Now that Miss Ivy has been with me a couple of years, I am amused when I think back to the things I worried about before I got her.
Becoming a first time pet owner was not a decision I took lightly, nor should it be taken lightly. Adopting a pet is a huge responsibility and I wanted to be absolutely certain I was doing the right thing, for her and for me.
As much as I worried (and obsessed) about it, I don’t think I could have imagined just exactly how much I would be getting out of this wonderful experience and how much joy she brought.
I would like to thank the friends and co-workers who took the time to walk me through their pet raising experiences to convince me that taking in a rescue cat was the right thing to do.
Here they are the top 10 things I worried about before I got the cat:
10- Objects not remaining where I left them
When hearing that cats can be pretty good at hiding things, especially items they may consider their favourite toys, I was worried about my belongings moving around the house. Fortunately Ivy lacks the dexterity or strength to move anything, but from time to time, I do see her own toys showing up unexpectedly in other rooms in the house.
A moving pile of laundry (notably a pile of towels) is a pretty common occurrence now. If I didn’t have a cat or a dog in the house, you better believe I would have jumped three feet off the floor at the sight of a pile of laundry walking away from the laundry centre.
9- Missing the litter box
When I moved into this house, the carpeting had a few nasty pet urine stains. On hot humid days, even with the air conditioning going full blast, it was as if those stains came back to life despite several professional cleanings.
Over the years, after spending several thousand dollars replacing the flooring and finally getting rid of that odour, I was very fearful of bringing in a pet. Miss Ivy put my fears to rest. With her litter box scooped every day or two, she always seems pretty content with her restroom facilities.
8- Not talking/meowing
I vividly remember my first meetings with her at the pet store where the shelter put her on display for adoption. She was just so calm, quiet and content, she never meowed. I was actually worried that she wouldn’t communicate.
But once she settled in, things changed. Of all the cats I have met over the years, this one is the chattiest.
She can be a bit of an opera singer, which can be fun to have such an expressive, extroverted cat, because you always know if something is up or not. But it’s not so much fun when Daddy has a migraine and she resists my gentle request for “indoor voice”.
One of my biggest apprehensions came from horror stories I had heard about cats tearing up furniture. With a little coaching from the online community, I took the advice about making available a range of toys for constructive play time to stimulate their interest and curiosity. As a result, I would be less likely to have a bored cat that would be prone to taking their energy to my leather sofas.
Plus, I don’t know if all cats are like that, but Miss Ivy doesn’t like the texture of a cold leather sofa anyway. If I leave a soft cozy blanket on a couch, she will often curl up and take a nap on it.
In the same vein as “destructiveness”, I was afraid that my house would be covered in scratch marks. My good friends encouraged me to install scratching posts and scratching boxes in various locations of the house, and to periodically spray them with liquid catnip to keep drawing her back to use them. It worked.
Plus the other trick I learned was to keep the tips of her nails trimmed and blunt so that her nails aren’t sharp enough to cut into anything. Weekly manicures seem to keep that in check.
5- Will I be a good parent?
In never having raised a cat, I was worried about whether I’d be able to fulfill the emotional needs of a creature of another species.
Fortunately, there are some great sources of information on the Web with encouraging information to help any feline-parent relationship start off on the right foot and for the maintenance of a harmonious relationship.
I always felt a little guilty about the idea of getting a pet and then leaving her alone on the days I need to go into work. That is, until I got to see for myself how much a cat can sleep in a day. And when I come home, as long as I offer her food and some one-on-one attention like some quality game time, she doesn’t seem to show signs of feeling lonely.
When I die, I want to come back as an indoor cat. It looks like a great way to spend a day!
It’s a frightening sound when she is winding up to cough up a fur ball. Just a few days ago, she started the dry heaves when she was sitting on the chair back of the sofa, while I was horizontally on the couch, right below her. I haven’t moved that quickly in years.
Fortunately, this was one of those cases (as it is most times with Ivy) that the hairball noise is often followed by a gulping sound and she swallows it back, bringing an overwhelming sense of relief to all.
In total, she may have brought up 2 hairballs in 2 years. I count myself exceptionally lucky!
2- Behavioural issues
I was so afraid. When you see a pet at the shelter, how do you know whether they are the perfect friend or whether they are a ticking time bomb of destructiveness or passive aggressive behaviour? Luckily, it doesn’t look like she pulls power moves like that. She’s got me wrapped around her little finger anyway, so it’s not like she needs to prove anything to become dominant alpha cat in the house.
Now that she’s grown into a wonderful adult cat, she is used to the sights and sounds around the house and she walks around with regal confidence. We both know who rules this kingdom. It’s not that I am overly permissive but rarely do I have to think about boundaries or discipline, because she never misbehaves.
I have a really good kitty.
1- Will she like me? Will we have chemistry?
At first I really wasn’t sure she was happy here, but a few weeks into it and multiple play and petting sessions, we became the best of friends. Now I think we are completing each others’ sentences, metaphorically speaking, as we are pretty much on the same wave length.
Despite the worst-case scenarios I have read online before getting Ivy, I am so lucky that I took the plunge into pet ownership.
She really is an easy cat to take care of and we are both incredibly lucky to have each other!
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Have a great day,