A Heartbeat in the House.
When one has been a part of a couple, and is now alone, it is not easy to adjust to the eerie quiet of a home. That is what happened to me when I broke up with my ex. Friends urged “Get a dog. You love dogs.”
Our dog went to him in the division of belongings, and I did not feel that I wanted to replace him so quickly – the dog, I mean. I also knew that I badly needed "a heartbeat in the house" for my own comfort.
Some of my friends had cats and they seemed okay. I knew that they tended to be fussily clean creatures, and so long as they are house-trained, they did not need much grooming. Only if they were long-haired. And my best friend Angela, who has two beautiful cats claims that the two of them cost her less than the average dog to keep. Maybe it is the age-old thinking of dog-people versus cat-people talking there. Ha! ha! Maybe it was the fact that they are kept indoors most times, and so rarely have any health problems.
My friend Jane tells me that her cat had become her loyal sidekick. She was given a kitten when she too ended up on her own. She swears by cats’ loyalty and affection. She tells me that no matter what time she comes home, her cat is always at the window waiting and happily cuddles up to her on the couch while she relaxes for a while. She claims that it is her cat that helps her to relax and to get rid of the day’s stresses.
I wanted to know what makes these creatures tick and whether I could expect a feline friend to give me the companionship I was after. Were they as intelligent as dogs? Some say that brain size has nothing to do with intelligence.
Do I have to feed them fish? Can I train them to be polite and socialized? Are they clever like dogs? The internet is full of articles, videos and Q&A. I read and I sifted until I ended up with enough to read and grasp without feeling overwhelmed. Then came the choice. Big boned cats, small slim figurine cats. Long haired if you enjoy the brushing, short hair for a busy person. Mumma cats or Toms? Inside cat or one I can allow out for a while? Talkers, or quiet ones?
I did get a cat. An adult cat from a shelter nearby. She looked a bit peaky then, but has blossomed into a beautiful creature. “Cat Jordan” is her name, usually "Cat "for short. That was many years ago. Cat will not be having any baby cats and she loves to snooze somewhere close to the dog I brought home shortly after that.
I love her loud purring when she is on my lap, and she is so good to snuggle up to!! I have learned a great deal about her and other cats.
Cats have been with us a long time.
Cats were first domesticated by humans around 5,000 years ago and were used to help protect farmers' crops from mice & other rodents.
It has been scientifically shown that keeping a cat is likely to reduce the stress levels of their carers, and this naturally leads to lower blood pressure. Cat owners are often found to have an improved immune function and are less prone to depression. Some claim that they lead to allergies in children, yet others show that they seem to decrease the possibilities of hypersensitivities and asthma in kids. I did not know which one to believe, but I ended up with the opinion that if kids are protected from anything that is not clinically clean, then they may find it difficult to adjust to it when older.
Cats are such a joy to stroke, to have on your lap, and to keep you warm. A well-loved cat is innately beautiful and it makes a house a home.
Each cat will have its own personality, and their own little quirky habits. You won’t be bored watching their antics. Any cat, young or old is amusing. You’ll find it chasing spiders and flies, or following a ray of light across the room or a moving foot under the blanket! Put an empty box or a paper bag (not plastic) on the floor, some catnip, scrunched paper, maybe a squeaky toy and appreciate the show. Felines are stimulating, fascinating and entertaining to watch at play, and many of them play long and often! Even the dog enjoys the show at times.!
No affront to your sense of smell.
One magnificent thing about cats is that they seldom, if at any point, smell. They are fastidiously clean, spending a lot of their time washing and grooming themselves and require very little grooming (unless long-haired). Cat even tries to clean the dog except that the dog is much bigger than she is and has long hair. She does not like the long hair much but he loves it when she cleans his ears and his mouth.
You do not need to walk them, neither are they too bothered if you leave them at home all day on their own, sometimes even longer, as I do from time to time. They are independent that way. But they are always eager to be with you, to play, to cuddle, or just to follow you around the house.
The myth of cats being aloof, spiteful, and selfish creatures very often comes from those who have never loved and cared for a cat. A casual relationship is no measure and makes them seem that way because a cat treats you with the fondest love only because it wants to. Nothing much else will make it your submissive servant.
Give your feline buddy friendship, approach it with deference and teach it the limits of living in your home. Give it food, a warm place to sleep and some TLC and it will be a loving, faithful companion. Many cats are the most devoted buddy in their owner’s life.
They like to find their own spot to sleep and it is amusing to see where and how they fit in their own little nooks. Maybe you have provided them with their own bed, or you don’t mind them on your bed. Some cats can happily exist in a small unit. No little garden to wander in while you’re away? Never mind. A few biscuits and – most important – fresh, clean water, a clean litter box, a cushion near a window, a cardboard box for them to squeeze in – how they love boxes! – and a couple of toys, and they will patiently wait for you, ready to jump onto your lap as soon as you let them. Some cats will sleep about 16 out of the 24 hours, so they cope with the waiting for you to come home any time of day – or night!
Cats are Soft, Silky and Sensitive.
- You are not likely to upset your neighbors as you might with a barking dog. You could, however, upset neighbors if your cat goes digging in their gardens. If you are in that situation, maybe a fenced area and a cat-door is the answer.
- You can get a Cat Run set up, either detached or joined to the house, or you could simply net a verandah, a terrace, pergola, whatever suits your circumstances. It could be something which you can erect yourself, or you can get a quote from those who specialize in that kind of structure.
- You can get an Electronic Cat Fence that is like an invisible barrier that will allow your cat the freedom to go out to your garden without escaping and stop other peoples' cats from entering yours.
A Clever way to let your cat out, yet keep them in!!
- There is a very clever cat-proof fence, which consists of a tubular section on the top of the Colorbond fencing. No wiring, no electronics. The idea is that when a cat [yours or one on the other side of the fence] tries to climb on to the top of the fence, the tubular section rotates freely so they cannot get a foothold.
- There is a cat flap that identifies the microchip on your cat before it opens the cat-door for it to come in.
- Yet another method is the electronic collar which will only let your cat in or out. It works similar to the Electronic Cat Flap but the electronic component is within the collar, so any pet with that collar can go in an out, but none other.
You may want to adopt one of these systems not only to appease your neighbors, but also to ensure that your best buddy is safe. If they do not appeal, it is still not difficult to keep a cat, even in a small apartment, especially if it has been neutered. De-sexed cats seem to fit in far more easily as they do not have to battle the urges to be ‘out there’ when the hormones rage!
Once over the kitten stage [past the one year mark], a cat settles happily into the home, if it is a loving home.
Avoiding dangers for your cat.
A kitten can meet many hazards. I have gone through a day of much trauma searching for my cat everywhere. I thought that she must have gone through the front door un-noticed, and was petrified at the idea that she might have gone on the road. Eventually I opened a cupboard, and there she was serenely asleep on my sun-hat!
Even though I had called and called, she had not answered, or maybe I had not heard her through the closed cupboard door, as she is not a ‘vocal’ cat. Since then I have learnt to ensure that I know where she is before I leave for work.
I would have been devastated if something had happened to Cat. We had formed a close and loving bond, even though she did not come to me as a baby kitten. She waits for me and we always sit a little while before we get to the business of eating. I can pat the dog as he sits by my side, and I talk to them about my day, while she rubs her head against me, and sometimes she chatters under her breath a bit, and at other times she just purrs and purrs like a throbbing engine.
She is soft and warm and so much fun to come home to.
Cat waits and waits.
- From the American Curl to the Turkish Angora, learn about 30 magnificent mousers, terrific tabbies and frisky felines from Cats 101!
Many Breeds of Cats.
© 2014 MarieLB
MarieLB (author) from YAMBA NSW on October 25, 2015:
I find it difficult to work out whether I prefer dogs or cats. I feel close to both breeds. Thank you so much for stopping by Mihneah Andreescu.
Andrei Andreescu from Seattle, Washington on October 24, 2015:
Kitties are adorable and I am glad you made this wonderful hub on how to look after them.I am more of a dog person myself but I love all pets and animals.
MarieLB (author) from YAMBA NSW on August 31, 2015:
Thank you Helga for visiting, and appreciate your feedback. As I said earlier I have been away, hence I have only just seen your post. Hope you visit us again.
HELGA on August 27, 2015:
Great read, and love the gizmos - esp the plant catbox.
MarieLB (author) from YAMBA NSW on July 14, 2015:
Hi Matt, so glad you read my article. It is good to be 'talking to' another cat lover, and yes, I do agree; that cabinet is such a clever idea for a small flat!
Matt T on July 13, 2015:
Cats are great, anytime, and I sure like the clever cabinet idea.
MarieLB (author) from YAMBA NSW on June 07, 2015:
Aha peachpurple! Methinks your cat knows that you are engrossed in your 'important work', and is gracious enough to give you room to do as you wish! Ha!Ha!! Thanks for reading.
peachy from Home Sweet Home on June 07, 2015:
My old catlooks for mewhen she ishungry. Otherwise, she isnowhere seen
MarieLB (author) from YAMBA NSW on May 27, 2015:
Hi Quicksand, I can see you are a fellow cat lover. You appreciate them in a way that not many do.
Many appreciate dogs because they show their intelligence quite clearly, but a cat needs time and understanding to show their best.
I'm with you there. Thank you for sharing your views on these magnificent creatures.
quicksand on May 27, 2015:
Remove a cat's soul and insert it into a human and see the rise in his intellect! (Of course make sure you put the cat-soul back into it's original casing!)
MarieLB (author) from YAMBA NSW on May 21, 2015:
I am glad you accept what is happening with your pets. If you pay homage with good grace, there is no doubt your cats will bestow many regal favours on you!! Enjoy!!
Thank you for stopping by!!
Federico on May 20, 2015:
Now I am convinced. I think our cats think that they are the boss and we their slaves, but they are kind to us anyway! LOL!!
MarieLB (author) from YAMBA NSW on April 07, 2015:
Hi Alan, I am still chuckling over your 'flash-story'. Now THAT is how I would like to write. Vivid pictures come at you, line by line, but boy! you'd better read each word carefully, cause each word is essential to that story. I had to go back twice to clarify! I had to clarify who 'the little woman ' was. The answer satisfied me. Fantastic.
However, I have to say it Alan, your story won't do much to entice someone to have a cat as a pet. I bet mine does. . . :) :)
Thank you so much for stopping by.
Alan R Lancaster from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) on April 07, 2015:
We meet again Marie.
The little woman has five cats - the youngest just under 2, the eldest in middle double figures, the equivalent of 100+ in human terms - although she had more. She's also got guinea pigs and gold fish, but that's another saga.
Three are females, the youngest a male with one eye on the goldfish (he hasn't figured out glass yet) and another on the small flying population as well as mice. The number of he and his older mate have brought in comes to double figures. His name is Marudydd (Welsh for Meredith, 'Merry' for short, and fairly forward.
We've had a number of males, most have come to a sticky end one way or another (one attacked by a dog, one scratched by an urban fox on the head - or was it barbed wire? - two run over, one died of food poisoning (somebody dished out some iffy fish to him and the eldest), one had feline aids. The current males seem to lead a charmed life... so far. One of the females is semi-feral but comes back for feeding or overnights in winter, another has a tendency to be a bit loose- bowelled so we have to watch what we give her for treats. She's a rescue cat and suffers fits if you stroke her. Weird.
Unless they're neutered they will smell, however, and something chronic in the mating season. Ours are all neutered. Keeps them out of trouble.
MarieLB (author) from YAMBA NSW on March 23, 2015:
Hi Cynthia B,
Thank you for reading the article and for your kind comments. I like the pot plant litter box too, especially if you don't have a discreet spot for an ordinary litter box.
Cynthia B on March 23, 2015:
Fantastic writing. You're so right, and I love that Plant Pot litter box.
MarieLB (author) from YAMBA NSW on March 12, 2015:
Hi peach purple, Kittens are very much like a toddler. They need lots of hugs and a firm hand! (: :)
peachy from Home Sweet Home on March 12, 2015:
cats can be wonderful companion if your kitty doesn't pee your car roof, scratch your sandals and shed furs on your recently mopped floor.
Stargrrl on February 23, 2015:
I had an adorable cat companion for 12 years. Then I had to say good-bye, for her liver was failing. I miss her so much! I feel like "It's just a cat," but she was my baby! I wish I could bring her back to life.
Joseph Garea from New York on February 06, 2015:
Great read. Thank you!
MarieLB (author) from YAMBA NSW on January 28, 2015:
Thanks for stopping by and I am so glad you liked the article. My apologies for taking so long to reply. I was away for a while. Hope to meet you again somewhere on Hubpages.
Lindsay on January 21, 2015:
hey there, thanks for this article. Interesting, and I do like the suitcase beds!LOL!!
MarieLB (author) from YAMBA NSW on December 11, 2014:
Hello Kylie. That fence is brilliant. I have since also seen something that looks like a cord on top of the fence, which is electronic [not electric] and again deters cats from climbing over in or out. These two systems are available in Australia.
Kylie on December 10, 2014:
What an interesting read. I just love that roller fence. Will have to find something like that for my yard.
MarieLB (author) from YAMBA NSW on November 19, 2014:
I do too Susie. It was invented in South Australia by filmmaker Paul Bok in 2006. Isn't it clever!
Thank you for reading the article. Come again. There is so much to read in Hub Pages.
Susie on November 18, 2014:
Love that Roller Fence. What a great idea.
T,C, on November 18, 2014:
CATS are just cute.
MarieLB (author) from YAMBA NSW on November 07, 2014:
Hi Shauna, Cats have that kind of power, quiet takeover tactics!
Thanks for sharing with us.
Shauna on November 06, 2014:
So true. My parents have a tabby they had for 6 years now, My dad didn't want a cat, but now she is his baby. Great article.
MarieLB (author) from YAMBA NSW on November 06, 2014:
I have to say it again Lion. I do love your style. You weave a story with everything you say, no matter how prosaic the subject.
I feel the same not only about my dog and cat, but about the birds I feed daily and anything else that is non-human and has a heartbeat, cats in particular.
Lionrhod from Orlando, FL on November 05, 2014:
I presently have 3 dogs and 2 cats. I adopted and rescued all 3 dogs. Both cats adopted and rescued me.
Squeaky was a roommate's cat. When I moved in, he decided I was his person. He kept me from potential suicide after my divorce. He was somewhat abused/ignored in that household, and when I left, my roomie was nice enough not to fight me for him.
After a house fire, Squeaky disappeared into the wilderness for 7 weeks straight. I was a mess, walking the woods, calling his name and fearing he'd died in the fire.
The morning after the fire, Raz showed up and leaped into my hubby's arms, and as we found he was a local stray, came home with us. If it wasn't for him, I don't know that I could have made it through the weeks when Squeaky was gone.
Tough little bugger that he was, Squeaky survived predatory birds and coyotes as well as a good portion of a Colorado winter.
I adore the love of my dogs, but I know a cat's love is a thing rarely given and precious.
MarieLB (author) from YAMBA NSW on November 05, 2014:
Hi Susan, you made me smile. I am thinking of the complex life you and you hubby must have! What with your health issues, babies and toddlers, and now you tell me you have two large dogs to take care of as well!! Oh please! Is there anything you cannot handle? Blessings . . . . .:)
Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on November 05, 2014:
I've had both cats and dogs through the years and right now we have 2 Newfoundland dogs. I miss my last cat Rambo who held a special place in my heart.
MarieLB (author) from YAMBA NSW on October 26, 2014:
Hi #Mel Carriere,
Glad you read the article. As it says in "Pets are good for your health", having pets often gives children immunity from those allergies. Some aspects to be considered would be whether they are likely to shed much [as in longhair cats] and how often one can vacuum etc. . .
But you are not a child anymore, so maybe it does not work as well in adulthood. I don't know.
I do know that cats and dogs can coexist quite well, especially if a kitten is brought in after the dog has established itself in the home. I know I have trained my cat not to chase birds, and my dog does not even to react to a bird flying into the kitchen for morsels as one bird around here does.
Pets are very much like little children. If you train them to do anything - consistently they will.
Thanks for stopping by.
MarieLB (author) from YAMBA NSW on October 26, 2014:
I can see that you have deep knowledge about pets. I know I will find your articles useful and I will be reading as I can. I have read your article about the Flooding Therapy and I think I would opt for a slower, surer ways. I think you do too. Don't know anything about horses, but always ready to learn. Very interesting articles to read. You write beautifully.
Mel Carriere from San Diego California on October 26, 2014:
I have a soft spot for cats even though I am allergic to their dander. I had a cat for a brief period in high school and my allergy seemed to go away for a while. I love both cats and dogs and it is nice to read that they can peacefully coexist, as they have in your home. Great hub!
Adrienne Farricelli on October 26, 2014:
Cats and horses were my best childhood friends, I enjoyed teaching them tricks. I had smart kitties who learned but it took some time. Then, I met dogs later on and I found it so rewarding how much easier they were to train and how in tune they are with their owners. However, cats still hold a special place in my heart. Vote up and beautiful.
MarieLB (author) from YAMBA NSW on October 25, 2014:
Hi J - R - Fr13m9n ,
So glad you liked it, and yes, I too love cats. I love dogs just as much. Your comment gave me a smile, thanks.
Jane Ramona Rynkiewicz Frieman from Morris County, New Jersey on October 25, 2014:
Awesome! My "babies" named Samantha and Shadow are wonderful companions. I could be sitting here in front of my computer writing a hub and Samantha would jump on the edge of the bed and insist I pet her. Shadow lives up to his name since he likes to follow me about. Ciao Meow!
MarieLB (author) from YAMBA NSW on October 21, 2014:
I am glad that I have been of some help in making your decision; and yes, there are so many cute things to get for the pets, isn't there?
ramonafanta on October 19, 2014:
Interesting to me because I am considering having a cat for company. And I loved the "litter box Tree" thingy. Will be considering that too.