Taking care of any pet certainly has its challenges, but cats are a different kind of animal. I’m the mom of two frisky, wily, and loving cats named Axl and Slash. I’m also the mom of an adorable toddler named Bryan. Being a mom to Bryan is different than being a cat mom but both are extremely rewarding. The unconditional love is the greatest aspect and is something that you can’t fully explain.
I first became a cat mom almost 20 years ago when I adopted a kitten named Buffy. She changed my world and all of a sudden I was responsible for a pet with expenses like food, vet bills, litter, and toys but most importantly I had a new best friend. The unconditional love and friendship you get back from a pet or in my situation a cat completely outweighs any expenses you incur. They are family.
Cats are unique. They are nocturnal, which means they sleep most of the day and stay up at night. My cats seemed to have missed that memo. My orange tabby Axl is neurotic and hardly sleeps at all, and my black cat Slash pretty much sleeps 24/7. Except when it’s wet food time, then nothing else seems to matter. My cats tend to get very happy and extra loveable around mealtime, otherwise it’s pretty much “who are you and what can you do for me?”
Cat care is pretty low maintenance. They obviously need to be fed, which can be either canned wet cat food, dry cat food or a combination of both. My cats get dry food that is left out all day to munch on and wet cat food once a day. They also get a clean bowl of water with the dry food. Milk is not recommended as their stomachs cannot digest it. They also cannot have chocolate or caffeine which means no weekly trips to Starbucks. Also, I have two litter boxes, one for each cat that I scoop daily. I use clumping cat litter which resembles sand placed in a container with a lid where they go potty. Once a year they visit their vet for an annual physical where they receive booster vaccines for rabies, distemper and feline leukemia. Well and sick visits to the vet can become pricy, so I did get pet insurance for them. Like human health insurance, pet health insurance has deductibles, co-pays and monthly payments.
When my two guys awake from their slumber, they usually go right to the windowsill to investigate the outside surroundings. My cats remain indoors so having the blinds open enables them to observe nature and birds, as they are natural hunters. Indoor cats tend to live longer than outdoor cats, as they aren’t as exposed to the elements, injuries from other animals, or infections from parasites such as fleas and ticks.
They love both playtime with toys that jingle and teaser toys with feathers to get proper exercise. Axl will play fetch with a toy and retrieve it like a dog. Part of playtime also involves giving treats to reward good behavior. Their favorite thing is a good belly rub and a scratch behind the ears. I also love to brush their fur every now and then which provides basic grooming and also serves as a bonding technique.
Cats do not need to visit the groomers as they use their tongue to cleanse their fur. My cats are not declawed and their nails need to be trimmed about once a month. I can easily trim Slash’s nails but Axl requires more TLC as he gets upset and cries. I also brush their teeth when they allow me to. Dental care is essential to good overall hygiene and if not cared for can result in a variety of health problems.
When caring for a cat it is important to provide lots of love and bonding time. Slash loves to sit on my lap while Axl prefers to sit next to me on the couch. Cats are very loving and kind and as long as you treat them with love and respect, they will treat you with years of unconditional love and friendship.
Laura Harrington is a married stay at home mom to a 2 year old toddler and 2 cats. She has an associates in Fashion Merchandising from FIT in NYC and resides in Connecticut.