Owning a Cat

Let’s talk about cat ownership.

This is Molly.

Michael and I adopted Molly in January, and I thought that now would be a good time to talk about the process of merging her into our family.

I can’t remember a time when I haven’t had a cat. Savanna (pictured below) was my baby growing up, and having her to cuddle and love was one of my greatest pleasures.

Unfortunately, when I moved into town with my boyfriend, I knew I couldn’t bring her along. She’s an indoor-outdoor cat, and moving to and apartment in the city, where we would have never been able to let her outside, was simply out of the question.

For me, though, a house (or apartment) is not a home without a cat.

So when I moved in with Michael in January, I made it clear that I wanted to add a cat to our family.

Now, I don’t generally believe in fate or destiny or anything, but even I have to admit it was serendipitous the way that we found Molly. A friend of Michael’s found her as a stray in January, back when it was getting dangerously cold here in Michigan. His friend couldn’t keep her, and since we were planning on getting a cat soon anyway, we decided it was a sign, and went to pick her up just a few days after we first heard about her.

Often times, I have a very hard time believing that our dear Molly was ever a stray. She is the sweetest, most affectionate cat I’ve ever encountered.

From the very first day we brought her home, she loved to rub up against us, and purred like mad at the slightest provocation.

Initially, I was concerned that perhaps Molly was not a stray after all. So much so that the first time I took her to the vet, I asked what the vet thought about the possibility of her having had a previous owner.

Molly wasn’t spayed or microchipped when we found her, though, and at 7 or 8 months old, it was overdue. That, combined with being out in such freezing temperatures, made it quite unlikely that she’d had someone who cared for her.

So there’s the backstory, now for the heart of this post:

Owning a cat is far more complex than I anticipated.

I absolutely adore Molly, and I truly believe that it would have been a mistake if we had chosen not to adopt her.

That being said, here are a few things that I didn’t think about before adopting Molly.

First of all, the litter box has to be cleaned out every day. Every. Single. Day. If we don’t keep it clean, it smells, and even worse than that, she might go elsewhere in the apartment. When I lived at home, Savanna was an outside cat, and especially in warmer months she would just go outside to do her business.

Cat food is expensive. Especially if you’re particular, like we are, about getting grain free products. This is better for Molly’s health, but boy does it hurt my wallet.

Speaking of hurting my wallet, don’t get me started on vet bills. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t begrudge a single penny I’ve spent to make sure that Molly is – and stays – healthy, but it has been more expensive than I expected. Since we adopted her in January, I’ve had to take her to the vet 4 times. That’s for various shots, as well as her spay surgery. It adds up.

Something else I didn’t realize is that indoor cats have much more limited diets than outside ones. Back home, we just set food out for Savanna, and she ate when she felt like it. But my vet gave me a specific calorie count to keep Molly at, and boy does she hate that. She gets extremely rowdy and noisy (never have I known a cat to be as incessantly vocal as Molly!) around her meal times, which makes it so hard not to give her more. You’d think she was dying if starvation, the way she cries at meal times!

Apparently, you also can’t leave ANYTHING out on tables our counters when you have a cat. Or at least not when you have a greedy cat like ours.

Just the other day, I left some leftover rolls in a bag out on the counter after dinner. I looked over a few hours later, and there was Molly with the bag in her mouth, trying to rip into the bag for the food!

She has apparently partnered herself with our dog, as well, because Fen goes for anything Molly knocks off the table. This includes treats and people food, but also apparently my wooden knitting needles.

Michael and I have learned, after one very frantic vet appointment, that absolutely nothing small enough to be knocked off, edible or not, can be left on the counters.

On the subject of Fen, one thing that has been a positive surprise is that she and Molly get along so well.

They took a little bit of getting used to one another, but they play together have no problem sharing cuddle space.

As I said, I wouldn’t trade Molly for the world. But if we ever decide to get another pet, I’m glad to know I’ll be so much more prepared.

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