Cat Parenthood for Beginners, by a Beginner
by Mistral Salas
Two weeks ago, I set out one sunny afternoon to find the love of my life. Actually, I do that every day but that’s a topic for a later date. KIDDING. A few shelters later, I found the embodiment of love in a black domestic short-haired male kitten. After many hours of deliberation, the verdict was out that my new child was to be named Vino. This sweet two-and-a-half-pound animal is my very first pet that is solely mine—fed by me, cleaned up after by me, sponsored by me, and cared for by me. Vino has stolen the heart of many in his short time with me, and he’s just getting started. Speaking of getting started, I thought I would share some experiences and tips for those of you interested in (hopefully adopting) a kitty of your own.
1. Dolla Dolla Billz
I weighed the pros and cons of bringing a cat into the picture and obviously the pros won. Not only does your pet keep you company, but it also brings you a new sense of responsibility (yay adulthood!) I spent less about $100 in cat adoption fees and around $50 more on a couple of essentials to make it through the first few days. When I got home that night, I spent about $65 online on toys and food from an online company called Chewy. It’s cheaper than Petco or Petsmart! Litter from Walmart and a trip to the vet for a wellness check have also made me dish out a few extra bucks, but this kitten is tiny and as of now is not demanding a ton of food (he is, however, over-excelling in the bowel area—more on that in a bit). Plus, cats typically require less money than dogs do. Still, spending money is a given when you are caring for a living creature, so prepare your wallet.
2. Sharing is Caring
Sharing your space with an animal is just that: sharing SPACE. In just a few days, my sweet kitten who was too small to jump on my bathroom counter began to try to make it up. Granted, he struggled and had a few instances of hanging on desperately while staring at me in distress, but now he can make it every few tries. He has also learned to use the printer to get on the island in the kitchen. He turns said printer on a 2am and I walk in to find him in the sink drinking water. It’s kind of tradition now! Luckily he hasn’t been able to reach the other counter in the kitchen with the stove (terrified of that ever happening).
I have also had to move a few plants out of his reach. He enjoys taking a few bites out of the leaves as well as ripping them to shreds. FYI, make sure the plants you have in your home aren’t poisonous to your pet. My ivy was so I had to move it. Having a cat doesn’t necessarily go with my apartment aesthetic, but I didn’t mind bending for Vino. Moral of this point: you budge for them, not the other way around.
PSA: keep your toilet lid CLOSED. Of course when they are tiny this is extremely important. But one afternoon I was about to head out and while brushing my teeth, I heard a loud splash followed by a tiny creature sprinting out, wet and shaken. It was hilarious. At least now I know he won’t drown (I still keep it closed though to spare his dignity).
It is what it is. Your cat will poop. He or she will not be able to clean up after themselves. You will humble yourself and clean that litter box everyday, and dispose of the offense immediately. You will also be required to clean the entire litter box and bleach it every now and then too. Cats are clean creatures! They would clean it themselves if they had opposing thumbs, I’m sure.
Your cat might even be so new to the whole litter box thing that he accidentally makes one wrong move and gets his very own stool on his tail. Confused and embarrassed, he decides to play it cool and frolic like nothing is wrong. You’ll wake up to a fresh hellish scent and realize what has happened, grab the cat and bathe him in the sink at 7am, and proceed to clean your entire bedding after just finishing laundry the day before.
Or maybe you won’t. Keep your fingers crossed.
All in all, a cat is worth it. I love the heck out of Vino and I’m in it for the long haul. He’s the most precious creature in the world despite his flaws—but we’re still getting used to each other. Friday night, I got hungry around 12am and went in for some chips and salsa. As I gorged myself to my heart’s desire, Vino wanted in on the action. He was too close and I was too hungry, so yes, I dropped salsa on my cat. He still hasn’t learned my food is off limits. It was embarrassing for me and for him, but mostly him. It was my salsa! I washed it off of him immediately and went back to my bliss. Sharing your life with a cat is funny.
Since then, he’s been a tad bit more careful around my food (barely). I think the salsa incident humbled him.