Did you know that cats are considered pets for more than 9000 years? Already in the Egyptian civilization, they were highly valued as pets and can even be represented in their artistic manifestations.
Currently, in many countries such as the United Kingdom or the United States, they are already the most popular mascot. And they are great companions and they have won us with their games, mimes, and tricks.
But are cats the best pet for everyone? In this article, we tell you everything you need to know before having a cat at home, the advantages and disadvantages and some curiosities that are sure to surprise you.
How are cats?
Cats have a particular character and different from other pets. Although you can not generalize because everyone has their own personality, there are common features that characterize them. They tend to be independent, curious and careful with the cleanliness of their surroundings.
Adult cats spend most of the day in low activity, and naps which are usually taken for several hours. They are very agile and their game form is almost always a hunting sequence, follow a string or stay crouched to jump on their toy.
Another important activity in their daily life is preening and staying clean. Also, they do not like that their environment dirty, if their sand tray is not clean enough they may look for alternative places to relieve themselves.
Cats are curious, especially they like high places to watch and feel protected. If they have a window, they can spend looking at it for a long time.
Cats, like dogs, have very complex communication systems. Within its own species, communication is based on body postures, sounds and smells that mark the territory or members of the same herd. Cats have also developed other mechanisms to relate to the human species. Meows are the most effective way to get the attention of humans, for example, they use vocalizations to communicate with us and in rare cases to communicate with other cats.
When it comes to having a cat you should also bear in mind that they are very sensitive to changes. If a cat gets used to living in a house since he is small, it is not advisable to radically change the place where he lives. Cats are easily stressed with this type of change so you must be clear about what your space will be before adopting it.
If you want to know what a cat can do for you, do not miss the following list of scientifically proven reasons for the benefits of having a cat.
Scientific reasons that show that a cat is good for you
Recent studies indicate that having a pet, especially a cat, is beneficial to human health for different reasons.
Cats have a positive impact on mental health, something that owners of cats know too well that caressing them can be very therapeutic and helps relax them from daily tensions. This is reflected in a survey of 600 people by the organization of Cats Protection, in which 87% of cat owners declared that their pets have a positive impact on their welfare.
The most surprising thing is that these beneficial effects can also be obtained through the screen. A study by Indiana Bloomington University involving more than 7,000 people concluded that watching videos of cats increases energy and positive emotions in those who see it, and decreases negative feelings.
Cats reduce the risk of heart disease. Having a pet has positive aspects of your cardiovascular health. Petting your cat often is an effective method to control anxiety.
It is shown that people who live with them reduce their stress level and blood pressure, factors that are closely related to heart disease. Recent studies suggest that people with cats have a lower risk of death from heart attacks, including stroke. (Cat ownership and the Risk of Fatal Cardiovascular Diseases, Results from the Second National Health and Nutrition Examination Study Mortality Follow-up Study)
In children with psychic and social problems, a cat can be very helpful. Researchers at the University of Missouri discovered that children with autism who had pets in their environment improved their social interaction.A child that has a cat they values such as respect, responsibility, and assertiveness.
Cats are capable of emitting a peculiar sound that we know as a purr. The mechanism to produce it is not very clear but according to the American veterinarian, WR McCuistion.
Felines use this sound as part of their communication between their own species or with humans. The purrs are common between the mother and her offspring. Traditionally it has been thought that purring was an expression of well-being, but the truth is that it often occurs in stressful and painful situations such as a visit to the veterinarian or in a post-op. It is thought that the meaning of purring could be a demand for attention and care.
Recently a study by the University of California has given a new function to the purring, this vibration could improve the state and recovery of body structures such as bones, tendons, and muscles.
Cats are very agile animals and able to recover well from their injuries. Purring could be a mechanism to stimulate your bones and muscles without spending a lot of energy and keep them healthy and active. Possibly it is the secret of “his seven lives”. Humans who live with cats can also benefit from this mechanism. The purr, like the voice, is different in each animal but its frequencies vary between 20-150 Hz. Currently, frequencies of 18-35 Hz are being used in biomechanical stimulation therapies in humans.
Prevent infections and allergies. Contact with pets at an early age has been shown to strengthen the immune system of children and make them less susceptible to infections, especially the respiratory tract. On the other hand, it seems that living with a cat and the allergens that this produces makes the children later to be less reactive to allergies.
It can even help you flirt. In studies to determine which features are attractive when looking for a partner, almost 90% of the women interviewed preferred men with pets.
Have you noticed all the advantages that cats have for humans? Well, there is more. In the following section, we will explain some other advantages that these felines have in our homes.
Pros of having a cat at home
Cats are animals with little activity for long periods, they spend most of the day sleeping or resting. This can be an advantage if for work or complicated schedules you are many hours away from home. In addition, they do not need walks or an excessively large space to move around.
At dawn and dusk, cats have their maximum activity, it is in these hours when the cat will want to play and will demand more attention. If you are going to stay several hours alone, especially if it is in which your activity increases, it would be advisable that your cat had entertainment. It can be toys, interactive games or a playmate. Some behavioral problems are solved if there are two cats in the house instead of one.
Cats are careful animals with their own hygiene. Another of the great uses they make of their time is grooming. They do not like to remain with dirty legs or careless fur, so it is difficult to get the house dirty with footprints. Of course, there is a frequent change of fur and hairs can be annoying if they remain attached to clothing and furniture.
The recommended thing is a brushing at least once a week, which can become a pleasant experience for our animal if we get used to it. The same will happen with bath time.
On the other hand, collecting animal depositions is one of the most frequent complaints of pet owners and cats have a point in favor in this issue. Almost from the first moment, they learn to use the sandbox for their needs. Of course, we must keep it clean and away from the area of food and rest.
Affectionate but independent, cats can be wildly loving animals, seek our caresses and decide that the perfect place to take a nap in our lap, but they seem to regulate the moods of their human companion. They are one of the most empathetic animals, that is, when there are visitors or the owner is with another activity they are able to disappear or return to their own tasks and when the human demands more affection, for example with an illness, the cat moves to your side.
Their behavior, gestures and general aesthetics are attractive to humans, in other words, we like to look at cats. Following his adventures is entertaining and internet is a good example of this.
Another positive aspect of cats is their behavior as indirect teachers. They are able to teach values such as patience and sweetness, which can be very helpful if you live with a child.
This can be explained by the behavior that cats have in the face of conflicts. They are not like dogs or other pets. The usual feline response to a conflict is flight, that is, with cats it is not worth screaming and fighting because they will not listen to us and the relationship with them is likely to get worse. This behavior forces us to look for other less aggressive means of communication.
Beware, when a cat feels threatened and there is no possibility of escape, his response may be the fight, it is convenient to take it into account with small children who can force this situation without realizing it.
In addition to these pros and the physical benefits that cats may have, they do the blanket function very well, they provide a very pleasant warmth and they like to sleep next to us or at the foot of the bed. But not all are advantages, coexisting with a cat can have some problems that we comment below.
The cons of having a cat
We have talked about the pros of living with a cat but there are also a number of cons that should be taken into account before adopting a cat.
His hair, skin and some components of his urine and saliva trigger allergic responses in a significant portion of the population and can become very serious. There are allergen tests to determine if a person can be allergic to cats. In case you are allergic to cats and you live with one of them extreme hygiene measures so that in the environment there are a few hairs and skin particles as possible. There are also some products that minimize the risk by preventing allergens from dispersing.
Some of the ways cats communicate can be annoying. Starting with urine is one of the behaviors that are most bothersome to owners along with scratches on the furniture (another form of marking). To avoid this, we can redirect this behavior towards another type of signaling that is less annoying, such as facial marking (cats deposit pheromones rubbing some objects with their faces). Synthetic pheromones that have a relaxing effect on the animal and avoid marking are also commercialized. In adult male cats, castration is in many cases the abandonment of this behavior.
Cats are animals that do not show their pain or it is very difficult to recognize. If our kitten is in bad shape or suffers from a disease, it is likely that it will go unnoticed until the situation is serious. To avoid this we must look at changes in their usual behavior, such as stop eating or if the fur is neglected which means that something prevents you from spending the usual time grooming.
You should also bear in mind that a good hydration is essential to maintain the good health of our kitten.
Cats are also easily stressable and sometimes it is difficult to know the cause of their agitation. Having visitors at home, a new member of the family, renovations or simply changing your usual resting area can cause anxiety in our cat. The best thing to minimize the stress of the cat would be to foresee and anticipate this type of situation using synthetic pheromones or making a progressive adaptation.
The sexual behavior of cats can also be a big con on certain occasions. During the heat the cat is more upset, usually meowing, demanding attention, rubbing and sometimes stop eating and lose a lot of weight. In very problematic cases, jealousy can be controlled with medical and surgical treatments, so the best option is to consult the veterinarian in the most appropriate manner in each case.
In order for your cat to be healthy and completely comfortable at home, we will have to adapt the space to your needs. If you want to know how and what are the basic care that cats need, continue reading the following section.
Suggestions when caring for a cat
For the cat to have a suitable environment you will need a rest area, with a comfortable temperature and where you feel protected. We can also include a scraper where the nails can be filed, that will prevent scratching furniture or walls.
As for the hygiene of your cat, it will be necessary to have a sand tray or other industrial binder to meet their needs. It is recommended to have a tray in the house and it should be clean and away from the feeding or resting area, thus avoiding rejection problems.
The change of fur is continuous in cats although it is accentuated at some times of the year. Frequent brushing will improve the appearance of our cat and prevent hairs from spreading throughout the home.
The socialization of the cat is important so that the coexistence with him is pleasant. In the education of the cat, we must avoid cries, sudden movements and of course blows. As we have already mentioned, the way cats play is a sequence of depredation, so it is recommended that we do not play with them directly with your hands. It may not be a problem as a child, but they can injure us when they are adults. For this, it is preferable to use toys or canes.
The food and water intake are very important factors for the life of your cat. Their needs will vary depending on the age of the animal, lifestyle and whether it is neutered or not since castrated cats are more likely to gain weight. When they are small it is important that they take all the sufficient nutrients to grow and develop correctly. They should be adequately fed for each situation.
It is important that they have clean water available in several containers distributed throughout the house. To maintain the health of our cat is also important to make periodic reviews at the veterinarian, who will design a vaccination and deworming plan appropriate to the situation of our cat.