Cat Behavior

Top 4 Reasons Not to Own a Cat

Top 4 Reasons Not to Own a Cat

All right, I am pro-kitty. I mean... why would I have a whole site dedicated to them if I weren't? So why put together an article about the reasons not to own a cat? Well, every year shelters and rescues are inundated with cats. Often times, they end up there because people simply do not realize all that goes into keeping them. Although I am all for springing an animal from a shelter, it should always be for the right reasons, and with the best knowledge at hand. A little while ago I posted a list of some of the best reasons to own a cat, so for those considering adoption, I wanted to provide a fair counterargument. If you've never had the honor of living with a feline, I want you to be as educated as possible before you make the decision to do so.

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Cats Need Attention

When I was growing up we had all sorts of animals. We had cats and dogs, of course, but we also kept guinea pigs and rabbits, birds and fish. We had a duck... in a residential neighborhood. We almost got a baby goat, but we figured that might be pushing it a little. My point, though, is this: of all the animals we had in the house, the cats were by far the easiest. Now, normally you'd associate dogs with needing a lot of time and energy, and while it's true that cats are easier and ask for less of your resources, they are not without their demands. As with any animal, you have to look out for their health; ensure that they are getting enough, but not too much of, the right type of food; and that all of their needs are met.

And it isn't just about basic upkeep - no, if that were the case, you needn't worry. I mean... you wouldn't be looking into keeping any sort of pet if you felt you were unable to keep up with that, right? Nope. Cats need love, too. Despite their reputation for indifference, some cats will follow you around like, you know, dogs. They will interrupt you while you're trying to do just about anything. They will invade your privacy. They will make sure that you pay attention to them. They aren't generally needy, but when the mood strikes them, they are needy!

Cats Can Be Destructive

Here's the deal... cats are pointy. They have claws and teeth, and they feel compelled to use these tools. As is true with dogs, kitties need to learn what is acceptable and what is not, and if you don't have the time or know-how, you might find your couches shredded or your carpet demolished. Sometimes it's due to behavioral issues. More often, though, it comes down to basic instincts, hygienic needs, or just plain boredom. Issues of scratching and biting need to be addressed, and the sooner the better. Though mature cats can still learn, it can be incredibly tricky to break these bad habits. Kittens, though, are no less difficult, and require a good deal of gentle training and consistency.

Cats Take Over Your House

One of the best ways to remedy the destructiveness problem is by owning plenty of scratching posts and cat trees. But here's the thing, if you don't have a lot of room, or if you're very particular about your decor, you will find that keeping up with your kitty's needs can mean losing control of your floor space. And this isn't even getting into all of the cat toys. Those things are like glitter - they end up everywhere! Not to mention litter boxes, bowls, and beds. It isn't just your cat's things that will take up room - your cat himself will absolutely take over. Your furniture, sinks, shelves, and even your bed... those belong to him now. How do you know? Your cat will leave his mark... by shedding on everything.

Cats Can Be Hard to Read

So you've undoubtedly heard the debate over whether or not cats actually love their humans. Some people swear to it, others, not so much. It's understandable why there would be so much confusion. To start, there really just aren't that many reliable studies proving unequivocally one way or another. That fact is compounded by the point that, unlike other more demonstrative pets, they simply aren't that showy. And I'll be perfectly square here, not only are they not showy, they can also be kind of mean sometimes. So if you're hoping to have a new snugly friend who gets excited the moment you come home, cats might disappoint you. Of course, there are plenty of exceptions to this, but as a rule, you are just not going to get a high level of enthusiasm from a cat.

In addition to leaving you a little cold affection-wise, this same lack of demonstrativeness can cause some other issues. For example, sick or injured cats tend to hide signs of pain or distress. No one wants to appear weak in front of a predator, so over the generations, cats have made it a point to stay mum when they're unwell. The unfortunate result of this is that, if you've never owned a kitty before, you may miss subtle signs until what might have been a small issue has become a rather large one. Not only are you left with a debilitated pet, but you're also stuck with costly vet bills.


Although there are many perfectly good reasons to keep a feline by your side, there are also some understandable reasons not to own a cat. As I said at the start of this, if you're considering adopting a new kitty companion, please don't assume that it's going to be any easier than owning any other type of animal. Cats are marvelous, but they come with their own unique needs, and despite myself, I have to say, they may not be the ideal pet for everyone.

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Feature image by Zhao ! via flickr under CC BY 2.0

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