Hello, I'm the Paw Father. I'm the head cat here at the website The Paw Father. Being a cat all my life, I'm best equipped to tell you about cats, our lives and what we want people to know. Check back frequently and keep reading because we're bringing out fresh fish on a plate every day of the week. It's going to be wilder than that time I got into the Argentinian catnip!
See this site as your all in one cat tree. You got the play platforms, you got the nap stations, you got an epic battle with the butler who lives in MY house. Hey! That's my platform, Mr. Tony! Get outta here, yah chump!
Anyway, the sun is out, and I'd like to go sunbathe. Got a meeting with the boys later to discuss business. We'll catch you later.
In the meantime, hopefully, you'll consider my offer...
Your cat runs out of the house and straight to a patch of grass outside for a good long roll. “What on earth,” you laugh to yourself as this peculiar feline continues to roll around in the grass.
Why do cats roll in grass? Cats like to roll around as a way to put their scent on things. He might choose grass because it feels soft and comfortable. You may see that your cat also likes to play on the grass. The soft green blades of grass feel great on the paws.
If you’d like to learn more about why cats roll in the grass, keep reading because we will cover this topic in depth.
Rolling Spreads His Scent
Perhaps the chief reason behind why a cat rolls in the grass is to spread his scent around. Rolling around in the grass and dirt spreads his scent around on the ground. This warns other cats that he owns this territory. Upon journeying far from home, your cat may use the grass as a scent marker to find his way home.
Did you know a cat can smell his own litterbox from 2 miles away? He uses that to navigate.
Cats have 200 million odor sensors in their nose, which gives them 14 times the smell of humans. They can smell many things that we cannot, and they use their nostrils to live in the world of scent.
They Like the Smell of Grass
We don’t want to pass this off as definite truth, but cats love exploring new scents. Speculating from that knowledge, it could be that cats roll in it because they love the smell of grass. The sweet, sharp scent of someone mowing the lawn feels intoxicating to humans. Who knows how cats feel about it.
As we can imagine, cats would smell this on an amplified level from our own. The smell of freshly cut grass is known as green leaf volatiles, which is a mixture of oxygenated hydrocarbons.
In fact, he may like the smell of freshly cut grass so much that he rolls in it to put the smell on him. Cats like the smell of grass so much that outdoor cats often smell like fresh-cut grass because they roll around in it so much.
Playing in the Grass
Be around cats for long enough in the outdoors, and you will see how they love to play in the grass. He may roll in it simply for the fact that he likes it.
If you’re interested in learning why cats roll around in dirt, I wrote another article about that here. You have many of the same reasons for him rolling in dirt as what he would grass. However, grass may feel more comfortable to him. Have you ever sat down on a patch of dirt? Now think about how you sat on a patch of grass and how much more comfortable it felt.
Beware of This When Your Cat Rolls in the Grass…
Cats may roll in the grass, but they’re also known for eating grass when close to it. Some researchers believe that this may expel parasites through the increase of muscle activity within the digestive tract.
Normally, them eating grass wouldn’t pose many problems, but you should beware of pesticides and weed killers used on the lawn. You don’t want your cat eating the blades of grass.
In some cases, your cat may vomit after eating grass. Don’t panic because this is normal. Some even believe that he does this intentionally.
Cats roll in grass largely because it marks their territory. While some may not care for the texture of grass, others will love to roll around on it. Still, others may prefer the warmth of concrete. I wrote about cats rolling on concrete and some of the reasons here.
If you’re interested in why they roll on their back and bite when you touch their belly, check out the article I wrote here. You’ll learn a lot about cat behavior.
You cleaned the litter box earlier to see your cat coming into it. However, he’s not doing his business, he’s rolling in it. In fact, the clean litter box seems to make him more hyper than ever before.
Why does my cat roll in the litter box? Cats live in the world of scent and the strongest location of scent exists right in the litter box. When you go to clean his litter box, this removes some of the scent. For that reason, your cat may be rolling in it to return his scent to the litter.
To learn more on why your cat rolls in the litter box, stay tuned because we will cover this in depth and learn a little about cat psychology.
Building a Scent Masterpiece: The Litter Box
We think the litter box smells bad, but we don’t have even half the smell sensors of cats. Believe it or not, cats can smell their own litter box from a mile away. They may use this as a scent marker to find their way home. Sounds interesting? Keep reading.
Some cat behaviorists such as Jackson Galaxy, the star in My Cat from Hell, says that when a cat poops in the litter box, he marks the location with his scent. Believe it or not, this scent makes the cat feel more confident in himself.
If you have an insecure cat, you might add a couple of extra litter boxes around the home to put his scent around the home. For some people, that may not be an option because they understandably don’t want the poop smell. However, this can go a long way to curing insecure and destructive cat behaviors.
Letting your cat build his scent masterpiece makes him feel like he owns his territory. Many times, people put odor control litter in the litter box, and this takes away part of your cat’s sense of ownership. In fact, it can do a lot of harm to him. Cats live in the world of scent with their 200 million odor sensors.
Again, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t regularly clean the litter box. However, cleaning it so that it keeps some of his scent can eliminate some undesirable behaviors.
Rolling in a Clean Litter Box
Luckily, your cat does this with a clean litter box. You should never see a cat rolling in a poopy litter box because it could indicate health problems. Cats are clean creatures, and they find many of the same things gross that we humans find gross.
Rolling in clean litter helps your cat to put his scent back into the litter box. Obviously, you need to clean the litter box. or he won’t poop there. Kitty will choose less desirable locations. However, I would advise not using strong household chemicals to clean it. In this way, some of the scent remains in his litterbox, and he won’t feel as strong of an urge to roll in it and put his scent back into it.
The rolling adds his scent to it. Litter is a porous substance, and it holds in the scent better because of this.
What are Scent Markers?
Previously, we mentioned how your cat can find his way home from a mile away using his litter box. It acts as a scent marker. He may roll in it to use it as a scent marker.
In the cat world, scent markers get used in specific locations to communicate with other animals. The least desirable form of scent marking is when a male cat urinates to mark territory. However, this is an insecure form of scent marking.
Another form is simply rolling in the dirt for a scent marker. I wrote about that and some of the reasons they roll in the dirt here.
Cats are territorial creatures, and the box provides him with a sense of comfort. It says to all others that he owns this location. With multiple cats in the home, you will want to give each their own litter box because this prevents problems.
This can stop your cat from rolling in the litter. He’s trying to tell the other cats that he owns this space.
Other Reasons He Rolls in the Litter Box…
Now that I covered the main reason that your cat rolls in the litter box, I would like to cover some of the lesser reasons kitty might be blessing the litter box. In the cat world, you should understand how nothing is random. However, cats often do things for multiple reasons. Let’s cover some of them.
Scratching an Itch
Depending on the type of litter, it may help him scratch an itch. Cats can’t as easily reach certain places to itch themselves. Because of that, they may resort to rolling on uneven surfaces like kitty litter or concrete. I wrote about cats rolling on concrete here.
Your cat may roll in clean litter because it provides him with a form of dust bathing. It’s similar to the reasons why he might roll in dirt. He can dust bathe in this way. In addition, when he goes to clean his fur, he will consume healthy bacteria that can help him with digestion.
Beware of if your cat begins to eat dirt or litter, however, because this could indicate health problems with his digestion system. He’s trying to put the bacteria back into his gut to aid digestion. You may want to take him to a vet.
Dust bathing in the litter box becomes especially common when cats don’t have access to the outdoors. They can’t roll in the dirt, so they might use the litter as a substitute. When a cat doesn’t have access to this, they will dust bathe wherever they have access to a place for it.
Because Litter Box Rolling is Fun
When my cat does this, I’ve never seen a happier cat. I don’t even want to ruin his moment. He looks like he’s having a heyday. Your cat may be rolling in the litter box because he likes to play in it. That will make it a hard behavior to root out, but changing the characteristics of the litter may help.
How Do You Stop the Cat from Rolling in the Litter Box?
Unless he’s rolling in a poopy litter box, I wouldn’t consider this behavior particularly harmful to your cat. However, if you find it disturbing, you have a few things that you can do to stop his litter box rolling.
First, change the litter type. This becomes especially helpful if he’s dust bathing in it. You want it very different from the current litter. Look for a litter that doesn’t give off a lot of dust. Make the change slowly because you don’t want the cat to protest and boycott the litter box for other locations.
Let’s give an example of how to change the litter type. If your cat’s litter is pellet litter, change it to sandy litter. If it’s the other way around, do it the other way. This works because it may change what originally attracted him to roll in the litter.
Switch the Litter Box Size
Large litter boxes especially have a problem with cats that like to roll in it for dust bathing. You might buy a smaller box to keep him from enjoying a good roll. Keep in mind, however, this may mean that you will have to clean it more often.
Small and covered litter boxes may stop the behavior, but you should watch out for one thing. You need to clean a covered litter box more often because the scents can get trapped in the box. While this may sound like a good thing, it could become too strong and stop your cat from using it altogether. Clean it more often to keep kitty using it.
Use Scent Markers around the Home
Litter boxes aren’t the only scent markers around the home. The cat bed, for example, serves as another scent marker. Scratching posts serve as another scent marker because he has scent glands between his claws. When he scratches at the post, it marks the area with his scent, which may stop him from rolling in the litter.
Add extra scent markers around the home to keep your cat’s scent throughout the home. It will give him confidence. You can’t change your cat from marking with his scent. However, you can stop some of the less desirable scent-marking behaviors.
Is it normal for cats to roll in their litter box? Cats may roll in the litter box as a way to get their scent back into it. Consider it normal cat behavior, and usually, they do it with the intention ofusing their litter box as a scent marker. Basically, it helps them to mark their territory. It can also help them to navigate.
How can I get my cat to stop laying in the litter box? To keep your cat from laying in the litter box, provide him with more attractive options. For example, cats love high perches or places where they can climb to look down on their territory. This gives him a better spot than the litter box.
Overall, this isn’t a harmful cat behavior, and I wouldn’t worry about it. Unless he rolls in dirty kitty litter, then it’s time to find a solution. Most cats, however, would be revolted at the thought of rolling in dirty kitty litter.
The one exception to this rule is kittens. Kittens haven’t yet learned what is gross and what isn’t. Because of that, they may start out rolling in the used litter box as a form of play. Luckily, he will quickly learn that there are better ways to have fun.
Looking at cats and the reasons why they do things can be fascinating. Do you have a cat that likes to walk up and flop down in front of you? What are the reasons for this?
Why do cats flop down in front of you? Your cat may do this as a form of social greeting. When cats flop down in front of you, it communicates that they feel happy and trusting of you. In particular, pay attention to how he exposes the belly. That’s the most vulnerable part of a cat, and they never expose this unless they trust you.
If you’d like to learn more about cats flopping down in front of you, keep reading.
Don’t Take It as Weird
Especially if you have had a cat for several years or longer, you will notice how they flop down often. This is common cat behavior, and it may happen for a number of reasons. Some paw fathers and paw mothers report how their cat even does this all the time.
Some people like it because it keeps their cat in one place. In some cases, you may go to brush him and the cat will flop over as you brush him. Hold him in your lap to brush him if he does this. He may flop over because he’s not used to being brushed.
Kittens Flop Down Commonly
Kittens commonly do this to seek attention or say that they want to play. At the same time, it shows that the kitten trusts and loves you. He’s saying that he feels most relaxed. You will never see a cat do this if it doesn’t feel safe and content.
They do this as an opportunity for both you and the kitten to bond. If you’re wondering “Why do cats flop?” this is often the reason why. I also wrote a fascinating piece on the reasons why cats roll in the dirt here.
Your Cat Flops Because He Feels Happy
When your cat flops on the ground in front of you, it shows you that he feels happy. Cats will usually only do this when they feel safe. He may do this to say that he wants a petting on the head.
Expert Tip: Do not pet the belly of the cat. While the cat may look like he wants a belly rub, most cats dislike belly rubs. You want to pet him on either the head, cheeks or back. Each cat will have its own sensitive spots, and while most dislike belly rubs, a couple of oddballs don’t mind it.
He flops to say, “I’m not a threat to you. We’re friends.”
Other signs of a happy cat include:
When your cat flops, think of it as a good sign, but you may want to look at a couple of others to gauge his overall happiness.
Cats may flop down as a way to greet you. They call this a social roll, and I wrote more in-depth information about it here. To sum up the reasons for the social roll, your cat does this because he wants to invite interaction with you. He acknowledges your presence and wants more interaction from you.
Domesticated cats exhibit many of the same behaviors that you might see in a lion. Think of how the handshake in humans first began. Back in the 5th century B.C. in Ancient Greece, they used the handshake among warriors as a way to show neither party had weapons. Your cat may flop over and expose his belly for the same reasons. He wants to show you that he’s not a threat.
Some cat behaviorists also call this a play roll. They do this when they feel happy and excited. Think of how puppies will vigorously wag their tails. Cats do the same thing but in the form of a play roll.
Your Cat Wants Something
Why your cat does this depends on the cat, but pay attention to the circumstances around it. For example, your cat may flop down in front of you because he wants something, such as a door opened. Especially when he notices that flopping down gives him what he wants, he will do it again and again.
With this reasoning, your cat may flop down meow and purr, but he rises back up and goes to what he wants when you approach. For example, if he wants the door opened, he will move toward it when you approach and scratch at it. You don’t have a firm reason for why your cat does this, however, so you must pay attention to what each individual cat does.
Flopping for Attention
Your cat may flop over because he wants attention. He does this to invite interaction between you and himself. Pay attention to the body posture as the cat flops. Most of the time, this is positive cat behavior.
However, I wouldn’t advise that you do this with a stray cat. I outlined some of the reasons for that here. It’s rare, but it can be a negative thing. With a familiar cat, it usually isn’t.
The things to watch for with negative cat body posture include:
Tail moving back and forth
Trying to kick you away
Does your cat seem like he’s smiling? Many people with cats report how their cat feels like he’s smiling when he does this. Take that as a good sign and proceed. Sometimes, you can almost feel when a cat feels happy or when he feels sad.
Likes Your Presence
Believe it or not, your cat probably likes your presence, and his flopping down in front of you is one of the ways that he communicates this. When he does this, he may just want to sit around with you for a while. Pay attention to whether your cat purrs. Take that as a golden sign that he feels happy and relaxed with you.
Cats can experience many of the same emotions that humans feel. For example, they sometimes like the company of others. Tomcats especially like to be in the presence of their humans. Female cats might too, but because of maternal instinct, they’re less inclined this way. Cats see their humans as their parents many times. This is one of the signs that your cat adores you.
Cat Flopping: Health Problems
In some cases, your cat flopping down may indicate health problems. This is rarely the case, but you should be aware that this could be the reason behind it. You can tell that it’s health problems with your cat because he keeps falling over.
Some of the possible health problems include:
Inner ear infection
In some cases, malnutrition and poisoning can cause a cat to flop over as well. You need to take the cat to a vet to understand his condition and diagnose it.
If your cat flops down for health reasons, don’t let him outside. Keep him indoors and away from house hazards. In some cases, such as with cerebellar hypoplasia, you can’t cure him from flopping over. You can take comfort, however, in knowing that this condition doesn’t cause pain.
A cat with this condition will require extra attention. You want to make sure that he doesn’t hurt himself when he flops over. Cats love to climb, but when they have this condition, climbing can endanger them.
Cat Flops Down in Front of You: What NOT to Do
Many cat owners report how when their cat flops over, they go to pet his belly and the cat bites them. Welcome to the bear trap. Dogs may roll over because they want their belly rubbed, but few cats like this. Most will respond with a gentle display that they dislike it. An unfamiliar cat may scratch or bite hard.
Think of it this way: Your cat flopped down and exposed his belly because he trusted you. Cats are prey as well as predators. The belly is their weakest point. When you go right for the belly with your hand, you’re saying to him, “Big mistake here, guy! I’m going to dig right into that big juicy snack!” I would advise against this.
The best place to pet your cat is at the base of the ears, under the chin and around the cheeks. Places to usually avoid include the belly, the base of the tail and their back.
Why does my cat collapse in front of me? Usually, when your cat flops down right in front of you, it indicates that he feels happy and relaxed. Pay special attention to the belly because he often exposes the belly when he does this. The cat’s belly is the most sensitive part of his body, and he only exposes it to those he trusts.
Why do cats roll over when they see you? Your cat may do this for a variety of reasons, depending on the surface as well. For example, a cat that rolls on concrete may do it because he likes the warmth or the coolness on his fur. In the dirt, he may do it to get rid of parasites. In other cases, it’s a social greeting.
Your cat may flop down in front of you for several reasons. Commonly, he does this because he feels happy and relaxed. He likes you. Pay attention for possible health conditions, however, because in rare cases, it could be due to that. Most of the time, you can tell when he does it for health problems.
If you’re interested in learning more about why cats roll on concrete, check out the article I wrote here.
Female cats enjoy advantages over male cats, but some people may dislike them as well because of certain disadvantages. Understanding the pros and cons of the female cat can help you to decide if this is the right choice for you.
Advantage #1: Less Risk of Spraying
Having a male cat increases the risk that your cat would spray. While female cats spray in some cases also, the risk of it drops dramatically. The most common time where this happens is when a person has multiple cats in the home. The female cat may be at higher risk of spraying.
Cat Behavior 101: You can lower the risk of spraying by making your cat feel confidence. Most of the time, they spray when they feel unconfident in themselves. Add porous things around the home that hold their scent that they can claim without having to spray.
In some cases, your cat may mark her territory with feces. Again, this is less common than with male cats, but it can happen with an insecure female cat.
If you’re interested in learning about the disadvantages of having a cat in general, I wrote about the top five disadvantages here.
Advantage #2: Great for Busy People
Another one of the pros of having a female cat, it makes a great choice for busy people because females display greater independence than male cats. When they go into heat, they may become more clingy, but they usually show less clinginess than male cats.
This cat will act better when left home alone, and she won’t be as likely to meow as much as her male counterpart. At the same time, she often comes right to you when you arrive at home.
Advantage #3: Strong Maternal Instinct
In some ways, female cats may behave more aloofly than male cats, but in other ways, they display more maternal instincts. They may, for example, adopt orphaned kittens and nurse them.
You might allow this surrogate mother to nurse the kitten and give him the needed milk.
Interesting Female Cat Fact: The maternal instinct in a female cat is so strong that they have been known to adopt puppies, or in some cases, orphaned baby squirrels.
Check out the short video below of a female cat adopting baby squirrels:
This may happen because female cats in the wild may nest together and feed each others’ kittens as the other mother hunts. Some cat experts say that it happens because she misses a lost kitten, but the above explanation makes more sense.
With a male tomcat, you have to worry that the tom would kill the kittens. If you already have kittens in the home, this makes getting an adult male cat next to impossible.
Advantage #4: More Easygoing and Trainable
Some see the male cat species as the more playful and cuddly gender, but female cats usually have a more relaxed demeanor. Still, they tend to act with more aggression than male cats. Male cats usually want to be the center of your world, which—believe me from personal experience—can grow tiresome. Females, on the other hand, tend to be more relaxed.
When we say trainable, keep in mind, this is a cat. It will only be trainable up to an extent with either gender.
Advantage #5: Less Likely to Escape the Home
Understand how this depends on the female cat’s personality because my sister had a female cat known as the great escape artist. Generally speaking, female cats tend to be more comfortable as indoor cats, and they aren’t as likely to race for the door when you open it.
With a male cat, you’d have to neuter the cat, or it will try to escape for breeding purposes.
Advantage #6: Less Territorial
All cats will mark their territory through scent and other methods in one fashion or another, but male cats tend to be more aggressive about it. To give you a real example, my girlfriend’s mother walked into the wrong space on a path, and a male cat bit her because they were encroaching on the male cat’s territory.
Female cats can also be territorial, but they don’t act as aggressively when defending territory, making them less likely to attack.
Disadvantage #1: Cost of Spaying a Female Cat
Expect to pay $300 to $500 to spay each female cat in the home. It costs a fair amount to spay female cats in comparison to neutering a male cat, which costs $200 to $400.
Especially if you deal with undesirable behavior, having a female cat spayed can eliminate many of the problems. Just keep in mind before getting one that they cost more. You can find budget clinics for this, but it typically costs more than $100.
Disadvantage #2: Annoying When in Heat
Female cats in heat will drive you nuts. They constantly yowl for several days every time that they go into heat to call in the male cats. The female cat may look for love and attention to the point of being obnoxious.
Previously, we said that female cats express less affection than male cats. However, when female cats go into heat, they may constantly seek out your attention for validation. My sister would say that whenever her cat goes into heat, she’s usually extremely mischievous the day before.
Disadvantage #3: Less Affectionate?
How a cat behaves will depend on its personality, but speaking on the whole, female cats tend to be the more stereotypical cat. They don’t care as much what you do one way or the other. Because of their maternal instinct, they prefer other cats to humans. This means that they may not cuddle as much as a male tomcat.
Let’s say that you have a child. The ideal cat for a child is one that is playful and calm, which male cats tend to do better at this. If you’re interested in learning about the benefits of cats for kids, I wrote about that here.
Disadvantage #4: Risk of Pregnancy
Unspayed female cats pose a risk of pregnancy. If you let them outside, the risk increases dramatically as the tomcats come sniffing around. A female cat’s gestation period is two months, which means that they can produce roughly five litters in a year.
Seeing as how kitten litters can range from four to 12 kittens, you can quickly find yourself overwhelmed if you don’t spay your female cat. 12 multiplied by five equals 60 new cats in a year. You can quickly find yourself overwhelmed with cats.
Less likely to mark territory
Stays closer to home
Costs less to neuter
Great choice for busy
No risk of pregnancy
Pros of female cats vs male cats
That looks at the pros of each, but what about the disadvantages of each one? We posted that below:
Prone to urination territory marking
Less affectionate than male cats
Tries to escape for mating
Costly to spay female cat
Risk of unwanted pregnancy
Cons of female cats vs male cats
Hopefully, this article has shown you the pros and cons of getting a female cat. A female cat is usually a better choice if you live alone. I wrote about that in my article, “Should I Get a Cat if I Live Alone?”
Female cats have their advantages, but they can also be very annoying when they go into heat, and they cost more to spay.
You open the front door and walk outside the home to see a stray cat nearby that rolls on its back in front of you. With a love for cats, you wonder if you should drop down and pet them. You’ve heard this is a good sign, but not in all cases.
Should you approach a stray cat rolling on back? Never approach an unfamiliar cat and try to pet it right away.While a cat rolling on its back usually signals friendliness and trust, cats also sometimes roll on their back to trick you into an attack. In this way, he can use his claws, back feet and teeth.
Attacks from rolling on the back happen rarely, but it would be a mistake to pet a cat like this that you don’t know. We will never advise this. If you’d like to learn more about the circumstances surrounding when a stray cat rolls, keep reading.
Rabies Shots Cost A lot: Don’t Pet a Stray Cat
With a stray cat especially, you don’t know if they received their rabies shot. If he bites you, it costs $260 per dose for the rabies shot. You usually need three doses, which totals $780. That shows you the wholesale price.
It’s not uncommon for people to pay as much as $10,000 when finished. That’s why you shouldn’t pet a stray cat rolling on its back. Once the symptoms of rabies show up, the disease has a near 100-percent fatality rate.
Check out this video to understand how to safely respond to rabies:
With a familiar cat that you know, it usually isn’t a problem. In fact, they do this as a sign of affection, but you don’t want to risk getting bitten.
We’ve spoken previously about cats that roll in the dirt and some of the reasons that they do this. You can learn more about that here. A stray cat could be rolling on its back for the same reasons, but you want to make sure that you know the cat before you take that risk. We wouldn’t advise that you pet any cat that you encounter.
What if I’m Feeding the Stray Cat and It Does This?
One of the best ways to make friends with a stray or feral cat is through food. Keep in mind, feral cats differ from stray cats. A feral cat is not domesticated, and you should never fully trust a feral cat. They’re not domesticated cats, and even when you feed them, they may never fully trust you.
Some argue otherwise, but many say that once they reach adulthood, you can’t tame a feral.
Stray cats, on the other hand, may have had an owner at one point or another, which makes them less wild and more trusting of humans. After feeding a stray for a while, he may roll on his back as a sign of trust and a gesture of friendship. Still, be cautious and pet him at your own risk. Don’t pet the belly because this triggers a negative reaction in most cats.
For liability reasons, we don’t advise that you pet a stray cat. Do it at your own risk. You’ve been warned.
When a stray cat rolls on his back in these circumstances it may be seen as what’s called a social roll. I wrote about that here if you’re interested in learning more. However, it’s less dangerous with a cat that is yours or one that you know well. You must be careful with strays or unfamiliar cats that do this.
How to Know When a Stray Cat Likes You
You can use other signs to tell when a stray cat has taken a liking to you. Some of the signs include:
Rubs up against your leg
Tail up in the air
May meow at your voice
Many people report how they can eventually pet a stray, but ferals won’t let people come close to them or rarely. Never threaten or corner a feral because they may lash out even worse than a stray, and you risk being bitten. Signs of aggression include dilated pupils, hissing and ears back.
How Often Does the Stray Roll on Its Back
In particular, when cats—including strays—roll on their back frequently and expose the belly, it shows that they trust you. Pay attention to how often the stray cat rolls on its back. This gives you a sign of its level of trust. Cats will rarely do this unless they feel comfortable.
Cats that attack on their back are rare, but you don’t want to risk that when dealing with a stray. Better not to take the risk, at least not until you’re sure that it’s safe.
You have several stages that the cat goes through during the taming process, which include:
Tail Tip Touch: First, you begin with softly brushing the nap of the cat’s neck down to its tail. You do this gently with one finger. Don’t apply too much pressure or the cat may become uncomfortable. For the first time petting a stray cat, you want to do it when he’s relaxed. You can tell because his attention won’t seem focused entirely on you. If he hisses, exercise caution, but don’t worry too much. This is a normal reaction.
Firm Tail Tip Touch: After the cat becomes more comfortable with a gentle tail tip touch, you can gently increase the pressure slowly. Pay special attention to positive body language, such as a high tail and purring. Beware if his ears drop back or he tenses up. Stop immediately!
Stroking the Head: Don’t start with this because strays will see this as a aggressive sign. They will think of you as a threat and may bite. While cat bites aren’t as harmful as dog bites, the bacteria from their bite has led to some people needing surgery.
Under the Chin: Once the cat becomes comfortable with head strokes, at this point, you’ve got him. You might try for under the chin. The cat will have pheromones that get on your hand and will lead to a bonding experience since your cat will smell them. This often leads to him purring.
Rolling on Its Back: At this point, the stray cat may roll on its back, and you can trust this better than if he does this right away. You should be okay under these circumstances, but don’t pet the belly because this can cause him to attack.
Cuddling in the Lap: After the stray feels more comfortable, he may come up onto your lap automatically for cuddles. This shows that he’s ready to bond with you.
Rolling on the Back as a Greeting: Kittens especially do this, and they may roll over on the back as a way to greet you. At this point, you should be safe to pet him, provided the stray cat has already shown you other signs that he feels comfortable.
How do you know if a stray cat likes you? Some of the signs of a cat that likes you include purring, tail up, relaxed posture and meowing at your voice. The stray cat may also roll over and show its belly as a sign of trust, but you should be careful with this sign. Pay attention for the other ones as well.
Why does my cat keep rolling on her back? Cats often roll on their back in front of you as a greeting. This shows you that they trust you because they will rarely do this unless they trust the person. Kittens are especially prone to this behavior, and it may mean that they want to play.
When a stray cat rolls on its back, it could be a friendly gesture of trust, but we would advise caution. In rare cases, cats do this in preparation for an attack. However, in most cases, they do it as a sign of trust. Pay attention for other positive signs before approaching a stray to pet it. One of the best ways to tame a stray is through feeding it.
Cats may roll on their back for different reasons. If you’re curious about why a cat might roll on its back and bite, I wrote another article about that here, which can help you to know how to respond to a cat that rolls on its back.
Before getting a cat, it would be wise to understand some of the expenses. One of those expenses is the cost of cat food.
How much does cat food cost per month? Most people report paying an average of$30 per month for cat food. How much you pay per month depends on the brand, but it ranges from $10 to $70 per month. Going with medium to high-priced cat food will have greater health benefits to your cat in the long run.
Understanding the cost per month is one thing, but let’s have a look at why you might want to pay more per month for the higher-end brands over the cheap cat foods. Keep in mind, expensive doesn’t always mean healthy, so you need to do your research.
Cheap Cat Food vs Expensive Cat Food
Over the long term, very cheap cat food will lead to health problems later for your cat. Cheap cat food can eventually cause feline diabetes, constipation and cancer. Another thing that they can cause is known as crystals, which is the same as kidney stones but for cats.
More expensive cat food costs more because they use more meat in the food and fewer fillers. In most cases, a more expensive cat food equates to higher quality ingredients, which will be healthier for your little friend. It may cost more per month, but you won’t have to visit the vet as often for health problems with him.
Along with the disadvantage of the cost of cat food, you may want to click here to learn more about the top five disadvantages of having a cat. This can help you to determine if getting a cat is the right choice for you.
How to Find Healthy Cat Food
First, don’t think of byproducts as necessarily bad in cat food. A lot of misguided cat owners think of it as bad, but it isn’t. When we say byproducts, we refer to ground-up animal carcasses like the bones, neck, intestines and feet.
In fact, byproducts in cat food have more nutrients than straight meat, according to Joseph Wakshlag.
Think of the cat’s age, also. For example, kittens need docosahexaenoic acid for brain and eye development, but adult cats may benefit more from fats. Look for cat food made for his specific age. You have different age-appropriate foods such as kitten food, adult cat food and senior cat food.
Kitten food usually costs more per month, but it has the nutrients that he needs.
Beware of simply going for the most expensive cat food as well because of how a strong marketing budget can help the brand to sell more and charge more. If they make the byproduct claim that theirs comes without them, beware as well. This is more of a marketing gimmick than being healthy for your cat.
In general, you may want to stay away from exceptionally cheap cat foods, but the medium to higher price range is usually okay.
Wet Cat Food vs Dry Cat Food
You will almost always pay more for wet cat food. To give you an example, a 14-pound bag of kitten food may cost $14 and last a month, but wet cat food can cost up to $34 for a 24 pack. If you feed your cat twice a day, that gives you 12 days’ worth of food, which will cost you around $70 per month.
Wet cat food provides your cat with a source of water, and he may not need to drink as much water this way. You may find wet cat food more beneficial for overweight cats, those with constipation or those with urinary tract disease.
Dry cat food, on the other hand, has an advantage in that you can provide him with calories. This may help a thin cat better than wet food because of the higher volume that he can eat. You can also put dry food in a food puzzle to keep his brain working and have some fun with him. It encourages him to use his sight, smell, taste and touch.
What Else Can You Expect to Buy for Your Cat
We highlighted what you can expect to pay for cat food per month, but you have other expenses that you may have to pay as well. You can also expect to pay for kitty litter ($9 to $39 per month). Outside of that, cats are pretty low maintenance, and they don’t require much beyond that for monthly expenses.
You may want to trim his nails every 10 days to two weeks. Otherwise, when your cat climbs on you, you will feel his claws. While you can do this on your own, it can be dangerous to your cat if you trim them too close. He could bleed out. Hiring a cat groomer to do it costs $10 to $15. Done every two weeks, this costs $20 to $30 per month.
Expect to pay between $10 to $70 for cat food per month. This depends on the brand, but it also depends on the number of cats. In many cases with dry food, cats won’t cost too much more than what they did before. It may cost slightly more but nothing unbearable.
You thought to bring home a cat, but you worry how you may need two cats to keep the first cat company.
Is it cruel to have only one cat? Even if you only chose to bring home a single cat, don’t think of this as inhumane. Cats do require some social attention, but as long as you don’t leave him home alone for two days or longer, your cat should be fine even alone. Age plays a role in this as well. Kittens require more attention.
If you’d like to learn more about why it isn’t cruel to only have a single cat, keep reading. We will also suggest some ways to make your cat feel more comfortable at home.
Age: Younger Kittens May Need a Playmate
Kittens do require more time and care than an adult cat. Leaving them alone for longer than five hours would be cruel, so you may want to get him a playmate. Adult cats, on the other hand, can be left home alone for 24 to 48 hours without a problem.
If you’d like to learn about some of the disadvantages of having a cat, I wrote about that here. This can help you to decide if you should get a cat.
Cruel to Have a Single Cat? Depends on the Cat…
Some cats do better with a playmate because of personality. Each cat differs. With a playmate, they have someone that they can play with when bored, and in fact, it can liven up a cat to get them a friend.
Unfortunately, playing with the cat all the time can prove difficult because you will have busy moments where you can’t give him the attention that he deserves.
You also have some cats that act indifferent to you. They don’t seem to care either way. Other cats need more love and affection, or they start to become lonely.
Some cats have the wrong personality for being an only cat, and it would be cruel to keep them at home this way. You can mitigate the problem by bringing home a second cat, which will resolve the issue in most cases.
Plenty of Cat Owners Only Have One Cat
You see plenty of cat owners who only have a single cat. As long as you don’t go away for extended periods of time, this wouldn’t be seen as cruel to the cat.
One cat might love the company of other cats, but some cats even prefer not sharing attention with their paw mom or paw father.
You do have one disadvantage in only having a single cat in that if the cat dies, the home feels more lonely. A second cat can help you to share the grief, and he acts as a source of comfort during that difficult season. Unfortunately, cats have a much shorter lifespan in comparison to humans.
Older Cats vs Kittens: Getting a New Cat
Older cats that lived alone for years may take to a new cat less quickly than a kitten. Kittens tend to be more open to this. In fact, they might welcome it because they can look to their companion when they feel alone. The other cat also provides him with some much-needed playtime. An older cat usually feels more confident in themselves.
With an older cat, it depends on his personality. One older cat might take well to others, but you have others less accepting of their new roommate. If you wanted a single cat, this is the type of cat that you want to get.
It would be best not to get a kitten if you will leave it home alone all day. Kittens, especially younger ones, shouldn’t be alone for longer than five hours. This ensures that they don’t become lonely.
With an older cat, you have an advantage in that what you see is what you get. You know what its temperament looks like. Kittens may develop a different temperament later from their playful one.
Beware of Social Cat Breeds for Loner Cats
If you wanted a lone cat, don’t choose a social cat breed like the Siamese. Other social cat breeds to avoid if you want a single cat include:
Cats like this love social contact with other cats, and they have a friendly nature. They may not do as well by themselves. That doesn’t mean that they can’t, but their nature is more slanted toward being social. and it would be better to avoid.
How to Support a Lone Cat
Even if you have a cat inclined to being by himself, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t support him. For example, cats are social creatures, and even two days by themselves or longer can start to make them feel lonely.
For example, keep toys around the home as a way to busy your cat when he’s by himself. You will also want to allow for cuddling time to make him feel loved. Even being close in the same room can go a long way to making your cat feel less lonely.
Give him plenty of playtime. If you have a child, along with the benefits for the child, the cat will receive plenty of attention. Cats and kids go together like macaroni and cheese. I wrote about the benefits of getting a child a cat here if interested.
Does Your Cat Need Another Cat to Be Happy?
The biggest thing to remember about any cat, whether one or two cats is to play with them. Having two cats isn’t an excuse not to pay attention to them. You also want to foster a fun and inviting atmosphere that begs exploration. This type of place will keep your cat in constant intrigue.
How to Keep a Single Cat Happy
Let’s say that you can’t bring home a second cat because of restrictions on your apartment lease. How do you keep a single cat happy? First, be sure to give him lots of love and attention. What he doesn’t receive with another cat, he will have to receive from you.
Second, create a kitty playground that keeps him busy. Don’t be afraid to have fun with it. Cats love climbing things and scratching posts. Even carpet squares glued to shelves can make your cat happy as a single cat.
The stimulating environment will also keep him entertained when you’re not around. Showing him the outside world or even giving him time in the outside world can entertain him. Many interesting things and smells outside such as squirrels, birds and bugs can all grab the attention of your eager feline.
When you’re not around, he won’t have time to think about being lonely.
Fill the Home with Cat Toys
Along with introducing him to the great outdoors (even through a window perch), you can also fill the home with toys. This provides him with a stimulating environment that he can play in. Some of the toys that I would recommend include:
Battery powered teasers
Rotating cat teasers
Cat feather toy
Swimming robot fish
Toys will counteract destructive boredom in your cat. Your cat will also have the opportunity to bond and play. Play is one of the ways that cats hone their hunting skills.
In fact, it’s not uncommon for your cat to bond with his toys as if they were his offspring. In particular, this happens for cats that didn’t get a lot of interaction with other cats, such as single cats. The toys will fill in this gap of having another cat while it comforts him. It works similar to how a stuffed toy would work for a child.
Should You Get Two Cats?
If possible, get two cats. Not only is it more fun for you, but two cats lower the risk that your other cat will feel bored. He will simply be happier than if alone. You do have exceptions to this rule, such as a cat that was traumatized by other cats, but for the most part, cats like having a playmate.
If you decide to adopt a cat from the shelter, ask about his temperament beforehand. You can learn ahead of time if he would be suited as a single cat.
Cat Breed That Don’t Mind Being the Only Cat
You do have some cat breeds that even prefer alone time. This type of cat would be ideal for circumstances where you can’t get a second cat and you worry about loneliness. This breed of cat can handle it better than some of the other breeds. They include:
Norwegian Forest Cat
Keep in mind, even these cats will still require love and affection, but they can handle being the only cat better than other breeds like the Tonkinese or the Siamese cat breed.
Do cats get lonely if you only have one? As long as you don’t go away for extended periods, your cat will do fine as a single cat. It depends on the personality to some degree, but most cats can adjust to being the only cat in the home. Some may even prefer it as long as they still receive love and attention.
Are cats happier in pairs? Generally speaking, if you can get two cats instead of one, you will have happier cats. Cats are social creatures, and having two cats lets them play together. Doubling the cats also socializes them and teaches them how to behave.
Is it better to have two cats or one? When possible, it is advisable to have multiple cats. It provides your cat with a playmate, and he tends to feel happier with a buddy. Not all cats will get along, so you need to think of personality when getting a cat.
As we said before, plenty of people only keep a single cat in the home and it does fine. In fact, I keep only one cat in the home, and he does fine. Of course, I’m a writer by profession, which means he’s rarely totally alone for long, unlike people who may need to work a 12-hour shift.
You have different reasons why someone might only get one cat. Maybe it has to do with the apartment that they live in won’t allow more, or they simply can’t afford a second cat.
Don’t worry because one cat won’t be a problem in most cases. It’d be great if you brought him home a playmate, but you don’t necessarily need two cats.
Perhaps you thought about getting a cat, but you wondered if it makes sense since you live alone. You may worry about going to work and leaving the cat home alone.
Should I get a cat if I live alone? In most cases, getting a cat as the only person in the household won’t pose a problem. A normal workday won’t disrupt the cat too much, but you may want to refrain from getting one when away for days or weeks at a time consistently. Cats don’t like to be alone too long or they become unhappy.
In the following article, we will explore the nature of cats and we will look at the difference between cats being alone and kittens being alone. Keep reading to learn more!
Cats: Indifferent to Humans?
Many times you hear the stereotype that cats could care less about humans either way. While cats act differently to dogs, they, in fact, don’t like to be alone for too long.
Someone with a job like a single long-haul trucker may have a hard time having a cat unless they took him along in the truck. It would be hard on the cat, otherwise. He would begin to display signs of loneliness.
Signs of loneliness in a cat include:
Not pooping or peeing in the litter box
Pulling out fur from excessive grooming
Research has shown that cats often form attachments to their humans in such a way that it goes beyond them being a source of food. Humans become a source of comfort and security, also. Living alone with a cat shouldn’t pose much problem, but you may not want one if you will be away for long periods of time because it will be hard on him.
Cats vs Kittens: How Long to Leave a Cat Alone
Are you thinking about getting a kitten, but you’re worried about the amount of work it might require? I wrote about kittens and how much work they require here. Outside of not being able to handle long stretches alone, kittens don’t require a lot more work than adult cats. You may have to play with them more but not much else.
Kittens struggle more with being alone than adult cats. Based on the age, you don’t want to leave the cat alone for too long.
Here’s achart as a general rule, but keep in mind that it depends on the personality of the cat, also:
Time Spent by Self
5 months and below
4 to 5 hours
24 to 48 hours
How long before a cat begins to feel lonely based on age
Understand how this shows you the maximum that you would want to leave a cat home alone. What if you work a 12-hour shift and live alone? You can still have a cat, but you may want to bring home an adult cat because it can handle alone time better.
Give him toys and things that he can play with to keep him distracted while away. A cat tree, such as the LAZY BUDDY 68”XXXL Wooden Cat Tree Tower can keep him occupied. You might leave him with some toys to play with as well.
Get Him a Playmate
What if you want a kitten, but you work long hours and live alone? Bringing home a pair of cats can reduce the risk of loneliness. They can entertain and play with each other. This takes some of the stress off you. The two can play with each other when you’re not around.
Having a companion cat will reassure him and build confidence. They also learn social skills from each other as they learn how to play and how much pressure to use when playing. If one cat uses too much force, the other will let out a sharp yelp to let the other know it.
Beware of how the two cats should match each other’s personality. You don’t want to introduce a cat that will dominate the other one. Leaving the pair alone could lead to drastic problems. Never let two cats fight it out. They could seriously injure each other.
In particular, this can work when you get them both as kittens because they will each grow up with each other and bond at an early age. In some cases, when you introduce an older cat to a new kitten, they don’t form this same bond.
Older Cat from a Shelter
Many people choose kittens at the shelter over the older cats, but when you live alone and work between 10 to 12-hour days, it may make more sense to adopt an older cat. Adult cats can handle alone time for up to two days, depending on the cat.
An older cat even appreciates the calmness in the home, and as an added bonus, you can adopt a spayed or neutered cat right from the get-go without having to pay for it.
Depends on the Cat
How long you can leave a cat alone in the home will depend on the personality of the cat. Like people, cats differ in personality. Some like a lot of love and affection while others can handle themselves by themselves.
You might have one cat that loses his mind every time you leave him alone. He starts excessively meowing and destroying things. Luckily, cats like this tend to be the exception, rather than the law. Always consider the personality of the cat before taking him home. You want to find a good match.
Is it cruel to keep a cat as a single pet? In most cases, cats won’t have a problem with being alone for a short time. Keeping a cat as a single pet over long periods, however, can be cruel to the cat. For an adult cat anything over 24 to 48 hours is too long. Young kittens shouldn’t be left alone for longer than four to five hours.
Should a single person get a cat? A single person should have no problem getting a cat. In fact, it can fill a gap if the person feels lonely. The cat can make them feel better. Beware of leaving a cat alone for longer than two days, however, because this can be hard on the cat.
Most cats can handle being alone, but if you will leave him alone for long stretches of time, such as two days or longer, you may want to bring home an extra cat to keep him from getting lonely. This can smooth things over and make it easier on your cat.
Before you decide to bring home a cat, you may find it advantageous to learn some of the disadvantages of getting a cat. This leads to responsible pet ownership, and ensures that a person knows what they’re getting themselves into. I wrote about the disadvantages here.
Have you thought to get a kitten but worried that the little critter might require too much work? Especially if your work and lifestyle demand a lot already, you may wonder if you will have the capability of attending to a kitten.
How much work is a kitten? Expect care to take 20 minutes per day for a kitten. While kittens don’t require as much as puppies, you still need to perform daily care, such as giving food and fresh water in the morning and cleaning out the food and litter tray in the evening. You may want to feed your kitten a third time.
If you’d like to learn more about the specifics of the work involved in caring for a kitten, keep reading. We will highlight the specifics of the care.
Giving Food and Fresh Water
A kitten will add to the chores in the home but giving food and water doesn’t require too much energy. You feed a cat twice per day—once in the morning and once in the evening at six months of age. Kittens, however, require feeding three times per day to get the full nutrients.
Some veterinarians say to feed your kitten six times per day in small portions, but don’t think of this as a must. Plenty of people only feed him three times per day, or they leave a free feederout so that the kitten can eat whenever he pleases.
Like children, kittens have growing bodies, and they need good nutrition to promote healthy development. You want to provide your kitten with fresh water daily. Despite needing it, many cats don’t like to drink still or standing water. They prefer moving water because they find moving water out in the wild from streams.
You will also need to clean your kitten’s water bowl every morning to keep toxins from leaching into it.
Cleaning the Litter Box
The other more demanding task of having a kitten comes from cleaning his litter box. You want to scoop away the waste daily for hygiene purposes. Doing this as soon as your kitten finishes his business establishes a habit.
For those who don’t want to clean the litter box, which is probably the most unpleasant part of having a kitten, you can buy a self-cleaning litter box here. It removes the cat’s waste and refills the litter so that you don’t have to worry about it. A sensor alerts the litter box of when your kitten has entered the litter box.
Your kitten will usually pee two to three times per day. Fluid intake, age and temperature can impact this. Usually, your kitten will do the other business once per day.
Usually, people who have a kitten will wash the litter box once per week. You can use liquid soap, warm water and vinegar to clean it.
Don’t use traditional bleach because of how the ammonia from cat urine can interact with the bleach. It releases a gas called chlorine, which gives off a penetrating odor and can make your eyes and nose water.
Vacuum More Frequently
You may want to vacuum once a week with a kitten to eliminate the allergens in the environment. It captures most of the cat hair and cat dandruff. Especially if you know someone with cat allergies who comes over, this can be helpful. Cat allergies are one of the disadvantages of having a cat.
If you’d like to learn more about the disadvantages of having a cat, I wrote about the top five disadvantages here. This can help you to decide if you truly want a cat. The purpose of that article isn’t to deter you, but to promote responsible pet ownership.
De-worming Your Kitten
Trust me: You want to do this. Kittens often get worms as a result of feeding on their mothers.
I know from the personal experience of seeing my kitten vomit up roundworm multiple times that you want to de-worm him. It’s so gross and it will ruin your day every time it happens—I kid you not.
You should de-worm young kittens at two weeks of age. Kittens over 12 weeks of age should be de-wormed every three months. You de-worm the cat four times per year. The mother cat, if present, should be de-wormed at the same time as the kittens, or it will do little to stop them from getting worms again.
De-worming your kitten also prevents him from spreading the parasites to you. Unfortunately, it’s a real risk, and you want to take precautions to prevent it.
As far as work goes for a kitten, this is one of the less frequent things that you will have to do.
Fleas and Mites
Speaking of parasites, you will want to get rid of the fleas and mites on your kitten. This prevents them from biting him and causing a condition known as flea allergy dermatitis. Rarely fatal, but fleas can cause splotches of missing fur, and other problems.
Mites can’t breed on your kitten, which makes them easier to eliminate. You want to take action immediately, however, because mites can cause mange, which is contagious to humans.
Very Important to Note: Get your kitten a flea collar that specifically says for kittens because they will differ from cats.
Play with Your Kitten: Does That Count as Hard Work?
Does anyone with joy in their heart think of this as work? Play gives your kitten the perfect opportunity to explore the world around him. They can investigate. Someone with a busy lifestyle may not want to play with the kitten all time, or they may not have the time. It’s not really work, but it does require time.
You can lower the amount that you have to entertain the kitten by giving him a playmate. This also keeps the cat from feeling lonely.
Having fun with your kitten is something that most people don’t think of as work, but it’s important to give your kitten love and affection and playtime. This ensures that he will grow into a happy and healthy adult cat.
Hopefully, you finish this article feeling confident of whether you can handle the work from a kitten. Kittens do require some work, but they don’t require as much as a dog where you need to take him for walks and let him out to use the potty up to five times per day. Expect it to take around 20 minutes for the actual work.
Kittens and cats have a reputation for the low maintenance required of them. Cats sleep between 16 and 20 hours per day, which cuts down on the amount of work that you have to do for them. At the same time, they give back love and affection 10 times of what they request.
Perhaps you want to bring home a cat to your child, but you want to know some of the reasons first. You may also want to know other information about having a cat, such as what age your child should get one. Keeping reading because we will cover this information in depth.
Some of the main benefits behind your child having a cat include:
Great childhood memories
Teaches him a love and respect for animals
The companionship between humans and cats
Learns responsibility through daily feedings
Learns more about nature and cats
Teaches him how to handle and treat animals
While this covers some of the key benefits that your child will enjoy, you should by no means think of this list as extensive. We will cover all the benefits in further detail in this article.
Benefit #1: Great Childhood Memories
As a kid, I experienced wonderful childhood memories of being with my friends and going to hunt down the latest secret kitty stash within the barns (yes, I was a country kid). The mother cats would hide their kittens in the hay tunnels of the barn, and we’d go to find them.
In fact, this story may teach you a little about cats because what I saw in my childhood was that each mother cat would choose specific locations to have kitties at and keep having them there unless they later saw it as unsafe.
One might regularly choose to have kittens at the hay barn in the north. Another cat mother would choose the machine shed on the southern end. You also had another hay barn on the south end that they might also choose.
Having these memories enriched my life as a child and made me feel complete. I wouldn’t give up these memories for anything. If you wanted to get your child a cat, I would recommend a kitten because it is even more fun as a child.
However, any cat is fun as a kid. You shouldn’t get a kitten for children under the age of six because of how they don’t know how to treat a cat. It could lead to the kitten getting hurt.
Choose a cat over two to three years old for a child under six because the cat can escape to a safe zone more easily without scratching or biting the child. You also want to think about how much that cat will tolerate from a small child. Buy a cat that has the right temperament for a young child.
Benefit #2: Teaches Him to Love and Respect Everyone
Having a cat teaches you how to respect and love animals. You learn how to treat them. One study reported how pet owners have more empathy than non-pet owners. They showed lower delinquency as well.
Another study learned how having an animal in a fourth-grade class led to more compassion from the students. In particular, it affects the younger kids more and teaches them how to express empathy for others. This greater development of emotional intelligence (EQ) makes having a cat for a child a good choice.
People with a higher EQ can communicate better, defuse conflicts, empathize, reduce stress and create more fulfilling relationships. All of these things equate to a richer and more fulfilling life. Some people could reasonably argue that EQ matters more to one’s life than regular intelligence.
What is it that makes child pet owners more empathetic? This comes down to its effects on the brain. The act of caring and loving an animal may impact the supramarginal gyrus. This region of the brain sits in the cerebral cortex, and it impacts how we interact with others.
Benefit #3: Companionship
As a kid, playing with a cat and your friends leads to a bonding moment between the cat and the kids. Your child may even make friends from having a cat, or he may bond more with other children from having a cat. I remember bonding with my human friends as much as the cat as a kid.
When your child doesn’t have friends, the cat serves as a furry companion. This keeps him from feeling lonely, and a cat gives him someone to play with.
Warning: Never leave small children under six alone in the company of a cat. Children at this age may not understand how to treat cats, and this can lead to him getting hurt, or it could hurt the cat. Think about how your child behaves to understand how he would behave with the cat.
A new cat can quickly become a devoted friend of your child, and you may see them cause mischief together. The bond that forms together between a child and a cat is like spaghetti and meatballs or pizza and toppings. It just works. I know because I was a kid with a cat. I’m not writing about this blandly, I personally enjoyed these benefits.
Benefit #4: Teaches Responsibility
Along with the fun of playing with a cat, you should let your child learn the responsibilities of a cat. For example, feeding him two times per day. We wouldn’t advise that you let your child clean the litter box, however. Incorrectly handling the litter box can lead to dangerous parasites, such as toxoplasmosis, which has the potential to cause blindness.
We see terrible advice recommending a five or six-year-old child handles kitty litter, and we could not speak louder against this. Do not let your child handle kitty litter or cat poop until he reaches at least nine or 10 years old, but it isn’t even necessary at that age. He must understand the dangers and how to handle it safely. You put your child in danger, otherwise.
The key here is age appropriate duties that aren’t dangerous.
Some of the responsibilities of a cat that he could handle include: feeding, addressing behavior problems (with guidance and supervision) and proper grooming. While cats are a long-term commitment, they don’t require as much responsibility as a dog where you have to let them out of the house five to six times per day.
Benefit #5: Good Wellbeing
One study from Australia found how children from ages of 11 to 15 tended to have better psychological health when they had a cat. The study surveyed 2,200 kids, and researchers learned how those who bonded with a cat earlier in life felt attentive, more energetic and less lonely.
Cats have a funny way of taking you out of a poor mood. Whether it be their eye for troublemaking or their innocent way of doing funny things, cats have a lot to offer a child.
The study also learned how children who had a cat were more likely to feel compassionate toward pets than those who hadn’t, and they had a more favorable attitude toward pets in general.
Benefit #6: Good for Your Child’s Health
We already covered how cats may be good for your child’s mental health, but it could also be beneficial to his physical health as well. In one study with 4,435 13 years olds, researchers learned how people who owned a cat had lower chances that they would die of a heart attack.
This proved true even of children who had only owned cats in the past. People who got a cat even reported in as little as a month how back pain vanished, they didn’t have headaches or colds.
Keep in mind, this evidence isn’t conclusive, and no one can determine the exact reasons for it except how a cat may help you to feel happier and more positive emotions like love and empathy.
Health Benefitsfor Children
Yes or No
Lower Stroke Risk
Looking at the list of health benefits for children
Benefit #7: Teaches Him How to Treat Animals
Especially when you introduce your child to cats from an early age, he will learn how to treat animals respectfully. Having a cat becomes an education for your child as he also learns about his pet and what to do for bonding and what will get him scratched or bitten. As a side note, never leave a young child alone with a cat.
You can use this as an opportunity to teach your child about animals in general. Especially if he seems to love pets, it could later turn out that you raise a veterinarian.
When your child develops a deep bond with cats at an early age, it sets the stage for a strong, positive relationship with animals for the rest of his life. Not only that, but some studies have found how people who had positive relationships with animals also have more positive relationships with people.
Benefit #8: Cognitive Development
Especially in young children, he will read to his cat, talk to his cat and play with his cat. This low-stress communication lets your child develop essential verbal skills in the youngest of children. The cat becomes the recipient of the child’s babble. He will learn how to praise, reprimand, order and encourage his cat, which will strengthen their bond.
Benefit #9: Reduced Risk of Allergies
Believe it or not, children exposed to cats as young as one year’s old had a much lower risk of developing all sorts of allergies. Later in life, cats can cause allergies, but at an earlier age, they won’t have the same negative impact.
One study learned how two cats or more in a home with babies lowered the risk that the child at age six would develop allergies by as much as 77 percent. Along with it lowering a baby’s risk of developing allergies, it may help to lower the risk of developing asthma. The most quintessential age for exposure is around one year old.
Never leave a cat alone with a baby, however, because while it may seem harmless, this poses a risk to the child. There have been cases where the cat laid on top of the baby to comfort it, but it smothered the baby.
Supervision is always best with cats and young children. That’s the golden rule. They may go together well, but you have to do it in the right way.
Is a cat a good pet for a child? Cats make awesome pets for a child because they don’t require too much care, but they require enough to give your child responsibility. Just make sure to adopt a cat with a calm and gentle temperament.
What are the benefits of having a cat for kids? Some of the benefits of cats for kids include psychological, teaching responsibility, lowering stress and feeling happier. Cats can also be a lot of fun to have because of their curious desire to learn about everything.
Before you get a cat for your child, however, you may want to learn more about the disadvantages. I wrote about that here, and it can help you to decide if getting a cat is right for your family. We don’t necessarily want everyone to have a cat. What we want is responsible pet ownership where the cat is loved and taken care of.
Cats have many benefits for both children and adults, but in some cases, it may not make sense for you. Hopefully, you have seen the benefits and know where it may make sense.