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My cat at home.

Getting a Cat

Chances are, if you’re from a family that has kept pets or if you know a family that has kept household pets, you will probably want some sort of animal to take care of once you’ve moved out of the house and started this “college” thing. To most of these people, cats are the ideal choice. They don’t take up much space, they’re independent, and they’re cute(!). For those of us that lead the hectic lifestyle of the university undergraduate, this sounds perfect, right? Right?

Taking Care of a Cat

Alright. In case there are still some people who haven’t caught on, I like cats. But I’m not about to get one for a few more years. To those who have never owned a cat, they are cute little fluffballs of insanity. They’ll start bolting randomly from place to place, get spooked by the wind blowing a piece of paper away from the window, jump on your lap while you’re watching a scary movie, happen to be underfoot when you’re hurrying down the stairs and late for class, and so on. You know, the basics. The slightly more insane ones will be lying peacefully on your lap one minute and be drawing blood from your finger in the next (that was my family cat). So, if you want a cat, you should be prepared. Your domestic life becoming considerably less predictable.

How Cats Impact Your LifeStyle

I guess it’s also worth mentioning some things about your lifestyle that will change and/or become incompatible with the inclusion of a cat into the equation. First of all, you should have a relatively stable living space. Say you decide to live in the same apartment for the remainder of your college years or something.

Animals in general, but it would seem that cats in particular, do not handle multiple changes of scenery very well. Our family cat was bequeathed (read: left) to us from a friend who liked to travel and had consequently caused his cat to go off the deep end. Since I averaged a change of premises about every 9 months over the past 5 years, this wouldn’t have worked out for me. Another good thing to know is that while cats are good at keeping themselves clean, everything around them tends to get dirty. This is usually limited to a veritable explosion of cat hair that finds its way into every corner of the apartment.

Honestly, you’ll be doing a lot more vacuuming, dusting, and laundry with a cat around. And the cat hair isn’t even the best part. Bring shark vacuum for pet hair clean, it works magically to sweep the pet furs. When cats get sick, it isn’t pretty. Since the only way they can tell you that something’s wrong is to barf in your laundry basket, the only way to really know what’s going on is to go to the vet. And that’s never cheap. So, in addition, you will also need to have anywhere from $100 to $1000 on hand for emergency cat procedures.

At least they’re easier than keeping a dog.

Image courtesy of Tyler Blakley.