Categories: ownership

Am I mature enough for a cat?

Am I mature enough for a cat? I think this is a sensible question. I also believe that you will know whether you are mature enough to have a cat before adopting one if you have asked yourself a set of questions beforehand. You should be prepared to challenge or test yourself.

Before I list the questions I’d like to make an extra point. The question in the title is open and to be fair there will be many children who are mature enough to look after a domestic cat. They won’t have the means to do it or the accommodation etc.. However, within their parents’ home some kids make excellent and sensitive cat guardians. They can be better than adults.

The questions are as follows (they are not ‘absolute barriers’ as described):

  1. Do I have enough time to look after a cat properly? You need to be with your cat for both of you. There is not much point having a cat otherwise.
  2. Do I have a basic understanding of cat behaviour, health and the needs of a domestic cat? This helps with the quality of cat care.
  3. Do I have enough money to fund all the expenses that go with looking after cat? Note: a lack of funds is not the end of the world in cat guardianship because it can be overcome by a super responsible attitude towards cat ownership and the ability to get by on very little. There are some fabulous cat owners who are financial poor.
  4. Do I have the right kind of accommodation which makes having a cat workable and practical? A single room in a house in which there are a dozen young people sharing with lots of comings and goings won’t suit most cats.
  5. Is my life stable enough to ensure that it does not destabilise the life of my cat? Instability is not an absolute obstacle to good ownership. Think of James Bowen, the homeless London busker who became famous when he teamed up with a ginger tabby called ‘Bob’.
  6. Does my partner agree with having a cat? The partner has to agree otherwise dump the partner!
  7. Am I or my partner allergic to cats? There are some great cat owners who love cats and care for them beautifully who are allergic to cats! But this is a barrier.
  8. Do I like quiet?! Cats prefer quiet.

The list of questions is probably not exhaustive but they are good start. As mentioned, you will certainly be mature enough if you have asked these or similar questions when considering adopting a domestic cat.

If you haven’t asked these questions or haven’t even thought about them and want to dive in and adopt a cat, let’s say for Christmas, you are not mature enough.

No ideal person but…

The ideal person to look after domestic cat is one who lives a stable life with solid routines, has adequate funding for himself and his cat, loves cats and understands their behaviour and needs, lives in a decent home preferably with a garden and far from dangerous road traffic. The person might be a single person because cats in general prefer that.

To recap in answer to the question, you will know if you are mature enough to adopt a domestic cat if you challenge yourself with the above questions and in each case the response is positive.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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  • What an excellent, thorough set of questions.

    I would love to see all rescue/rehome set ups use an adaptation of them to establish if a prospective adopter is fit to be a cat steward.

    I am not so sure about Bob being so well adapted to his celebrity staus. I have seen much footage of this lovely cat, looking extremely stressed, cowed & fearful, whilst exposed to gathered crowds, celebrities and of course, press photographers.

    In Bob's case, I think he has been exploited to the detriment of his well being.o

    But a great set of questions for adopters to ask themselves & rescues to ask adopters.

    • Jane, remember Michael's or Elisa's post on being a foster? "You must be able to say 'goodbye.'" That's close enough, right? LOL. That's the hardest part.

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