I started with other people’s cats. Then no cats. Then 2 cats. Now 3 cats. They love me, and not in the overstimulating way that dogs tend to show love.
Which is what I need: love that is soft, fluffy, and also calm. Also, honestly, for me, meowing is much less stressful than barking.
1. Cats are mostly self-sufficient, especially with the right tools.
Full disclosure: I have had all 3 of my cats since they were kittens (one of which is still a kitten), and I have been able to train them to like various forms of attention that other cats might protest against, and to keep from doing things like scratching furniture and chewing on things (for the most part). The times when they forget (or “forget”), as soon as I tell them their special version of “No,” they stop. A little bit of training in the beginning makes them a lot better off in the end. They usually don’t need baths because they clean themselves. Indoor cats use a litter box and don’t need to be let outside, and then back inside, and then back outside, and then inside, and outside and inside, and NO I am NOT gonna leave the door open for you! They have a self-cleaning litter box, a timed feeder, and a water fountain. All of these things make them even more low-maintenance than they might otherwise be.
Links to my: self-cleaning litterbox, its reuseable tray, my favorite crystal litter (more reliably available and usually cheaper at PetSmart), timed feeder, pet water fountain (with filter), and replacement filters. My stuff is the stuff I got from friends and Craigslist, and is over 2 years old – so there are better products out there. But, these are the ones I can attest to.
Back to my cats. And cats in general that I have met.
2. Cats are good for my mental health.
In case you have not read anything else from me, it is somewhat relevant to note that I am bipolar. Sometimes, I can’t just feel better. Sometimes I am illogically lost in a depressive streak. Sometimes humans just can’t deal with that, because it brings them down, and that is okay. They need their mental health too. Cats, however, being calm creatures with relatively small needs, who are mostly self-sufficient, can be a wonderful comforting presence.
Cats are not all aloof and spiteful, like the stereotypes. They are often very cuddly and loving. Some of them love kisses and belly rubs and toe massages. At least mine do.
So, when I am depressive af, and am laying on the couch uselessly, with some kind of Netflix or YouTube or Hulu or Prime on the TV (if I made it to the remotes before I became too useless to move), I usually have at least one cat who has curled up in my lap or somewhere close by.
Purring is a very comforting noise. It is a comforting feeling. The soft belly rumbles of a cat are a sign that they love you, and it is quite possibly the best feeling ever. And when you are depressed, having a cat that is willing to remain near you, give you attention, and purr in your lap, is one small sign that things just might be okay – which means a lot.
3. Cats are playful in hilarious ways.
Cats are not necessarily all chill, though. If you find the right toy, such as:
- a laser pointer
- jingly balls
- crinkly balls
- mouse/mouse-like toys
- feathers on sticks
- twist ties
- water bottles and/or their caps
- Nerf darts mysteriously found in random places
- literally anything plastic that slides across the floor
- the scarf you are trying to quickly put on while running late
- the mysterious moving object under the blanket that is either my deliberate attempt at endangering my hand for cuteness, OR my sleeping toes
- sheets, especially if you are trying to make the bed
- wrapping paper
- the tail of one of your other cats
- your fun flowy skirt, especially if you’re walking by and trying to reach a destination
- a coin they found on the floor (I had to take that one away for fear she would swallow it)
Once you find the right toy, the game is afoot. I have made my cats become so excited that they have done literal backflips to catch a thing. It is precious, hilarious, and made of pure joy.
4. Cats are relatively small, and therefore good for smaller living spaces.
Unless you have a Norwegian giant catasaurus, cats are a reasonably small pet. They are not as unpredictable as many dog species (I’ve known many people who have bought small puppies and were told they were toy-sized or small-sized breeds which grew to be giant, Clifford the Big Red Dog style). Their voices are also relatively small, unlike even small dogs (like yapping chihuahuas). They use vertical space (or at least, many cats do), rather than horizontal space, so with some cat trees and accessible bookcases, they have a whole exciting world to explore.
5. Cats are territorial, but not in an “I’m gonna eat the mailperson” or “That pizza delivery person will know my wrath!” way.
I can safely answer the door without fire and fury running ahead of me. My neighbors are also unbothered by the meows of my cats, because they can’t hear them. The soft meows are especially great when I have migraines. Even in a small apartment, the most territorial they get is “no touchy!” before running away. You might get a cat that swipes at you, but proper training can usually curb that behavior (although some cats have PTSD, and should be handled more carefully). Their usual way of handling any discomfort of people they don’t know is to lurk in corners or high above where they can keep an eye on things. Their usual way of handling fear is to hiss and/or run away. But for me, the best part is not worrying about them running out the door angrily at the person bringing me exciting goodies. (My roommate’s dog did the whole barking and running to the door thing and terrified the pizza delivery woman who had a fear of dogs – not ideal.)
Cats are great. I love them dearly. They are just my speed, and suit my pet needs. I hope this helps anyone who is looking for reasons to get a cat, or ways to make having a cat easier.
Tweet me @PandoraCray!