The Pros and Cons of Owning a Cat

Updated on October 10, 2019
PaulGoodman67 profile image

Paul has owned cats and has seen the good, the bad, and the ugly in our domesticated feline friends.

Source

Sharing your home with a furry feline friend comes with both advantages and disadvantages. While cats can be affectionate, playful, comforting, and relatively low-maintenance, they can also scratch up your couch, shed hairs over your carpet, and urinate or defecate inside your home.

Some of the ups and downs of cat ownership are outlined in short in this table. Each is then discussed in more detail below.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Cat Ownership

Pros
Cons
They can be low-maintenance
They shed
They can be affectionate
Their litter boxes are smelly and must be cleaned regularly
They are entertaining
They damage furniture
They may help control pests
Many people are allergic to them
They are cute when young
Veterinary care is expensive
They don't require that much space
They may kill small animals
You don't have to walk them
They are strong-willed
They vomit occasionally
They may scratch or bite
They may wake you up
They can be very vocal
They can get fleas
Cats are cute and they make for affectionate companions (when they're in the mood, that is).
Cats are cute and they make for affectionate companions (when they're in the mood, that is). | Source

The Benefits of Owning a Cat

Adopting a cat can be a great choice. If you're up for the responsibility, they can make fantastic long-term companions. Here are some of the upsides to owning a cat.

1. They Can Be Low-Maintenance

As long as you change their litter box regularly and give them enough food and water, your cat will do fine. This is not to say you shouldn't spend quality time with your purring pal—you should! But cats are independent animals, and they definitely don't need constant supervision. You can even go away for a weekend without having to hire a pet sitter. Cats are good at cleaning and entertaining themselves.

2. They Can Be Affectionate

When they're in the mood, cats can be very loving. Stroking a cat has been shown to have a calming effect and reduce stress. A curled up, purring kitty on your lap will make you feel good even when nothing else can.

Time spent with cats is never wasted.

— Sigmund Freud

3. They Are Entertaining

It's fun to watch your feline frolic and see some of the strange positions they adopt when they relax. They are also very playful animals. They will chase almost anything that moves. For extra fun, give them some catnip.

4. They May Help Manage Pests

One of the reasons that humans domesticated cats was to help control the populations of invasive rodents and other pests. Many domestic cats still enjoy the thrill of the hunt, killing rodents, insects, and other small animals both indoors and out.

5. They Are Adorable as Kittens

Their wide eyes, soft furry bellies, and pleading mews will melt even the meanest of hearts. They won't be a kitten forever, but it's lovely while it lasts, so enjoy every minute of it!

6. They Don't Require a Lot of Space

A lot of cats are happy to live in a (relatively) small house or apartment, as long as there is a source of warmth and a window from which they can watch the world. Most cats enjoy exploring the outdoors as well. Many individuals who reside in smaller dwellings allow their cats to venture outside so that they don't feel cooped up.

7. They Don't Require Walks

Unlike dogs, you don't need to take cats for regular walks. Most cats exercise themselves for entertainment, and those that are allowed outside tend to be fairly active.

Some owners to choose to let their pets be "outside cats" after considering the size of their home and the relative safety of the surrounding area.
Some owners to choose to let their pets be "outside cats" after considering the size of their home and the relative safety of the surrounding area. | Source

The Drawbacks of Owning a Cat

Many first-time cat owners don't realize that adding a feline to their family may have unexpected consequences. Here are some of the downsides of owning a cat.

1. They Shed a Lot

If you choose to bring a cat into your home, be prepared for its hair to get everywhere, including but not limited to your furniture, carpet, clothes, tables, and countertops. Once you adopt a cat, your cleaning schedule may need some tweaking.

2. Their Litter Boxes Smell and Require Cleaning

Cats' urine and excrement are notably stinky, and their toilet is a litterbox, so it doesn't flush. If you want a cat, you need to be able to live with this. Be prepared to clean out the litterbox regularly. Depending on their habits, outside cats may require less frequent litter changes.

3. They May Claw Your Furniture to Shreds

Yes, you can get your cat a scratching post and try any number of methods to dissuade them from scratching the things you care about, but in all likelihood, they will still damage your furniture. If you're lucky, they'll stop there.

4. They May Deter Some People From Visiting Your Home

A surprisingly large amount of people have cat allergies, and some folks are even cat-phobic. This may affect your social or romantic life, especially if you like having people over to your place.

5. Their Veterinary Bills Can Be Very Expensive

If your cat gets sick or injured, you'll have to take them to the vet, and regular checkups are also a must. Veterinary bills have been known to cost some people a small fortune.

6. They Are Natural-Born Killers

Expect the bird population in your neighborhood to plummet if you let your cat outside. There's also a decent chance your ferocious feline will bring dead mice and lizards into your home. Are you prepared to accept these morbid gifts?

Cats seem to go on the principle that it never does any harm to ask for what you want.

— Joseph Wood Krutch

7. They Are Strong-Willed Rarely Obey Commands

Have you ever heard the expression "it's like herding cats?" Unlike dogs, most of which can be easily trained, cats usually have a will of their own and don't tend to listen to orders or commands.

8. They Will Vomit Occasionally

Cats sometimes get sick, and you're the one who has to clean it up. Cats vomit for a number of reasons. Most of the time it's hairball-related. Sometimes it's because they ingested or tasted something non-toxic that they really shouldn't have, or perhaps your wild kitten ran around too much after bingeing. In any case, you'll be on cleanup duty.

FYI: Most of the time, vomiting in cats is not problematic. However, if you are seeing frequent piles of foamy vomit or regurgitated or undigested food, you'll want to go see a vet.

9. They May Scratch or Bite People

In addition to scratching furniture, cats often scratch and bite people. They may do so accidentally when leaping into or out of your lap or purposefully when you do something they don't like (e.g. stroke their belly when they are not in the mood). If you do adopt a cat, be prepared to incur the occasional bite or scratch mark.

10. They May Wake You Up While You're Sleeping

Cats' sleep schedules are unusual—they may wake you up late in the night or early in the morning. Cats don't seem to care for people sleeping when they are not. If you bring one into your home, be prepared for some rude awakenings.

11. They Are Very Vocal When They Want to Go In or Out

When your cat is inside, it will meow until you let it out. When it's outside, it will meow to be let back in. Unless you have a cat-flap, expect to be on doorman duty multiple times each day. In some cases, you might stand there for ages waiting for the cat to decide where it wants to be. This is less of an issue for those with indoor-only cats.

12. They Often Get Fleas

When it comes to cats, catching fleas is relatively easily, but getting rid of them is often difficult and expensive. Be prepared to battle fleas multiple times throughout your cat's life.

Additional Facts About Cats

  • A typical cat will sleep between 13 and 14 hours per day on average. They spend 70% of their lives asleep.
  • They are the most popular pet in the USA, outnumbering dogs by 88 million to 74 million.
  • A group of cats is called a clowder.
  • Male cats are called toms. Females are called queens or mollies.
  • Domesticated cats have been around since 3,600 B.C.
  • Adult cats only meow to communicate with humans, not with other cats. They meow at the pitch of a human baby to attract attention when they are hungry.
  • Killing cats was against the law in ancient Egypt. (It's also against the law in modern-day America.)
  • They can hear much higher sound pitches than humans. While humans can hear frequencies of up to 20 kHz, cats can hear frequencies of up to 64kHz. This helps them to locate rodents and other small animals when hunting.

Cats are the runes of beauty, invincibility, wonder, pride, freedom, coldness, self-sufficiency, and dainty individuality—the qualities of sensitive, enlightened, mentally developed, pagan, cynical, poetic, philosophic, dispassionate, reserved, independent, Nietzschean, unbroken, civilised, master-class men.

— H. P. Lovecraft
Do you think you could tolerate a feline roommate?
Do you think you could tolerate a feline roommate? | Source

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Questions & Answers

  • Would you say it is worth having a cat, despite the number of cons?

    Cats can make warm and affectionate companions. They are relatively independent, keep themselves clean, deter rodents and other pests, and can help to reduce stress. If advantages such as these outweigh the cons for you, then you should probably get a cat.

© 2017 Paul Goodman

Comments

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    • Brenda Arledge profile image

      BRENDA ARLEDGE 

      10 days ago from Washington Court House

      Insightful article. I love kittys no matter how much a fuss they are to take care of...worth it.

      Plus as you say...they pretty much take care of themselves.

    • profile image

      ben 

      4 months ago

      im begging my mom to get a cat she keeps saying no whats another way to convince ur mom she says they wreck the house to much

    • profile image

      YENZOKUHLE DLAMINI 

      4 months ago

      does a cat have asthma

    • profile image

      thank you 

      5 months ago

      thank you so much i have more hope of convincing my parents to get a cat for me

    • profile image

      Somebody 

      6 months ago

      Hopefully I can convince my parents now!

    • profile image

      JEFFFYYYYYYYYYYyyyyyy 

      6 months ago

      hi im Jeffy and this help me so much thank you and goodbye

    • profile image

      red room 

      6 months ago

    • profile image

      Shley 

      6 months ago

      very very helpful i get to do a thing and this help with pros and cons THANK YOU

    • profile image

      Red room 

      6 months ago

      this is helpful

    • profile image

      Yay! 

      6 months ago

      I can now use this website to persuade my parents! Still can't get over the fact that we have a husky though... They keep saying that my husky will fight with the cat, so they're hesitant...

    • profile image

      Random person you dont know 

      6 months ago

      This help me alot with a school project thanks

      -Random person you dont know

    • profile image

      a person 

      6 months ago

      Thanks, this helped me in school

    • profile image

      Isabella 

      6 months ago

      Thanks for this! My family and I are preparing to adopt a kitten soon. I never owned a cat before besides caring for our clients cats during there stay at my prior jobs boarding center. However, I do remember playing with this stray male cat when I was younger because he always came to our house the same time, everyday to cuddle. Literally wanted nothing else. I'm learning that I love cats and dogs equally but I have a slight suspicion that I may be more of a cat person than I thought I was. I'm doing more research and making sure we prepare accordingly to propery care for our new furry friend. Wish us luck!

    • profile image

      Oof 

      7 months ago

      i liked this and it helped me with a school s.a thank you

    • profile image

      lola 

      7 months ago

      love this! wish i had a cat! :(

    • profile image

      Somebody 

      8 months ago

      I have a cat.

    • profile image

      Hailey 

      8 months ago

      I love having my cat and all of this is pretty accurate.

    • profile image

      fiona 

      9 months ago

      i never knew that

    • profile image

       

      9 months ago

      Thanks

    • profile image

      Diane 

      9 months ago

      If my significant other told me I had to choose between him and my cat, I would tell him I was sorry it didn't work out as I helped him pack his bags. if you can't love a little fuzzy kitten, you can't love anyone. And if you don't care that your spouse loves a fuzzy little kitten, you don't care about about anybody but yourself.

      After showing that sad sack the door, I'd give my little guy an extra can of tuna as a thank you for saving me the many years of my life I would have wasted on that loser. And he would respond by squealing and rubbing his face all over my stinky feet. Now THAT'S love.

    • profile image

      Eliene 

      10 months ago

      I love animals with all my heart . Cats and dogs are my favorite but I love them all even reptiles . Unfortunately I am married with a man that dont like cats . I had a cat before married him and I had to leave with my sister because after we married he didn’t want the cat , today my son is the only one we have and he always ask me for a pet . We have a dog but he is allergic to dander, so he can’t play with him . I want get a cat to him and for me but I can’t because my husband . It is so sad how people don’t like certain animals , especially cats which are so easy going . I’m sooo sad. I suffer from depression and I feel so lonely and he don’t see that . I have been ask for cat for awhile but he gets mad and offend me . I’m tired of this . People out there , enjoy your life , have a animal to be part of your life , they are better than us , they are loyal , caring and they don’t hurt your feelings . I hope that one day my son can be able to have a pet where he can call a friend and companion .

    • profile image

       

      10 months ago

      Extremely helpful to me

    • profile image

      Name 

      10 months ago

      thank you so much

    • profile image

      lazer meep 

      11 months ago

      thank you

    • profile image

      Ramya 

      13 months ago

      Helpful to me

    • profile image

      Popatochisps 

      14 months ago

      Useful info for debating

    • profile image

      Student X 

      2 years ago

      I found this article very helpful whilst researching the Pros and Cons of owning a pet/cat. thank you.

    • profile image

      Angelique 

      2 years ago

      isnt it true that cats are the only animals on the planet that have domesticated themselves?

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