Reasons to Only Get One Cat
Per my recent post, we recently got a cat. Van Gogh has been with us for exactly one week now and he's stolen our hearts. The kids are thrilled to have a playful pet after living with seniors for so long. My husband hasn't met the kitty yet but he'll be back from travel soon enough. In the meantime, I thought today I'd share why I only got one cat even though most experts say that cats do better in pairs. Following are my reasons to only get one cat. I encourage you to consider these reasons when deciding for your family.
Unfortunately, I have cat allergies. When I spend time with too many cats or allow cats to get close to my face, I get itchy eyes, a runny nose, and a scratchy throat. As you can imagine, the more cats, the more dander, and, therefore, the more allergic reactions.
My kids have never lived with cats but my eldest, Noah, has asthma, which is usually triggered by illness and allergies. For this reason, getting one cat was the most responsible choice for his sake. My 3-year-old daughter, Mila, has environmental allergies that worsen seasonally so I can't tell if her current runny nose is due to a cold she caught at school, springtime, Van Gogh, or a combination. She and Noah are on low doses of an antihistamine for the time being.
I'm currently taking a homeopathic pet dander tincture to help ward off my allergies but, in the meantime, having only one cat is easier on my immune system and my kids'. I will share more about the homeopathic remedy once I learn more about it and see how it works for me.
Despite my allergies and my kids' potential allergies, I'm not one to return a pet if we react to their hair. I was allergic to Radar, our Pomeranian mix, and just lived with it. But, I don't want to make myself miserable therefore one cat is plenty for us right now.
A Cat Friend for the Dog
One of the motivations for us to get a cat in the first place was to find a mate for Caera. Because Caera has always shared her life with other dogs, we felt she was lonely after Titan's passing. Namely, her separation anxiety was rising whenever we left the house, even for short periods. Yet, I was not ready to get another dog. With young children, the ideal dog would be a puppy but puppy training while potty training a toddler is out of the question for me. I just couldn't take that on with all the traveling my husband does. Hence the decision to adopt a kitten, one old enough to use the litter box.
Because we were looking for a friend for the dog, I feared that if I brought two cats home, we wouldn't get the benefit of companionship for Caera. I worried that, if Van Gogh came home with his sister, Greta, who was also available, the two cats would bond and leave Caera out.
I also know that Caera has a hard time adjusting to change and one kitten would be easier for her to embrace than two. She's still a little nervous around Van Gogh but is taking better to him every day. Check out this video from day three of their developing friendship.
While Caera has lived with cats in the past, they were fosters, she was younger, and it's been almost 6 years since. Being considerate of Caera's limitations led me to choose only one cat, at least for now.
We Can Always Adopt More Cats Later
After sharing my life and home with multiple dogs for many years, I crave a bit less work right now. I have two young children and a grandparent that I look after. I am also a working military spouse, which presents all sorts of challenges. The last thing I wanted to do is take on more responsibility than I can handle, considering I'm pretty much at capacity these days.
My thought is that I can always adopt a second cat later, once the kids are older, my husband is retired and no longer traveling as much, or maybe even after Caera is no longer with us. Caera is going to turn 12 years old this month; I am not sure how much longer she'll be around or how long she will remain healthy and active. Therefore, I want to be sure I'm available to provide loving senior and geriatric care for her when the time comes.
For now, my priority is providing the best possible care to my family, pets included. The more pets I take on, the more difficult it would be, therefore I chose quality over quantity when choosing to bring home only one cat.
Financial Responsibility & Pets
While Van Gogh is smaller and therefore eats less, sheds less, and overall needs less than my older, special needs dogs needed, I still wanted to be conscious of our expenses, especially as my husband prepares to retire from the military within the next two years. When considering our adoption, I thought long and hard about what costs would be associated with caring for one cat vs two. I decided that one cat was manageable but two was pushing it.
Because I like to invest in my pets' food, supplements, and care, veterinary and travel pet care, I knew that limiting myself to one new addition was the smart thing to do for our family. Again, who knows if Caera will need expensive care sometime soon.
As much as I'd love to take in a million pets, that just isn't the right thing to do for me, my family, or said pets.
The Learning Curve of Having a Cat
Even though we fostered neonatal kittens and older kittens while living in Louisiana from 2016 to 2017, we've never had a cat of our own. While I cared for cats for years as a professional pet sitter, I haven't had a cat since I was a child. And, back then, the cat wasn't an indoor cat; she got out a lot because we didn't know any better.
Now, I am adjusting to having a cat, introducing the cat to our dog, Caera, and teaching my young kids - 3 and 5 years old - how to safely and kindly interact with a new pet. I also had to prepare my home for kitty with proper enrichment opportunities, safe spaces, and all the cat accessories that one needs for an indoor kitty.
Our cat ownership experience is new and evolving. My kids are still understanding that we cannot leave the back door open for fear that the cat might get out. I still have kitten in the guest bathroom when I cannot supervise his behavior or interactions with Caera. There are a lot of moving parts and limiting it to one cat, one dog, and two kids, has been challenging enough. Taking on another cat would mean managing more changing dynamics and having eyes on more creatures, which would have been too much.
The Best Choice for Our Family
In short, getting one cat to join our family was the best choice for us. While the volunteers at The Cat's Meow Las Cruces encouraged me to meet Van Gogh's sister, Greta, and mentioned that two cats usually do well together, they never pressured me to take on more than I could handle. I appreciated their assurance that Greta would remain with them until she was adopted and that, given her age and temperament, it shouldn't take long. I keep checking Facebook for the announcement that she's been adopted because she deserves a loving home just like her brother's.
Follow along on this journey on my social media!