It’s a proven fact that homes that own pets have happier and calmer humans that live with them. Cats especially have a therapeutic and soothing effect that can’t be mimicked by many domestic pets.  The decision is easy for some; while others may still be on the fence as to if they would like a cat. Whether you are deciding to bring a new kitten into your household, or deciding to add more feline friends to your home, check out these tips to help you.

1.) Do the homework about your family: Before you are at the pet store choosing a cat, ensure that all family members can be around them.  Often time’s health conditions like allergies to pet dander may make family member react adversely.  Ask your family if they want a cat and if so, why. Often times the idea of a cat sounds great, until the maintenance and care is thought about.  You wouldn’t think to bring a human baby into your home without planning, do the same for a cat.

2.) Research how to care and enjoy a cat: It may sound silly, but everyone doesn’t know how to care for animals.  Feeding, medical, and daily care should be researched before bringing a cat home. One appeal of cats is that they ‘virtually’ take care of themselves.  Virtually meaning, indoor cats rarely need baths as they clean themselves. Cats don’t have to be walked daily for exercise and a clean litter box is all they need for their ‘business.’ For these reasons, it is not a hard task to enjoy a cat.

3.) Plan a space in your home: Cats ideally need a quiet, out of the way location for their food, water and litter box.  Depending on your home you can choose where this is.  Ensure the area is free from excessive traffic, but has the ability to be ventilated if needed. Be careful in putting food and water outside or in a warm location.  Bugs and dirt can get into pet food and make your cat ill.

4.) The pros and cons of outdoor cats: You and your family can decide as to whether your cat will be an indoor or outdoor cat. PROS: For those who don’t want the responsibility of having to let in and out a cat, outdoor cats may be for you. These cats will get to roam the neighborhood and enjoy outdoor life at the same time. CONS: Outdoor cats tend to carry more diseases and are exposed to dirty conditions more often. Outdoor cats shouldn’t be de-clawed as they may need to defend themselves against other animals.

5.) The pros and cons of indoor cats: Indoor cats have their share of advantages and disadvantages. PROS: Indoor cats tend to be cleaner, and therefore can cohabitate with you and your family members inside the home. Indoor cats can have their front claws removed by a veterinarian, to prevent accidental scratches.  CONS: Indoor cats can leave fur on furniture and clothing.  Most short hair cats tend to shed less, while longer varieties have more fur and tend to leave more fur.

6) Selecting a kitten for your home: It is tempting to get free kittens from a friend or coworker that is giving them away.  Be cautious in selecting kittens from places other than pet stores, and breeders as they could have unknown conditions that you aren’t aware.  Regardless of where you get your kitten, schedule a veterinarian appointment as soon as possible to be checked for fleas, heartworm, and to get an overall physical and immunizations.

7.) Mixing cats and other pets: Cats are territorial animals. Therefore, they will mingle better with each other at a young age and increasingly become less open for the idea as they grow older. If you have other pets, especially cats consider this before bringing in a new kitten or cat into the home.  Let new cats stay in a room or enclosed space for them to get used to the new house, then gradually let them explore the house when the family leaves for the day. Once cats get acclimated to your home, they will be running around and enjoying your space like they’ve always lived there.

Research shows if you pet a cat for 5-10 minutes each day, you will elongate your life.  Whether you believe this to be true or not, cats can be a welcomed addition in your home.  Once all family members have agreed to help with the care and maintenance, you might be surprised how much the cat will take care of on their own!

Freshome readers are you a cat owner? Why do you love them, and what tips can you give others who plan to bring a cat into their household?