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Cats are the number one pet today. One in four Swiss households keeps at least one feline in their home. Many people wrongly assume that cats are the ultimate low-maintenance pet. In fact, there are a few questions to consider:
Am I permitted to keep a cat in my flat or house?
Do not forget to first check with your landlord or the management whether you are allowed to keep a cat. Ask for a written confirmation. Keeping a pet is not permitted in many rental flats.
Do I have enough space and time for a cat?
Cats are highly adaptable and can deal with a variety of living situations quite well. There are cats living freely on a farm and others that are kept in a flat. It is usually easier to keep cats happy if they are able to roam free all day because they hardly ever get bored. This way of life would be ideal for every cat. A cat door (and ladder) allows them to go outside whenever they please and keep themselves busy. However, in this case it is important to sterilise the cat in time in order to avoid uncontrolled reproduction.
Keeping a cat indoors all the time is a lot more complex. Cats are naturally curious, require action and do not like lying around all day and napping. If they cannot go outside, they need to be entertained. It is important for a cat to have enough social contact. Indoor cats should not be kept alone. Contact with humans and other pets is another good remedy against boredom. Owners should therefore engage in various activities with their kitty every day and give it the attention it needs. Depending on your cat's personality, such activities can be extensive cuddling sessions or active play. Cats have an innate hunting instinct, which they want to live out. Since everything that moves wakens this instinct, cats love hunting games.
It is important that cats are given places from which they can observe everything in peace. Elevated places or a place at a window, from which the cat can look outside, are ideal. Furthermore, it would be best to leave most doors open in order to give the cat as much freedom of movement as possible. Scratching posts, cat grass and fresh water are essential for an indoor cat. Another important point you need to consider is who is going to look after your pet if it falls ill or when you go on holiday.
Can I afford a cat?
People often underestimate the cost of a cat. A cat with a life expectancy of 15 years can cost up to 20,000 francs throughout its whole life (not including the purchase price).
The following costs have to be anticipated:
- Vet bills
- Litter box and cat litter
- Scratching post and resting places
- Transportation box
- Cat net or cat door
- Care products
- Toys and flea collars
- Food, treats, feeding dishes and cat grass
- Vaccination and parasite prevention
- Liability insurance
What breed suits me?
There are many different cat breeds. They are different in terms of appearance and character. While every breed has certain characteristics, cats are still individualists and do not develop according to plan. In fact, two cats of the same breed can be very different, indeed. We recommend you consult an expert when choosing a breed. The following list can give you an overview of the points you need to consider:
- Is anybody in your household allergic to animal hair?
- Will the cat be kept indoors or can it roam free?
- How pronounced is its play instinct and need for activity?
- How large is your home?
- How affectionate is the cat?
- Female or male cat?
- Purebred cat or house cat?
- What kind of fur does the breed have and what are its care requirements?
Do I want to get a kitten or a grown cat?
Small kittens are particularly cute because they are playful, goofy and very small. It is great fun to watch them explore the world and accompany them on the way. However, they need to learn how to use the litter box, that plants are not for scratching and your dining table is not a playground. In the first few months, a baby cat therefore requires more attention than a grown cat and should not be left alone for too long. Grown cats are still playful, but they have already been house-trained and are possibly already used to a certain routine. There are plenty of older cats in animal shelters that are looking for a new, loving home.