Top 5 Disadvantages of Having a Cat – What Our Survey Found

Maybe you have thought to get a cat, but you’d like to learn more about the disadvantages before you buy one. That’s not being an animal hater, that’s responsible pet ownership. You want to know that you were cut out to have a cat before getting one.

Here at the Paw Father, we surveyed 49 cat owners to learn what the biggest disadvantage is of owning a cat.

Here’s what the people voted…
Destructive behavior17
Litter box9
Short lifespan13
Cat maintenance4
Transmissible diseases1
What our Paw Father survey of 49 people found.

By and large, people ranked destructive behavior as the most common disadvantage of owning a cat. As a cat owner myself, I voted for this one as well, but we’ll talk more about these things after we’ve ranked the top five disadvantages of having a cat in order.

RankTop 5 DisadvantagesPercentage
1Destructive behavior34%
2Short lifespan26%
3Litter box18%
4Cat maintenance8%
The biggest disadvantages of owning a cat from a survey of 49 people.

Why did I conduct this survey? I did this to highlight the biggest disadvantages that you will face when getting a cat. Hopefully, this can help you to understand the priority of the disadvantages as well among many people who shared similar opinions.

For someone who doesn’t have a cat, you may find it helpful not just to see the disadvantages but to know which ones people ranked as the worst part of cat ownership. This can help you to make an informed decision.

Disadvantage #5: Expenses of Having a Cat

When we conducted the survey, we found that six percent of people found the expenses of having a cat as the biggest disadvantage. Based on information from the ASPCA, most cat owners can expect to spend an average of $634 per year. That averages out to $53 every month.

Some of the expenses that you can expect to encounter when having a cat include:

  • Cat food
  • Treats
  • Recurring medical expenses
  • Cat toys
  • Unexpected costs (scratching up furniture, sickness, etc.)
  • Miscellaneous (extra scratching mat, catnip, etc.)
  • Catsitter

Understanding the expenses of having a cat before you get one can go a long way to being satisfied. While most people didn’t find the expenses of a cat as outrageous, you still had some people who thought of this as the biggest disadvantage.

We’d like to highlight the expenses of having a cat so that you can see how the expenses figure in and decide if it’s within your budget. This budget is based on having a single cat. Keep in mind, this will look slightly different from the ASPCA’s estimation because this is our own estimation, but we’re breaking down the expenses further than the one given:

ExpensesMonthly CostYearly Cost
Cat Food$20$240
Kitty Litter$18$216
Cat toys$2$24
The total cost of cat ownership averages $920-$1120 per year.

Keep in mind, this is what the average pet owner pays. It could be more or less, depending on the food and other expenses. Also, where you live plays a role in cost with some areas costing more than others.

Disadvantage #4: Cat Maintenance

Eight percent of the 49 respondents said that cat maintenance was the biggest disadvantage of owning a cat.

In comparison to dogs, cats don’t require half the maintenance. You don’t have to take them outside three to five times per day for potty breaks, and you don’t have to rigorously exercise them. With that said, cats do still require some level of maintenance.

For example, you will have to clean his litter box, give him love and affection, play with him and feed him. This does add up to time out of your day. In a year, one study from Fresh Step found that pet owners average 1,016 hours of playtime with their cats per year.

Most cat behaviorist experts believe that should average between 20 to 60 minutes per day. You might split this up into short 15-minute bursts since cats naturally have energy boosts throughout the day.

For someone with a busy lifestyle, you may still be able to have a cat unless you have too busy of a lifestyle. Someone who doesn’t want to take time out of their day should avoid getting a cat. Cats may be aloof, but they still need playtime.

Disadvantage #3: Litter Box

No cat owner likes to clean the litter box, but it comes as an essential part of owning a cat. Based on our study, 18 percent of cat owners saw cleaning the litter box as the greatest disadvantage of being a pet owner.

A lot of people report cat poop as smelling worse than dog poop. You should also scoop the litter once or twice per day.

To make the experience less unpleasant, you can buy self-cleaning litter boxes, nowadays. Check out the PetSafe ScoopFree Automatic Self Cleaning Hooded Cat Litter Box. If you don’t want to clean the litter box, it’s worth the investment.

Another Problem Lurks around the Corner

That may eliminate one of the problems with kitty litter, but you have another disadvantage that we feel we should mention—kitty litter is heavy. Depending on the brand and size you buy, kitty litter can weigh anywhere from 13 pounds to 40 pounds.

Many people, especially women and older women, say that it weighs too much to carry. Oftentimes, they will have a husband, son or loved one bring in the kitty litter because it weighs so much.

Let’s say that you don’t have someone who can carry the kitty litter for you. What can you do? Instead of buying it in a way where you would have to haul it, you could order it online. This brings the box most of the way.

When it arrives at your location, you can use a Harper Trucks 300 lb Capacity Steel Hand Truck with 8″ Flat-Free Wheels. This may sound hilariously dramatic, but for someone who doesn’t have the strength behind them, it can make lifting kitty litter much easier.

Disadvantage #2: Short Lifespan

Cats will live anywhere from two to 20 years, but even with a cat that lives longer, it never seems long enough. Someone who isn’t a cat owner may be unable to understand why someone would cry over losing a pet.

However, for many who have gone through it, it feels just like losing a loved one. Unfortunately, it happens more often because cats don’t have as long of a life expectancy as humans. That’s a huge disadvantage and our survey found that 26 percent of cat owners saw this as the biggest disadvantage when it came to their pets.

Some cat owners have sworn that they would never have another cat after their last one died. Interestingly enough, many report how another cat would always move into their heart after. It doesn’t replace the loss, but it does show how things go.

If you’re dealing with the loss of a cat, check out this video on grieving:

For someone who doesn’t do well with losses, you may find this the worst part of having a cat. You can, however, take active measures that could extend your cat’s lifetime.

Some of the things that you could do to help him live longer include:

  • Provide him with a balanced diet
  • Make sure his vaccinations are up to date
  • Provide clean water
  • Don’t feed him too many treats
  • Don’t let your cat become overweight
  • Routine vet checkups are a must
  • Get him/her neutered/spayed

Raw food, such as the canned food, tends to be healthier for your cat so that he lives longer. A healthy and active lifestyle means that your cat will hopefully live longer.

Expert Tip: Wet cat food can also be used as a way of keeping your cat hydrated. It contains 80-percent water, which reduces the amount of other water that you need to give him.

Disadvantage #1: Destructive Behavior

Destructive behavior took first place in the survey with 17 respondents (34 percent) saying that their cat’s destructive behavior was the biggest disadvantage of owning a cat. The second closest was 13 respondents who said short lifespan was the worst.

When we say destructive behavior, we mean how a cat will destroy many of your prized possessions if you don’t establish firm boundaries. Some of the destructive behavior that he may engage in include:

  • Clawing up the furniture
  • Urinating everywhere
  • Knocking valuables off shelves
  • Shredding the drapes
  • Scratching up expensive things

Unfortunately, this goes with the territory of owning a cat. You can discipline a cat and it may work, but you have cases where no matter how much you discipline him, he’ll still engage in this behavior. A cat can test your patience to its limits. It depends on the cat’s personality, but some are prone to causing trouble.

How can you prevent a cat from destroying the home? To reduce the amount of clawing up furniture and other things, you might buy him a scratching post. The Amazon Basics Cat Condo Tree Tower with Hammock Bed and Scratching Post can help to lower the amount of scratching up your stuff that he does, while also serving as a cute bed for him.

Urinating is a problem most common with male cats, and you can mitigate it by having your cat neutered. As for your cat knocking valuables off the shelves, Jackson Galaxy, the star on the show My Cat From Hell, says that cats commonly knock things off the shelves when bored or trying to get your attention. You can lower this by playing with him more.

Other Disadvantages

Beyond the top five that we mentioned, there were two others that popped up that we feel worth mentioning. They didn’t quite make the top five, but they’re worth being aware of.

Allergies: Cat allergies can cause sneezing, runny nose or a stuffy nose. Unless someone has severe cat allergies, you have thousands of pet owners who still have a cat. You can treat mild cat allergies with over-the-counter medication.

Transmissible diseases: The three most common diseases that humans can get from cats include toxoplasmosis, cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis. That only marks out the most common ones.

Humans can catch a total of 13 diseases from cats. Understanding how cat diseases spread can keep you from this danger. For example, anything where you might come into contact with cat feces, such as when cleaning the litter box, touching a contaminated surface or petting or carrying your cat.

Is getting a cat a bad idea? As long as someone plans to act responsibly after getting a cat, it can even have positive effects, such as reduced loneliness, lower stress and anxiety and improved cardiovascular health. The benefits of cat ownership outweigh the disadvantages.

Can a cat harm you? Physically, cats can do little damage to humans because of their small size, but cats can still transmit up to 13 diseases to humans that can be dangerous to their health. Cats also inflict 400,000 bites on humans per year, and rabies shots should be administered in some cases.

Why are cats bad for your health? Cats carry up to 13 diseases that can be transmitted to humans. The three most common include toxoplasmosis, cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis. Always exercise proper care when handling cats to reduce the risk.


Hopefully, through reading the information that we got from the survey, you feel more educated on if you want a cat. We talked a lot about the negatives of owning a cat, but you should also understand some of the benefits. For example, studies have shown how people who have a cat feel less lonely.

Cats also give you hilarious memories that only an animal knows how to give. In some cases, they’re more pleasant than humans.

If you can think of your own disadvantages of having a cat, please feel free to drop a comment below. Also, feel free to talk about the reasons that you love having a cat.

5 thoughts on “Top 5 Disadvantages of Having a Cat – What Our Survey Found”

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