Cat ownership is a serious responsibility...

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Cat ownership is a serious responsibility...

Before you even get to the point of considering a cat lover gift, some basic questions should be asked prior to becoming a cat owner.

Before you even get to the point of considering a cat lover gift, some basic questions should be asked prior to becoming a cat owner.

Being a cat owner implies, moreover, it encompasses being a dedicated and capable care provider.

Simply put, if you want the consummate and unconditional companionship that a cat can give, you have to give her something in return.

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Namely a carefully appointed home she can 'rule', and good health, physical as well as mental. Don't be put off by the term 'carefully appointed home'.

It just means you will have to provide some things, including cat furniture, for her benefit. Think of it as 'cat proofing' your home. First, though, go through this check-list to see if you qualify for cat ownership:

If you rent, you'll need approval from your landlord to have a pet.

Everyone in the family will need to be 'ok' with getting a cat. After all, you don't want someone kicking the cat because they don't like or want her around.

Of course, they may not have the knowledge or understanding of proper cat care.

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You'll need to check everyone in the family to see if anyone is allergic to cats. A skin prick test with the doctor is the best way to find out.

Any young children will have to learn how to handle cats or kittens properly. No ear or tail pulling.

The child will end up with the scratches and the cat will suffer all the blame. More than likely, the cat might be subjected to unintentional harm.

You will need required time to do the research necessary to learn what proper care providing is.

There's a lot more to it than buying a litter box, litter and a couple of bell toys.

Cats are complex creatures with specific needs including nutritional, physical (exercise), and problematic health care.

Cat ownership costs money. You will need to provide nutritious quality cat food, regular and emergency veterinary care, grooming supplies and, of course, cat lover gifts.

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To give you an idea of how much yearly expenses can be, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has developed a cost analysis chart. Check it out here.

Cats need exercise. You can't just open the door and let them out to run.

Especially if you are in an urban situation. Dodging cars on a busy street is not a good exercise idea. In the country, you don't want her to become a tasty meal for a fox or coyote.

Cleaning up after your cat is a test of patience. Bad behavior requires training. You will also have to become somewhat of a cat psychologist to understand her traits, motivations and moods.

Neglecting any of these can lead to... cleaning up after your cat.

Finally, you should be prepared to make a long term commitment of at least 8-10 years. In some cases a properly cared for cat can live up to 18 years or even longer.

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Here we arrive at the concept of what a true cat lover gift is.

"Having the knowledge and willingness to properly care for a cat will define what kinds of cat lover gifts you will bring home for her".

Your gift to her is a deep and meaningful concern for her well-being, and, to commit to that concern for her entire life.

If you find that, after trying to provide for a cat, that you cannot continue to care for her... there are ways to relieve yourself of the responsibility.

Even then you will have to go extra lengths to find her a new home with someone who will care for her as much as you would want to.

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