Buying a cat is not a decision that needs to be made without careful consideration. There are a few important points to think through.
According to the current study by the Central Association of Zoological Companies in Germany, 31.6 million pets were recorded in Germany in 2016 (except for ornamental fish and terrarium animals). That is 44% of all households. At 13.4 million, the cat is still the favorite pet of the Germans; followed by the dog with 8.6.
If you want to be among the 22% of all households that live with a cat, you have to think about it beforehand.
Test yourself using the following checklist:
The cat’s allergen is produced by the sebum, salivary and anal glands and distributed in the fur by the cleaning cat. This is where the term “cat hair allergy” comes from. Through our petting and cuddling hours with the cat, the substances get into our airways via the air, where they produce the symptoms typical of allergies.
If you don’t have a cat allergy yourself, you should still ask your close relatives. The general allergy risk is inherited: E.g. If one of the parents concerned is also at risk of having the same allergy, this is 25-30% . (1)
To determine whether you have a cat allergy, the Cerascreen company now offers a self-test that can be carried out comfortably at home. This eliminates the annoying journey to the doctor and the eternal waiting time there.
Further information → Cerascreen cat allergy self-test (Currently only in German.)
To do this, you would have to take a look at your rental agreement and possibly ask your landlord for approval. However, any refusal of consent may not be for no reason.
For all other compatible formulations, it makes sense to seek legal advice.
Can you give your cat access and either open the door regularly or install a cat flap? Where are possible sources of danger in your area: Are there busy roads? Are there cat haters or trained dogs in the vicinity? How many other cats or tomcats already have their territory in your neighborhood, so that injuries from territorial fights could occur more often? Regular vaccinations, wormer cures and also treatments for parasite infestation are indispensable, especially for outdoor users, and increase running costs.
Keeping an indoor cat is safer, but requires some additional considerations. Especially here you have to deal with the general basic needs of a cat: play and hunting instinct, rest and retreat phases, climbing and scratching behavior, a balanced range of food and various water points and, if necessary, an alternative program to the outdoors such as a balcony. Some cats also get used to a harness with a leash. Since the apartment hardly offers any variety, you have to provide the cat with the necessary entertainment. Only regular activity with the cat will reduce the likelihood of being overweight.
Nowadays, indoor cats can reach an average age of 15-20 years with proper care, mental and physical support and regular veterinary visits (i.e. in good health). (The supposedly oldest cat in the world “Crème Puff” is said to have been 38 years old. A long time for you as a can opener too!)
Outdoor users, on the other hand, are exposed to various dangers outside (accidents, dogs, other cats / hangovers, diseases and parasites), so their life expectancy is significantly lower. The average age of female cats that have been outdoors is 12 years, whereas for male cats that have been outdoors it is only up to 8 years.
Would it be more appropriate to keep two cats? Cats are not loners. Even if this popular belief still persists, some studies (2) have shown that cats have distinctive social behavior and (can) live in groups. Cats are individualists and “lone hunters”, but they seek physical contact with fellow cats, sleep next to each other, play with each other and help each other with grooming. So if you work or travel a lot and want to offer your cat a species-appropriate life, you should prefer to buy two cats. Always provided there is the necessary space and financial means for two cats as well as the human resources to play and petting twice. The keeping of two cats is also advocated by the German Animal Welfare Association (3).
Do you have family, acquaintances or friends who take care of the cat when you are away from home or are about to go to hospital? During this time, can someone come by 2-3 times a day to feed, play and groom the cat and give the cat the necessary attention? Or do you even know a personal cat sitter who would even move in with you during your absence to give your loved ones the best possible care, love and attention?
A feeding visit twice a day is by no means sufficient to meet a cat’s needs. In that case, she would look for employment opportunities independently, which then happily happens to the dismay of curtains, furniture, plants and wallpaper.
The cat is a lithe hunter and yet something breaks during her “funny 5 minutes” or during her impetuous chases through the apartment. Occasionally the couch or the curtain also suffer from the wild approaches and changes of direction. This is part of a balanced cat life and you unfortunately have to accept it.
In addition, after using the toilet, some litter always sticks to the paws, which then ends up on the floor around the litter box. But the well-distributed cat toys and the cat hair lying around must not disturb you either.
Apart from the initial cost of a cat, there are monthly costs for food, litter and occasionally for new toys. In addition, you have to plan further expenses for the annual veterinarian visits (regular vaccinations and worming for outdoor animals) or unscheduled visits to the veterinarian (possibly for a castration, medication and expensive special feed in the event of illness).
There is everything in favor of buying a cat?
If all the questions about living together with a cat are positive, there are only a few small questions to be answered about the right cat:
- Would you prefer to live with a cat or a tomcat? Both sexes have their own special characteristics. Interested? You can find a short list of the differences here: “Female or male cat – who suits you?” (Currently only in German.)
- Do you have the time and stamina to take in and raise a kitten? Or do you need a quiet companion? Whether “kitten or adult cat” is not an easy decision, nor is it an insignificant one. (Currently only in German.)
- Is it important to you that your cat has a pedigree and that you know exactly who the ancestors are or would you also enjoy the company of a house cat without a pedigree? Please read my article “House cat or purebred cat“. (Currently only in German.)
- And remember that cats have a high and justifiable price tag depending on their breed and pedigree. Feel free to read → “Why purebred cats are so expensive?” and what → costs you can have for buying a cat. (Currently only in German.)
- In addition to the purchase price of the cat, → expenses for the basic equipment of a species-appropriate housing are added. (Currently only in German.)
- 1 Robert-Koch-Institut: KIGGS Basiserhebung: Allergische Erkrankungen, Dezember 2018. URL: https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/Gesundheitsmonitoring/Themen/Chronische_Erkrankungen/Allergien/Allergien_node.html
- 2 Sharon L. Crowell-Davis, Terry M. Curtis, Rebecca J. Knowles: Social organization in the cat: a modern
understanding, in: Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery (2004), Nr.6, S.19–28.
- 3 Deutscher Tierschutzbund e.V.: Die Haltung von Katzen, 10.01.2017. URL: https://www.tierschutzbund.de/fileadmin/user_upload/Downloads/Broschueren/Die_Haltung_von_Katzen.pdf