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Do Cats Make Good Pets? (The Pros & Cons of Owning a Cat)

Jordin Horn

There are diehard cat people out there who will convince you that cats are the best, but those people are obviously biased. How can you tell if cats really do make the best pet for you? It’s a question that can’t be answered with a simple yes or no, but by the time you finish our unbiased article about whether cats make good pets, you should probably have a clear answer for your situation.

First, we will outline what kind of person makes a good cat owner, then we will go through the different pros and cons of cat ownership.

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You Should Own a Cat If You…

Are a Cat Person

This may seem obvious to most people, but a person with a special affinity for cats will make a great cat owner.

Maybe your cat love isn’t so obvious. Perhaps a family member or close friend has a cat that you like, or you grew up around a cat, but haven’t thought much about them since. If you have good memories tied to cats, you may make a great fit as a cat owner.

a young lady carrying a cat
Image Credit: Piqsels

Don’t Have Allergies

Cat allergies are twice as common as dog allergies, according to the . If you don’t suffer from cat allergies, it may just be fate!

In all seriousness, though, don’t buy a cat if you are allergic to them. Allergic reactions can change, and you don’t want to put your health at risk.

Are Away from Home Often

In general, cats have very independent natures. They also sleep most of the day. If you have a day job or are otherwise gone from your home for days at a time, cats can usually do just fine without you. Probably the most important pro here is that a cat does not need your help to go to the bathroom as dogs do.

Cat
Image Credit: Pixabay

Don’t Necessarily Need a Loyal Companion

It can be annoying to have a pet staring you down for some love when you’d really rather do something else. Again, cats are generally independent; if you don’t need a sidekick in the great outdoors or a furball who begs for your attention 24/7, a cat may suit you well. However, this will also depend on the breed you choose.

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Disadvantages of Owning a Cat

Owning a cat is not all rainbows and butterflies (though, if it were, cats would love to chase those butterflies). So, what’s not so great about owning a cat? Let’s get through the bad news first.

cat lying
Image Credit: absolutimages, Shutterstock

Cat Hair Everywhere

When you own a cat, you have to expect that everything you own will be covered in cat hair. You can decrease the amount shed by your cat with regular brushing, but it’s basically unavoidable. This can also mean that you will prevent people with cat hair allergies from even being able to enter your home, which can be a shame.

Hairballs

With a cat’s hair also comes hairballs. This is the result of a cat’s frequent grooming. They cannot swallow all the hair, so sometimes they vomit up hairballs in your house. There’s no getting around how disgusting this is, and it may be a legitimate reason to not own a cat.

They Are Difficult to Train

Cats love to do things on their own, which has the downside of making them stubborn. You can train a cat to follow certain commands, but it could be variable how often they respond to the commands, due to them having their own ideas about their schedule.

Siamese cat_Andreas Lischka, Pixabay
Image Credit: Andreas Lischka, Pixabay

They Are Nocturnal

A cat sleeps for 70% of its life on average, and most of that time is during the day. This means that your cat will be most active at night. If you’re a light sleeper, this could affect your sleep and make you pretty bleary-eyed in the morning.

Incessant Meowing

Unlike dogs, cats don’t respond well to shock administered from a shock collar, and it might hurt their health. So, you will have to deal with meowing to be fed, meowing for attention, meowing to go out, and meowing to get back in. Cats will also yowl more if they are not spayed or neutered, particularly when they are in heat.

Litter Box Woes

They have a designated spot to “go,” but that spot can stink. Cleaning a litter box properly will help keep the smell down, but you’re probably going to notice it no matter what.

cat litter box cleaning
Image Credit: xamnesiacx84, Shutterstock

My Furniture Is Not a Scratch Post

Cats have a natural urge to scratch. If you don’t have a scratching pad or post available for your cat to use, they most certainly will scratch up something in your home that you likely do not want to be destroyed. Even with a scratch pad, they may favor your beloved couch.

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Why Owning a Cat Is Awesome

grey tabby laying on couch
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

Now that we’ve got the unpleasantries out of the way, let’s go over why it’s great to have a cat as a pet.

Set It and Forget It

As long as you provide the food, water, and litter box, cats are happy to take care of themselves. They may miss you a little while you are gone, but their practical needs are all taken care of.

Part-Time Snuggler

When they’re in the mood for it, a cat can be very affectionate. They love to be stroked on their backs, and this can help calm you too. Nothing can beat scratching the neck of a purring cat!

More Entertaining than TV

Sometimes cats get in silly moods. Bring out a cat toy and be prepared to be entertained for hours! A cat’s quick movements and interest in fast-moving objects can be more fun than your favorite evening sitcom.

cat playing
Image Credit: Pixabay

Personal Mouse Trap

Got mice or other pests? Cats can take care of that, too. In fact, this is why ancient Egyptians revered the cat above all other animals. Cats are natural hunters, and they will track down every small pest in and around your home, creating a cleaner environment for you.

Small Space? No Problem

Cats can remain indoors for most of their lives, and they don’t need lots of space indoors, either. As long as they can roam around a small space to get some exercise, your cat will remain healthy. This makes them perfect for small homes or apartments (which can’t be said for all dogs).

funny cats playing on tree
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

Self-Exercising

Cats don’t need to be walked, which is a plus for some people. A cat is small enough to find your apartment or house suitable for walking around in. You may want to break out some cat toys now and again for extra exercise, but cats generally get what they need on their own.

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Is Having a Cat Worth It?

Having a cat is worth it if you benefit from their independent qualities, like how they can be left alone inside for longer periods. It’s also worth it if you have a small space, as their smaller bodies are more suited for this than a big dog.

Having a cat might not be worth it if you need or want a pet that can foster a stronger bond with you for emotional reasons. You also may want to reconsider getting a cat if you have relatives or close friends with cat hair allergies, as they are less likely to come to visit you if you get a cat.

Once you weigh out all these aspects of cat ownership, you should have a better idea of if a cat makes a good pet. Cats are great pets, but will one make a great pet for you? Only you have the answer to that question!


Featured Image Credit: Sarah Fields Photography, Shutterstock

Jordin Horn

Jordin Horn is a freelance writer who has covered many topics, including home improvement, gardening, pets, CBD, and parenting. Over the years, she has moved around so much that there's been no time to settle down and own a pet. However, as an animal lover, she dotes on and cuddles any pet she happens upon! She grew up with and dearly loved an American Eskimo Spitz named Maggie and a Pomeranian/Beagle mix named Gabby. She calls Colorado home, but has also recently resided in China, Iowa, and Puerto Rico Jordin does not like to settle for the "easy answer" when it comes to living life with your pet. She loves to research the best methods and products out there and cut through the jargon so you can see plainly what something is or how something is done.