Why Did You Adopt Your Cat?

Why did you adopt your cat? Deciding to adopt a “pet” is a big step. It is a lifestyle change. It is for the life of the cat. The adoption will have a big impact on your life for a long time. So why did you do it? Did you consider all the ramifications?

Michael and Charlie Selfie
Michael and Charlie Selfie 5th April 2014 at 1 pm.
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

Because the adoption of a domestic cat carries with it such a profound change to a person’s life you could say that the person wants their life to change. If the person wants their life to change, you could also say that the person is unhappy with their life as it is. A person is unlikely to change a life they are happy with it because it may make things worse.

If a person is unhappy with their life they might decide to make some changes to try and improve it and sometimes the changes that they wish to make includes the adoption of a domestic cat. Is it always the right choice? What kind of change in an individual’s lifestyle does the introduction of a pet imply?

You don’t need to read all this article, if you don’t want to. However, I would like you to leave a comment in which you tell me why you adopted your cat. If there are 40 comments I will give a $40 Amazon voucher to the comment that I think is the best.

New Relationship

One reason for adopting a cat into a household is to create the opportunity to form a new relationship. Every cat caretaker forms some sort of relationship with their cat. Not every cat owner does, however. Nonetheless, the formation of a new stable relationship is one reason why a person adopts a cat. The relationship that many cat caretakers develop with their cat is similar to the relationship that they would have with a person. They also frequently referred to their cat as a family member. And many people relate to their cat as a child, while children might relate to the family cat as a sibling.

Did you adopt your cat because you wanted a more reliable relationship? Cats are more reliable than boyfriends and girlfriends.

Or perhaps, you just got divorced and you wanted to plug the relationship hole. Or perhaps, it makes you feel good to look after a domestic cat. It satisfies your need to nurture and look after another animal.

One of the most commonly mentioned reasons for keeping a pet animal is for the companionship. Companionship means doing things together. A cat caretaker can play with her cat, talk to her cat, receive feedback from her cat by way of body language, routine and even through talking because a good cat caretaker will understand cat talk.

When, and how long, an interaction between a person and a cat takes place is generally dictated by the person. In other words, a person can stop her interaction with her cat whenever she likes, which is something a person cannot do when interacting with another person. Is this one reason why some people prefer a relationship with a cat?

There is no doubt that very many cat owners consider that they share activities with their cat on an equal footing. The relationship is one of mutual assistance, which is similar to the sort of mutual assistance that takes place between people. Many marriages, perhaps all marriages at a certain stage in the marriage are founded upon the idea of mutual assistance-the relationship becomes something practical but also very loving.
Kids also benefit from having a cat around the house. A lot of children enjoy a relationship with the family cat. The cat can have a calming influence on a child who may be hyperactive. Very many children and young adults receive a lot of satisfaction, love, self-esteem and support from the presence of the domestic cat. I am sure that this is one reason why adult people who are parents adopt a cat.

Confiding In a Pet

A person can confide in his or her pet with the utmost confidence because there is no risk of betrayal. A person can express his or her most intimate feelings and thoughts when confiding in her cat. Obviously, a cat will not understand the language of the person and therefore some people would argue that when a person confides in a cat, the person is in effect talking to herself and simply offloading some of her problems. I would disagree with this. I do not think it is as simple as that. Cats can pick up on a person’s emotional state and provide comfort. There is a lot of intuitiveness in a cat’s behaviour.

Reliability of the Relationship

The domestic cat is far more reliable than the domestic man or woman! “Pets” are more consistent in their behaviour than humans. Therefore, a relationship with a cat is likely to be more constant and reliable than a human–human relationship. This must surely be one reason why a person adopts a domestic cat.

Self-esteem

A relationship with a cat can give a person and perhaps more often a child a feeling of self worth and higher self-esteem. When a person looks after a cat he or she recognises that the cat is dependent upon her, which creates a responsibility which is then discharged successfully by a good cat caretaker. This must lead to improved self-esteem. For a child, self-esteem is extremely important as it builds confidence and in the world today confidences everything. If a child can successfully created a mutually supportive relationship with a cat and look after the family cat it does the child a lot of good emotionally and psychologically.

Love

It is probably common knowledge that a lot of people feel for their cat resembles the affection that they feel for a person. Cat owners believe that they not only can give their love but receive it. They probably do receive it, which prevents criticism from people who say that when a person loves her cat she loves her car in the same way.

Expectations of Pet Ownership

The positive expectations of pet ownership in a study included the following:

Companionship, friendship, pleasure gained from watching, stroking-pleasure gained from tactile contact with their cat, affection-receiving love from the cat, training-some people gain pleasure from training their dog (few train cats), relaxation-people find cats relax them, nurture-people like the opportunity to nurture, meaning take care of their cat, self-esteem-people gain self-worth when caring for their cat, responsibility-caring for a cat provides a purpose, play-people enjoy playing with their cat, family extension-cats are seen as family members, gentleness-interacting with a cat encourages a person to behave gently, consideration-caring for a cat encourages a person to be more considerate, security (dog usually)-the presence of the dog provides a feeling of security, entertainment-cats entertain, loyalty-people feel that their cat is loyal to them which is pleasurable and finally exercise which applies more to caring for a dog companion.

The negative expectations and aspects of cat caretaking include: cost, mess, noise, damage and injury.

My Reasons for Adopting a Cat

A lot of people will adopt a cat because they simply like cats and they have a strong desire to look after a cat and/or a person. They don’t think beyond that emotional response, which is completely to be expected and normal. That would apply to me in large part. In addition, I have a need to help the vulnerable and in my instance I have always rescued a cat under a variety of circumstances. There are lots of cats that need rescuing and they come to us. So for me, rescuing and caring for a cat satisfies a personal need.

Perhaps the greatest motivator for me is the need to nurture and be the carer for an animal (although it can also be a human animal) that requires my care. I’m sure that there are a lot of people who adopt a cat the same reasons as me.

69 thoughts on “Why Did You Adopt Your Cat?”

  1. Hi Michael,

    Purrsonally, I don’t think that “WE” adopt the kitties- they find us! Although we may THINK that we are adopting the cat, when we arrive at the shelter or breeder who has a kitty up for adoption, the cats are sending kitty vibes to us- which enters our brains and we pick them.

    For example- years ago Marty and I visited a breeder to adopt a white female Oriental adult kitty who had almost finished her show career in National Finals in the Premiership class. She had developed Pyometria (uterine infection) so she had to be spayed- but continued to rise up to the top of her classes in the neuter/spay division.

    We fell in love with her immediately- she was simply magnificent- and she jumped into my lap- all seemed like it was a go. The breeder delivered her to us along with Dr. Hush Puppy who was a 3 month old kitten at the time. We weren’t looking for a second cat, but Puppy jumped onto my head (literally) and started purring like a diesel engine. We HAD to have him.

    Puppy adjusted immediately- loved on us and was very active running around the house. But Izzy was not keen on our home and hated being there. She hid under the couch for 7 weeks, coming out only to eat and use the litter box- or when we weren’t in the room. We felt so sorry for her- I called the breeder who agreed to take her back and keep her forever.

    The next day the breeder called me and asked me if I wanted to adopt a white male Oriental kitten- who’s eye was covered with a membrane which had to be surgically removed. I agreed to pay the cost of the surgery. About a week later, after he recovered, the breeder brought him up to our home and picked up Izzy.

    Of course the kitten was Sir Hubble Pinkerton- and he was immediately- I mean IMMEDIATELY accepted by our other cat, Mousie Tongue. Mousie slapped him upside the head, hissed at him once, and then proceeded to groom him until he was satisfied that he was sufficiently clean.

    So I do think our cats find us! All we need to do is to listen to their call:)

    Reply
    • Lovely story I enjoyed reading it. Cats do have a big say in whether we adopt them or not but there is something going on inside our heads too. we have to be amenable to the idea. We have to be ready and open and the cat lover is always ready. And something has to click. Sometimes, perhaps a cat can almost force himself on. He turns up and you can’t say no. Sometimes the cat lover has difficulty saying no.

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    • exactly jo they sure do choose us its amazing how cats just know we are good caring and safe people thats certainly true for most of the cats i have now

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  2. I chose to adopt Monty because he needed me. I really would have preferred to adopt a full grown cat. Kittens are a lot of work. But that tiny black kitten needed me. At first I sometimes wished for a more uncomplicated life– caring for a kitten, especially a feral who had a URI and was riddled with parasites is no easy task. But he needed me. There were no guarantees someone would adopt him. I was the one who caught him. If not me, then who? I also knew from the moment I took him home that someday I would mourn for that little black cat, someday he will break my heart. That day is yet to come. Until then I cherish every moment and I wonder that I ever even thought twice about taking on the job of being Monty’s Mom. He has more than repaid me for anything I have done for him.

    What would it have been like to have faced FQ antibiotic poisoning without Monty here? Jeff is working extra hours and I have been forced to work less. It would have been horrible to sit here all alone every day with my body going crazy, doing all kinds of weird things, with no guarantee of any sort of recovery. Most of the literature says FQ Toxicity Syndrome is uncurable with many symptons becoming permanent. But with Monty here with me each day that I must stay home to relax and try to heal is a day to spend with him. We share quiet moments in the back garden enjoying the spring sunshine and when I lie down to listen to some music he joins me for a “concert” too. Perhaps it is wishful thinking that he seems to enjoy the music! But at least I am not alone. Some days about all I can manage is to care for Monty– food, water and litter box scooping– but at least I did that. I need him as much as he ever needed me.

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  3. Hi Michael,My parents and I have 5 cats between us and as I’ve decided to move back home to care for my sick parents,all the cats have to try and get along.One of my furkid’s Hendrix,I adopted when he was 7 weeks old and he is now 4 years old.His cat mum Shiloh was handed in to a shelter just over a year ago and when I saw her picture on the website I just had to adopt her.She is a beautiful cat and being my little man’s mum I thought how nice it would be to have them back together again but Hendrix and his mum don’t get along and it breaks my heart.As Hendrix has now been diagnosed with behavioural problems, he must see a animal behaviourist.I will do everything in my power for this mother and son to get along and love each other as much as I love them.The other 3 cats we have were more than likely dumped next door(a vet surgery) and made their way into our home for a feed and we have adopted them also.They are all beautiful cats and I love them with all my heart,they are the best company in the world.So whether you go out to adopt them or they find their way to you it’s all about loving,caring and knowing that our lives are so much better when humans and cats are one big happy family.

    Reply
    • Hi Ali, nice comment. I enjoyed reading it. It’s a bit sad about Hendrix. Have you any idea why Hendrix does not go along with his mum? That would upset me as well. I wonder how often mother and son don’t get along in the world of cats. I had not thought about that in respect of the domestic cat.

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      • Thanks Michael,No we don’t know why they don’t get along,the vet said because of Hendrix’s bad behaviour towards her she is scared of him but things might change between them if they can find the right treatment for Hendrix to calm him down and then Shiloh won’t be so upset.I have never thought of mother,son etc in the domestic cat world not getting along either,all i hope is that it doesn’t happen too often..Keep up the good work Michael,I really enjoy reading your articles and comments.

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        • There may be some sort of fundamental behaviour pattern going on that reflects the sort of behaviour that takes place in the wild amongst wild cat species. The male offspring of wild cat species leave the family home at a certain age and find their own place to live, which is called their “home range”. It may be the case that Hendrix has an urge to do that but is forced to be in an environment where his mother lives in close proximity which may cause him to be stressed slightly which in turn may lead to bad behaviour. A lot of so-called bad behaviour in the domestic cat is caused by stress and the cause of the stress can be hard to locate sometimes.

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  4. And then there is Marvin. Oh my. What a hunk. His story is all over POC, and many of the regulars know this hunk of orange. Again, being a domesticated feral cat, he did the deciding. I was doing the weekend feed at the school of the local feral cats. I had known Marvin for several years. One Saturday morning while feeding him, he was extra cozy and snugly. I looked him in the eye, and in that moment I felt so much love for him. He gazed back at me, and I know he felt the love burst. He followed me home, and the rest is history. Who chose whom? What a guy he is too.

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    • DW, you fell in love with each other! I guess that can happen between cat and person. You can get an instant connection and you know that you have a relationship which will last. You know that you should be with each other. That is a great reason for adopting a cat, the best reason of all.

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      • So true. I knew we really liked each other, but of course the food helps I thought. But I really think Marvin was waiting to actually feel the love. Not just me, doing my duty to feed him. Once that love connection was made, there was no turning back. Starting to sound like a romance novel?

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        • Monty is doing great! He loves this time of year– no bees out there so I can trust him to be out on his own. No vegetation yet, so I can see him at a glance out the window. He has been spending hours out there every day.

          I am not well, but I’m getting used to managing my FQ Antibiotic Toxicity Syndrome. It may very well be permanent, but it is manageable and I can live a somewhat normal life between relapses. Monty has me at home with him a lot more. I can teach and play the organ (barely) but my PTA career is probably over.

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