Help me decide whether or not I should get a cat. This is more complicated than it sounds. (At least it is to me...)
posted by cgg to Pets & Animals (33 answers total)
I really, really want a pet. In fact, I might even *need* a pet. But I'm trying to decide I if I *should* have one. [Warning -- this is long. Sorry.]
* I grew up with animals. As a kid, we never had less than 2 cats, up to the (slightly chaotic) 3 cats, 2 dogs and a couple gerbils.
* I just turned 30, and I think it's making the feeling of needing something a bit stronger. That being said, I definitely don't want a kid yet. But that "awww can I hold him, he's so adorable, I want one" reaction some people get around little kids? Thats me around cats and dogs.
* I realize I probably shouldn't have dog, at least not yet. I'm not around enough during the day for it to be fair to the little guy. But once I own my own house, I'm getting two. Not yet though.
* I think getting an older, laid back cat from a shelter, one that would be much much happier lazing around on my couch instead of locked into a little cage, would be a very good thing. I want an animal who I can truly help (lets face it, the kittens will always get adopted; 8 year old Fluffy -- not necessarily so). Plus, I want a cat whose personality is already developed. All cats are neurotic to a point, but I'll be frank -- I don't want an animal who turns into a really neurotic, skittish, fraidy-cat who hates being picked up.
* Other important details: I have a stable job, don't travel for work or anything like that anymore, and understand the responsibilities and costs associated with pet ownership.
Now, the reasons against getting cat:
* I live in a very tiny condo, without even a balcony. 600 sqft, tops.
* Rental housing is next to impossible with a pet in this city (Vancouver). I currently rent a condo where pets are allowed, but having a cat is definitely going to make finding my next place much, much harder.
* My boyfriend is really allergic. Although he actually loves cats, they make him miserable. I realize there are things I can do to reduce the allergens in my house, but he will suffer when he visits. And don't bother suggesting he take anything. Been there, lost that battle, many times. He grew up with a cat, and had chronic allergies the entire time. He'd have a pair of cats himself if it wasn't for the allergies. He claims he's tried everything that's supposed to help, twice, and nothing works. I counter with the fact that medicines have improved in the last 10 years, but he ignores me. His words: "If there was something I could take, don't you think I would take it? Do you think I enjoy being miserable?" He may have a point.
* The cat would have to be okay being on his own every other weekend or so. I spend some weekends at the boyfriend's.
* I have actually already had a cat once in my "adult" life. I got a kitten when I was 22, before I was really ready to be able to take care of it. I was moving a lot back then, not really home much, and I'm pretty sure I'm partially responsible for this this particular cat being as neurotic as she is. (She was nuts to begin with, but I probably didn't help matters). My parents adopted her, and she's a little better now that she's living a consistent, predictable life with a big yard and 2 people who worship her, but she's still skittish and, well, nuts. I still feel guilty whenever I see her and realize she really doesn't know how to cuddle with people, although it's obvious she wants to. She likes her people, she just can't deal with them. Also my parents aren't taking any more pets (if only because this cat doesn't play well with other cats/dogs, either).
Also, it should be noted I'm tried the smaller, caged animal route. I had a perfectly nice, normal hamster for 3 years until he died peacefully in his sleep. They just don't do much for me though. It's hard to sleep on the couch with a hamster on your lap.
So -- opinions? Convince me either way, either that I really would be a good cat owner and I'm just freaked out due to an unfortunate experience that I've learned from. Or that no, a cat probably isn't the best idea right now, and the reasons why.
(Again, I apologize for the length... geez. Some people don't have this much anguish about about having kids, and all I want is a freakin' cat!)