A buddy who runs a rescue told me a tale today. A guy wanted to adopt a cat from a rescue organization. The only issue was that he’d just purchased new furniture and wanted a cat that wouldn’t scratch his leather sofa. Oh, and he needs a cat with impeccable litter box habits.
I do, in fact, live with the ideal cat. Miss Perfect Cat prefers to scratch on tree trunks and scratching posts rather than the sofa. Her litter box habits are impeccable. And she’s a lovely friend who is nice and compassionate. She enjoys going on walks with me, and every night she cuddles up next me and licks my hand until I fall asleep. Really. She’s the ideal cat, and she’s also stunning.
But I’m aware that Miss Perfect Cat isn’t always perfect. She may need various litter boxes and scratching setups as she matures. Elderly cats, like elderly humans, may need unique accommodations as well as additional tolerance and affection.
The guy received a scathing response. He was advised that getting a cat was not a good idea for him. The organization receives far too many requests from shelters and individuals who just do not have the patience or flexibility to live with a cat or any other animal friend. The rescue was not going to adopt him and then have the cat returned, or worse, join the kill shelter system, because of “poor behavior.”
I’ve realized throughout the years that not everyone who wants a cat should have one. Adopting a cat, after all, is a long-term commitment. A cat’s average lifetime is 16 years, although many live considerably longer. It’s also a financial and lifestyle commitment. If the idea of having litter boxes in areas that are handy for the cat but not necessary for you does not appeal to you, you should definitely avoid adding a cat to your household. If your new furniture is more important to you than anything else, you should probably not have an animal friend to ruin it.
Remember that cats (and dogs) build close relationships with their family members of all kinds, and rehoming or bringing them to a shelter may actually shatter their hearts. Please also consider your choice carefully. It’s your new cat’s life that’s at stake!
If you’re curious about Miss Perfect Cat, she was discovered walking the streets of Baltimore with a flea collar implanted in her neck by a kind stranger. She spent a fortune on veterinary treatment and intended to keep her. But her cat despised her so much that he became ill, so she donated her to the Howard County Cat Club. After a year at our shelter, I made the decision that if no one else wanted her, I would. Cat things typically happen for a reason, and maybe Miss ideal cat was intended to be the perfect cat for me.