Don’t get a cat . . . unless you’re like this

Too many cats. Too few homes. Bleak situation.

Everyone says, “Rescue a cat. Go out and save a life.”

I say, don’t do it, unless you know yourself.

Think about road rage. You know how people act on the road. You know how people act on New York streets when someone gets in their way.  Some people get not just angry, but enraged.  They want to vent on whoever is around them. Maybe they use harsh words, or yell or give a look that speaks volumes.

When they get home, if no one is around, maybe they kick the cat. They scream at the cat. They throw the cat. Normal people, people you think are fine, can do this. Nowadays, there’s not much that’s more shameful than hitting a cat. Doesn’t mean it’s not done.

Who is most likely to hit a cat? My guess is that perfectionists are the most likely to lash out.  Slobs don’t care if the cat scratches the sofa! So what. The slob throws their food in the sink and lets it sit for days. You think they’re going to care about a scratch on the sofa? You think they’ll care if the cat walks over the dining room table? Nawww.

It’s the perfectionists who CAN NOT DEAL WITH IT. They tell the cat, “Get off the table.” The cat sits down and licks its paw. Ms. or Mr. Perfectionist’s face turns red. They scream. The cat hides. Not good enough. They track down the cat and blam, smack the cat’s body.  It happens.

Slobs will neglect, but they won’t attack.

Then you have the owners who get it right.  Judging by the number of cats returned to shelters, the ones who get it right are far fewer than we’d wish. For many people, having a cat is too much. They can’t deal with it. Can’t fight human nature. If it’s too much, it’s too much. I think it’s time to stop pressuring people to adopt. Adoption can be worse than the alternative. I support trap-neuter-return and I support thoughtful, cautious adoption.

The New York City Personality and Cats

The NYC personality is high-energy and LOUD and talkative. Words, words, words. Quick movements. Combined with the small enclosures where we reside, this makes an interesting setting for cats. New Yorkers feed off high energy.  Does your cat feed off the energy, or is she unsettled?

Give your cat a quiet, comfortable, dark space to rest.

Your cat may be sociable and high-energy, which means you’re lucky because you and your cat are in harmony. If your cat seeks out quiet spaces, take the hint. Your cat needs a break from the New York Personality.

“Rescue cats” really rescued?

Rescue can look a lot like prison. It DOES look a lot like prison in more than a few homes I visit.

Prison

No stimulation except when the guards allow you to have stimulation

Guards make every decision for you, without consulting you

Every day the same

Forced to live with those you don’t like (other cats adopted for “company”)

Same food every day

Very little exercise

Never feel the sun on your hair or the wind at your back

True rescue

Abundance of stimulation

Toys, play time, petting

Access to a window or to the outdoors

Varied food or treats

Opportunities to exercise — scratching posts, tree houses, active playtime with owner

Owner makes decisions while considering your needs

Very fat cats. Try to help them lose weight.

“I’m busy.” “I don’t know how to do it.” “She cries if I don’t give her more food.” “She’s lonely and the food makes her feel better.” “She’s cute this way.” “Losing weight can be dangerous.”

Trying to help your very fat cat lose weight is easier and less costly than the injections, veterinary visits, grooming sessions, oral medications and sadness you’ll experience as severe obesity takes its toll on your cat. I’m not talking about a chubby cat or even a fat cat. I’m talking about very fat cats who waddle instead of walk. They can’t jump. They can’t play. Humans have dominion over the world. Besides which, we buy the kibble. Surely we can figure out a way to help the pussy cat lose weight.  That stuff inside our head is called a brain. We can use it to do cool stuff like help our pets. Just takes perseverance and creativity.