11 Disadvantages of Having a Cat

11 Disadvantages of Having a Cat

Cats can bring their owners a lot of joy, but they can also require quite a bit of work, can cause damage and it can also get quite expensive to keep one. While we love our cats as much as the next cat owner, lets look the disadvantages.

Here is a list of 11 disadvantages of having a cat:

1. Cats are aloof.

Simply put, cats are not like dogs who are people-pleasers. Felines will not wait for you at the door, wagging their tails in anticipation. Although recent studies have discovered that cats are capable of forming bonds with other felines, humans, and even dogs, do not expect a cat to be, well, a dog. 

Initially, people domesticated cats to help keep vermin in check. It is only in the last 50 years that breeders developed programs to breed for specific personality traits. In terms of sociability, cats have a long way to catch up with their canine counterparts.

2. Cats will destroy your stuff

Owning a cat can sometimes mean saying goodbye to nice things. Felines are known to scratch furniture and carpets and knock things off shelves and tables.

Cats scratch different surfaces for a variety of reasons. One of the main reasons why a kitty scratches surfaces is to loosen the outer husk of his claw. In turn, this facilitates the release of a sharper claw. Scratching is also a form of exercise for cats. This readies them for strenuous activities like hunting.

Cats also use scratching as a form of communication. A feline’s paws contain sweat and scent glands that produce a unique scent that cats use to mark their territories.

On the other hand, cats knock off items from tables and shelves either because they want to play with that object or just to get your attention.

3. Cats are easily stressed.

Stress in cats has been associated with a host of bad behaviors. Worse, chronic or prolonged stress in cats can also lead to health problems.

But worse of all, it takes little to stress your pet cat. Among the most common stress triggers in felines are visits to the vet, the addition of new members to the household (human or pet), moving to a new house, parties, and even adding a piece of new furniture or item in your home.

Essentially, what this means is that your life can be held hostage by your cat. You have to be mindful of the changes that you want to implement and how any of these can potentially impact your pet’s wellbeing.

Although there are a few strategies that you can implement to minimize, if not totally eliminate, the stress in a cat, you will have to embrace the fact that your life will revolve, at least in part, around your cat’s anxiety.

4. Cats are hard to train.

Whether you want to teach a cat a cool trick or simply to behave in a specific way, you are in for an uphill climb. Compared to dogs, cats are harder to train. Possible but difficult.

A lot of that has to do with how your cat’s brain works. Unlike dogs that will go through lengths to tire a prey, cats evaluate the risks versus the rewards. Your cat will not respond to training if he does not feel that the reward you are offering is worth the effort.

Another reason why cats are harder to train than dogs is that they are still essentially wild animals. Compared to dogs, cats have not been fully domesticated. To a large degree, cats have retained much of their wild instincts.

In a cat’s mind, their humans are just larger cats. Plus, they do not fully understand the idea of people being bosses. 

5. You will have to clean the litter box regularly.

One of the chief advantages of owning a cat is that you can train your pet to use the litter box anytime he needs to. No need to go out of the house when it is raining or snowing at an ungodly hour. But that same advantage can be a major drawback. 

Apart from containing the smell, you need to clean the litter box regularly, otherwise, you are inviting harm to your pet and your family.

Cats are fastidious creatures and they will not use their litter boxes if they feel that these are dirty. And when your cat does not use his litter box, peeing and pooping in other places are the least of your concerns. 

The worst-case scenario is that your cat will hold in his urine and poop. These, in turn, can lead to medical problems, like a urinary blockage.

Cats can also pass diseases to their humans via their feces, including Toxoplasma. Toxoplasmosis can cause problems for pregnant women. Additionally, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems should not handle kitty litter.

Cleaning the litter box is not the most pleasant chore. Nonetheless, it is vital for you and your pet’s health and wellbeing.

6. Cats can cause allergies.

Runny nose? Itchy eyes? Rashes? You are probably allergic to your cat.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America or AAFA, roughly a third of Americans are allergic to dogs and cats. Of that number, the people allergic to cats are twice as many as those that are allergic to dogs. You are most likely to become allergic to your cat if you have someone in your family who is also allergic to felines.

When a person is allergic to cats, his immune system tries to ward off allergens. In this case, the allergen can be the proteins found in a cat’s fur, saliva, dander or dead skin cells, or urine. When you breathe in these particles, your immune system goes on the offensive, causing the symptoms of the allergy.

Cat allergy has also been known to cause fatigue, acute asthma, and other breathing difficulties.

The best defense against a cat allergy is staying away from a feline. If that is not a viable option, your doctor can prescribe antihistamines, corticosteroids, cromolyn sodium, or leukotriene inhibitors. You may also want to explore immunotherapy which helps people become desensitized to allergens.

7. Cats will bring you dead animals.

Contrary to what some people may believe, cats can live in packs. Although felines are more than capable of living as solitary animals, they can form bonds with other cats and people that they consider as members of their pack.

And while it may be heartwarming to learn that your cat considers you as a member of his pack, there is one major drawback that you need to be aware of: your furry little pal can bring you “gifts.” Thousands of years of domestication have done little to change the intrinsic qualities of cats, including their prey drive.

If you live in a rural area, this prey drive can be an invaluable quality, helping you control the rodent population on your property. But if you live in a suburban area or a city, this can mean receiving a dead (or half-dead) mouse, lizard, or cockroach at your footstep.

Apart from their hunting instincts, cats gift their humans with dead animals because they want to share the fruits of their hunt. This means that your cat thinks of you as a member of his family and he is trying to feed you and teach you how to hunt.

Worse, you cannot eliminate these instincts. Fortunately, you can redirect this behavior through play.

8. You will have cat hair everywhere.

Cat hair everywhere, from your clothes to your furniture and even on the bedding. Cat hair is a reality that you will learn to live by when you own a feline.

Typically, cats that live almost exclusively outdoors will shed heavily at least twice a year, keeping pace with the changing of the seasons. But as more and more cats live most of their lives inside homes, they are exposed almost non-stop to artificial lighting. In turn, this messes up their internal clocks and body rhythms. This simply means that your cat will shed practically all the time.

And although there are a few measures that you can enforce to minimize the amount of fur that your cat sheds, from regular brushing to feeding your cat with nutritious meals, you will still have to deal with cat hair all around you.

9. Cats are finicky eaters.

Your cat jumps on the bed and meows constantly, trying his best to wake you up when the sun has not yet risen. Time to feed him. You rise up, clumsily, heading straight to the cupboard. You open a can of the new cat food that you bought and place its content into the food bowl. 

And then your cat just ignores his food.

Cats have earned a reputation for being finicky eaters. And scientists have come up with various reasons to explain this behavior.

In the wild, cats eat meat exclusively. Their tongues do not have taste receptors for sugars. Domestic cats retain this characteristic. This is why cats need to eat foods that are rich in protein instead of those that consist mostly of carbohydrates.

Furthermore, cats are hunters that prefer to take their time while eating, preferably alone. Dogs, on the other hand, are pack animals that must compete with other dogs.

This means that your cat needs to be relaxed during meal times. This is why some felines encourage their humans to watch or pet them while they are eating.

Additionally, cats have a few preferences. For one, cats like foods that have a strong aroma. Their sense of taste is weaker and they have to compensate with their sense of smell. They also prefer warm foods as these tend to give off stronger smells. And in terms of texture, they will readily choose moist and solid foods.

10. Cats will pee everywhere.

You bought the best litter box that you can afford, thinking that your pet deserves it. And then he rewards you by urinating everywhere except the litter box. Inappropriate urination is a problem frequently encountered by cat owners. This problem can be attributed either to medical conditions or behavioral issues.

Among the most common medical problems that have been linked to inappropriate urination in cats are urinary tract infection, the presence of bladder stones, inflammation of the bladder, and metabolic diseases.

A cat may also avoid using the litter box if it is dirty. Remember, cats are fastidious creatures. Even the slightest hint of the smell of urine and poop can make them avoid using a litter box. It does not help that cats can smell these scents even if you do not.

Stress can also play a crucial role in this inappropriate behavior. Specifically, if you have adopted another pet, the resident cat may feel threatened and avoid using the litter box to go about his business.

Sometimes, even the smallest changes in your living environment can also stress your pet and encourage him to pee where he should not.

11. Cats wake their humans in the middle of the night.

After coming home from work, you went straight to bed, spent from working long hours. But minutes after laying yourself on the bed, your cat jumps in and tries his best to wake you up.

Cats are naturally nocturnal animals, asleep during the day and awake and active at night. However, most cats can adapt to their owners’ schedules. And if your pet wakes you up in the middle of the night, it can be a symptom of a larger problem at hand.

For instance, if you leave your cat at home alone for a substantial period, it is highly likely that he will get bored. And when you get home, he will be looking for companionship and interaction with you. If you spend most of your time at home sleeping, your cat’s only option to get your attention is to wake you up.

Your cat may also wake you up in the middle of the night if he gets hungry or thirsty. Some cats may also wake their humans if they cannot use their litter boxes because these have been disturbed.

The unwanted behavior may also be a sign that your cat is sick. Among the most common disorders that can trigger this behavior are high blood pressure, arthritis, and hyperthyroidism.

Sometimes, your cat wakes you up just because your schedules are no longer in sync with one another. For this, you will need to train your cat (and yourself) to match your sleeping schedule with his.

Caveat emptor

Adopting a cat is a major life decision that should not be taken lightly. Many shelters are filled with unwanted cats because people made the decision of adopting a pet on impulse.

If you are planning on adding a cat to your household, you should be aware, not only of the benefits. More importantly, you should know what the disadvantages are. 

And if you feel that the pros outweigh the cons, if you feel that you are ready to take on the responsibility of taking care of a living being, only then should you take the next steps involved in bringing a cat into your home.

Image: istockphoto.com / Arseniy45