Life is better with a pet. Having a pet has been shown to provide myriad benefits for both physical and mental health, but if you’re starting out on the journey of caring for an animal, you might be wondering what the best choice would be. We’re here to make the case for the time-honoured domestic cat. A feline companion has much to offer, contrary to what cats’ much-maligned reputation might suggest. Here are 12 reasons you should consider getting a cat if you’re in the market for a pet.
1. They’re adorable
There’s a good reason cats are the internet’s favourite animal. The fact is that these furry little miscreants are simply adorable. Everything they do, from washing themselves to purring contentedly on your lap, seems machine-tooled to get humans to love them. When you get a cat, if you don’t fall instantly in love as soon as you see those big eyes staring up at you, then you might want to check to make sure you have a pulse.
2. They’re very clean
You won’t need to give cats baths except in very unusual circumstances. Most cats are capable of keeping themselves clean, so even if they come in from a day of chasing birds in the back garden, they’ll wash themselves with no need for you to plunge them into a potentially traumatising bath of water. For the most part, you can allow your cat to be the master of their own hygiene.
3. They catch bugs
While it’s not a good idea to let your cat kill bugs if you can help it – they contribute to a delicate ecosystem, after all – the fact is that if a spider is running amok in your house, a cat can be a great alarm system. Their in-built hunting instincts will ensure that they seek out and capture any spiders or other creepy-crawlies that might be lurking in the corners of your home, so watch what they do carefully.
4. You don’t need to walk them
It’s definitely a good idea to get regular physical exercise, and many pets can help you to do that. However, when you have a cat, you get to dictate your own exercise schedule. You won’t need to worry about “walking the cat”, because for the most part, they will pursue their own workout regimen, so to speak. Running around the house and chasing toys will usually be enough for cats to maintain physical fitness.
5. They’re generally very independent
If you like the idea of your pet doing their own thing until they want to hang out with you, then a cat is definitely the right pet for you. Dogs can be very needy and attached, and while this is also true of some cats, most felines are very independent. They’ll be there if you want to pet them, but they’re also happy being left to their own devices, which is ideal if you’re more in the market for a furry flatmate.
6. They’ll catch rats
Cats have a reputation as ratcatchers, and that reputation is well-earned; in fact, it’s one of the reasons humans domesticated cats thousands of years ago. When you have cats, you can consider your home rodent-free (assuming the cats aren’t lazy, of course). They’ll seek out and hunt rats or mice with laser focus and precision, so if you’re worried about rats encroaching on your home, get a cat.
7. They reduce stress
Cats have been proven to reduce stress in their owners. Just having a cat sitting happily on your lap and purring away can make the stresses and trials of the day melt away. It’s not all in your head, either; petting cats produces stress-relieving hormones, so there’s biological evidence to show that cats are great if you’re having a hard time. They truly are magical companions.
8. They can reduce allergies in children
Getting cats when your children are at an early age can actually help to stave off allergic reactions later in life. Pet exposure doesn’t just help to reduce allergies to that specific pet, though; rather, it also helps to alleviate allergic reactions to other pets, as well as dust and other common allergies. If you want to reinforce your kids’ immune systems, get yourself a cat!
9. They make great photos
If you’ve seen the legion of cat photos available on the internet, you’ll know that cats are naturally very photogenic. Therefore, if you love taking pictures of your pet, a cat is a great choice. They’re very expressive animals and can often be found making a wide variety of facial expressions that make them ideal for photographing. Make sure to try and catch your cat unawares!
10. They cost less than dogs
Cats and dogs are far and away the two most popular choices for pets, and they both have their benefits. If you’re minding your money, though, cats are the obvious choice, as they cost significantly less to care for than dogs. They require less food and fewer toys, and they don’t need to be taken to the groomers either (unless they’re a particularly long-haired breed).
11. You can have them in flats
Most pets aren’t appropriate for flats, because they need more space to run around. Not so cats – unless your apartment is absolutely tiny, you can have a cat in your flat and it won’t be any worse off than it would in a larger space. What’s more, cats are very clean, very tidy animals who won’t disrupt other residents, which makes them ideal for larger apartment blocks.
12. They can be left alone
Many pets, such as dogs, will pine and whine when you leave them. For the most part, cats won’t do this (although, as ever, individual mileage will vary depending on the animal). Cats are highly independent creatures who can easily be left alone for hours at a time. They’ll amuse themselves, so don’t worry if you have to go to work all day – just know your cat will be there to greet you when you return!