Getting a kitten home could be the most exciting thing you do, but it comes with an abundant share of responsibility. Unfortunately, while many prospective pet owners are thrilled about the former, they don't really know much about the latter.
If you are somebody who is planning to get a cat home, here are some very important things Redditors would like you to know.
1. "Most kittens are wild! No matter what. If you want a docile cat, adopt an older one. They calm down. But you can't expect a baby to be that way."
2. "It's not uncommon for a cat to live to 20 years."
3. "Be ready to wake up frantic, thinking someone broke in to find out it’s only your cat having a spaz attack. Also, get ready to have its butthole in your face. My cat likes to try and sit on our chest with his rear end in our face."
4. "Declawing is amputation - they actually take out that last bone (like where your nail is, imagine having that bone amputated). If they ever get lost, they're defenseless. Even if they don't get lost and live safely inside, it messes up their skeleton because the way they walk changes. Trimming is the way to go. Just want to put this up here: make sure to watch videos of where to trim! Never ever cut the pink part or even close to it, just to be safe."
5. "One mistake I see inexperienced new cat owners make is they try to 'play' with the cat like with a dog. Tease it, get in their faces with toys, overstimulate it. That's how you get mean cats. Cats are wonderful companions. You just have to let them choose when and how they will interact with you. Be a little gentle with them. Talk sweet. Get to know them and what they like."
6. "They respond to effort. They won’t love you unconditionally like a dog will. A cat that is given time, patience, good care, and socializing will almost always warm up to their people and become affectionate. It just requires more work to earn that affection than a dog. You get out of a pet cat what you put into it."
7. "Make sure you have a lot of room on your phone for photos."
8. "Pay attention to your cat and keep them happy and healthy! Also, take them to the vet if - they are making new sounds (whimpering usually); something looks off after a visual inspection (growth of mounds/humps, deep cuts, new discoloration, foggy eyes, discharges, tooth decay, etc.); their poops are tarry black, bloody, or have worms/sacs; their urine clumps contain pus like slime; they undergo extra-ordinary changes in weight; they show sudden changes in behavior (walking into walls or no longer responding to voice), etc; they are experiencing noticeably rapid or decreased breathing."
9. "Female cats in heat are no joke. Spay them before they reach puberty, if you are not ready to have cat babies! Cats in heat WILL get their babies, no matter what it takes."
10. "Two cats are better than one if you work/have a life. Once bonded, they will look to each other for play and socialization when you aren't around. A single cat who is home alone 16ish hours a day will lose its dang mind and do lovely things like peeing your bed and crapping in your shoes."
11. "Play with your cat's paws while giving them treats or affection. That way if you ever need to trim their claws you can. Also, realize they are going to have thought and opinions and tell you about them. You don't so much as 'own' a cat. Additionally, milk is bad for cats. Do not give them milk. And also realize that any treats you give them that are declared 'favorites' must be hidden away in a secure location. Do not show your cat how to open cabinets. Do expect them to figure out how objects work in your house. Remember to brush them regularly. Lastly, make sure all fragile objects are in a secure location. Check that your indoor plants are not toxic."
12. "If you aren't too experienced with cats, the most important advice I can think of is this: let the cat set the terms. For everything. If the cat hides under the bed for a week, let it hide. Don't try to coax him out. Don't grab him. Just put food/water and litterbox where it can find them when you are gone. If the cat doesn't want to play, don't push it. Wait. If the cat doesn't want pets, don't pet. Don't grab. Wait. When the cat eventually comes out (or plays or cuddles) it's because the cat feel safe and respected by you. And it will be soooo worth the wait."
13. "I’m not sure about other people but in my personal experience when our cats got old (like last couple years they were alive old) they shit and puke wherever they want. Their fur gets kinda gross cause they can’t clean themselves as good so you have to brush them all the time. It’s kind of sad cause I’ve seen it happen to other people and they give their elderly cat to the shelter cause they get sick of cleaning up shit and puke around the house. It’s not the cats fault though. It’s old and probably can’t even make it to the litter box anymore or it just feels sick and throws up. I’d be prepared for that though cause I think it’s mean when people give elderly animals back to the shelter without good reason."
14. "Let a cat choose you. Go to an adoption place where there are several cats and don’t pick one because it’s pretty; pick one that shows interest in you and shows you affection. So many people pick the cute kitten or the cute cat and then are puzzled why they have this thing in their house that ignores them and/or avoids them. If you let a cat pick you, you’ll have a loving snuggly companion for life."
15. "If you want a specific breed, read up on them. They all have their own traits and issues like dogs do. Keep water and food separate. You will need a litter box and where you want it to go your cat may not. Do not play using your hands with cats. They are not dogs and you will end up getting scratched or bitten. Use toys like fishing pole types. That way you can play with your cat and not get shredded. Not every cat is a lap cat. And a lot do not like being picked up. They get stressed just like the rest of us. So when you bring home a new cat, have a room set up so it can settle in without being overwhelmed by the whole house/new noises. Playing music or having a TV on helps."
16. "Make sure they have a scratching post and toys that don’t have feathers, feathers can easily fall out and be eaten by them. Also balloons, cats WILL try to eat popped balloons. Leather chairs, be prepared for them to shred it to bits."
17. "Cats want space."
18. "They'll live longer and be healthier if you keep them indoors. You'll need lots of toys and interactive play to keep them mentally stimulated."
19. "They're all individuals and have their own personalities. You have to be able accept them the way they are, some cats love to snuggle, some cats hate it, some cats like dangly toys, some love lasers. You can't fit them into a box of what you think a cat should be because there's no one thing that cats are."
Cats are not dogs. They're very different from them. There is a considerable dearth of knowledge among people on how to pet them. Adopting a cat just because it's cute is not a good enough reason. Rather, it's not a reason at all. You should be willing to undertake the responsibility that comes with it.