just adore him. We lost our second cat last month to a heart condition aggravated by pneumonia. He was only sick for a day, then the next day he was gone. It was/is so painful to think about. They become a part of your life and your family, then something so unexpected like this happens. The heard problem was completely undetected by the vet when I’d taken him for his yearly check up. They even told me that for a 10-year-old cat, he could not have been healthier. The worst part of it all as telling my sons that Kubush was gone and was never coming back. At 6 and 3, they don’t really understand– I don’t even understand. We have had our cats since kitten hood, so we are thankful to have had him as long as we did. I’m thinking of getting another cat, although he/she won’t replace Kubush. Our remaining cat, Pasha is lonely and could use some feline companionship.

  24. I’m very sorry about your kitty. (My wife and I have 3 black & white boys – Ramekin, Pasha and Mugsy).

  25. shawanngoddess says:

    I am sorry 4 the loss of your furry friend. I have had many cats over the years.I have not had one in the past 10, my husband is not a cat person.

  26. Kwana aka OrangeStar616 says:

    man I love cats but am so allergic, can’t do cats or dogs, so I settle for feeding and observing wild birds LOL

  27. To be honest, I never liked cats and I am allergic to cat hair. Yet, this summer I was introduced to my best friend’s cat, Felix. I never believed in reincarnation. But, I think Felix was a King in a previous life. My friend laughs because Felix loves my feet (I have a foot fetish). When I enter a room, he purs and jumps on the sofa to stare in my eyes, as if he loves me. He thinks I am a queen. He purs and lays at my feet,or at times my breast. He is so affectionate. I cant say I will ever get a cat. But, Felix has captured my heart.

    PS. I am sorry for your friend’s lost of their dear pet. And, you look so happy in the pix.Always cherish that moment.

  28. I love my kitty! She was a stray when she first found me. she followed me around for an entire day mewing for food, and I couldn’t help but feed her. I asked around, and later found out that she lived in a tree next to my house, and wasn’t just a neighbors cat. I couldn’t stand to think that she had to stay outside all night in the cold and rain, so I took her in. She’s a great friend, and I’m so glad I took her in!

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