OWNING A CAT CHECKLIST

ESSENTIAL ITEMS FOR A NEW CAT

Before you bring your new cat home, you’ll need to buy a few essential items. These include a cat carrier, bedding, food bowls, a litter tray and scratching post. These will also need replacing from time to time.

A CAT FLAP

Giving your cat access to the outdoors can provide them with a huge amount of positive stimulation. Most cats benefit from having the freedom to come and go as they please especially if they’re young and you’re regularly out. We at Battersea recommend a microchip cat flap. These scan your cat’s microchip and only open for your cat. As well as the flap, you’ll also need to factor in the cost of installation. This will vary depending on where it’s being fitted in your home. For example, installing a cat flap in a double-glazed window will be more expensive than in a wooden door.

FOOD

Cats need their own food to ensure they get all the nutrients they require. Costs will vary significantly by brand, the size of your cat and their lifestyle (e.g. how active they are) but a typical adult needs two pouches of wet food per day and around 20g of dry.

LITTER

Although some cats prefer to go to the toilet outside, we always recommend providing a permanent indoor litter tray. This will need to be scooped out daily to remove any soiled material and a complete wash and change at least once a week. Like food, litters can vary significantly in price.

ROUTINE HEALTH COSTS

Annual vaccination protects your cat against a number of common but serious cat diseases. To keep them free of parasites, you’ll need to treat for fleas and worms regularly, following the advice of your vet.

INSURANCE

Just like us humans, pets also have accidents and illnesses. Many people choose to insure their cat rather than be faced with large and unexpected costs. We recommend looking for policies which cover your cat for the lifetime of any illness rather than a fixed period of time.

PET SITTING

If you go away, it’s important to make sure your cat will be looked after. In many cases it may be possible to ask a friend or neighbour to help, but for longer breaks, you may require a professional pet sitter.

MICROCHIPPING AND NEUTERING

If you rehome from Battersea the initial costs of microchipping will be covered. However, there is sometimes a charge if you need to amend your registration details in future. At Battersea we also cover the costs of neutering. However, this is something to bear in mind if you get your cat elsewhere. Prices range from approximately £50 to £100.

10 REASONS TO OWN A PET

With almost no effort at all, pets manage to bring so much joy into our lives. They make us laugh, comfort us when we’re sick or upset, and are always there for us no matter what. It’s no wonder that an estimated 12 million British households choose to keep a pet.
Not everyone understands the bond between human and beast, though, or even realises how much pets do for their owners. We take a look at ten of the benefits of having a furry friend.

1) They keep you fit

All breeds of dog need regular, daily walks in order to stay happy and healthy, and so do we! However, we sometimes have the tendency to get a bit lazy – if that sounds like you, a dog is the perfect cure! They’ll be dragging you out the front door and making you run around the park each and every day. Yes, a dog is possibly the best personal trainer you could ask for.

2) They make sure you’re never lonely

If you live by yourself, or your partner works different shift patterns to you, it can get awfully lonely at home – unless you have a pet, of course! Cats and dogs make great companions – they’ll always be waiting for you to come home and they’ll be happy to lend an ear should you want to moan about the awful day you’ve had. Plus, most of the time, they’re up for a snuggle on the sofa.

3) They lower your stress levels

Modern life is stressful and high levels of anxiety can lead to numerous health problems. Luckily, pets can really help us relax – stroking your cat or simply watching fish swim around in a tank can make your worries melt away. Previous studies have proven that pet owners tend to have lower blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels than people who don’t own a pet. That means having a furry pal can decrease the chances of suffering a heart attack later in life.

4) They can help you make friends

The pet owner community is an incredibly friendly one – you’ll often find that people will stop to talk to you about your dog in the park. Having a pet is a great way to meet new people and create bonds quickly, especially if you’re not too good at small talk. You never know, owning a dog may help you meet the love of your life!

5) They can improve your immune system

Pets spend a lot of their time outside and therefore bring all sorts of dirt and germs into your home. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though – the additional germs can help improve your immunity to colds and other mild illnesses. In fact, previous studies have shown that babies who live with a dog tend to experience fewer infections and are generally healthier than those who don’t.

6) They can stop your children from developing allergies

While it’s no guarantee that owning a pet will stop your children from developing certain allergies, the evidence suggests the dander in their fur may help. However, it’s worth noting that you should never own a cat or dog if you are allergic to them – you won’t suddenly become immune!

7) They can catch cancer early

It’s no secret that a dogs’ sense of smell is incredible, but did you know that some canines are capable of detecting cancer? Several pet owners have reported that their dog saved their lives after they noticed they were constantly pawing at, sniffing or even licking a tumour hidden underneath the skin.

8) They can teach kids responsibility

Every parent has heard the question ‘Can I have a pony/puppy/hamster?’ at some point in their child’s life. It’s no secret that kids love animals, and if they’re old enough, having one as a pet can actually teach them a lot of important skills. Not only will they learn the practical skills required to own a pet, such as cleaning out the cage, grooming and teaching tricks; they’ll also develop their nurturing and empathy skills, which are vital in later life.

9) They make you feel safe

Not everyone likes being home alone, but having a cat or dog there can make you feel a lot safer. Plus, burglars are less likely to target a house that’s clearly home to a dog. Some breeds make excellent guard dogs and will even protect you when you’re out for a run or walk.

10) They can provide companionship to children with learning difficulties

Children with autism and similar learning disorders often find it difficult talking to fellow human beings, but they have no problem at all with chatting away to friendly animals. After all, your pets can’t answer back and will always keep your secrets!

Looking after a pet is a big responsibility, but when you consider all the benefits above, they make all that hard work worthwhile. Whether you choose to keep a cat, dog, horse or hamster, they’ll make a great companion.