You’ve been to your favourite cat cafe so many times the staff are starting to give you weird looks. Your Facebook feed is full of cat videos and memes. Maybe it’s time to get a cat of your own?
As most Singaporeans live in high-rise housing, cats tend to be a more practical option than dogs. They also seem like a relatively affordable pet choice.
Do note, however, than cats are officially prohibited in HDB flats, although that hasn’t stopped many owners from keeping feline furries in their flats. Do note that in any type of high rise housing, you should keep your cat strictly indoors.
Before you run to the SPCA or Cat Welfare Society to pick up your kitty, note that other than buying cat food and paying fees to the organisation, which will probably include the cost of sterilisation and/or vaccination, you might have have to factor in the cost of these things.
Cat-proofing your windows
Unless you have your air con on all day long, you will probably need to keep your windows open or risk being cooked alive in the heat and humidity.
For those who live in high-rise housing, this is a problem, as cats are notorious for falling out of windows and to their deaths.
You might thus have to cat proof any windows you wish to leave open and which are accessible to cats due to nearby furniture. This is usually done by installing mesh over it. Windows with a desk, sofa or shelf underneath or nearby are prime candidates, since your cat might be able to get up on the sill.
Assess the layout of your home before bringing your cat home so you know which windows need to be cat-proofed.
Litter box replacements
Flat dwellers will need to equip their cats with a litter box, since their pets don’t have the option of taking a stroll downstairs to take a dump, as dogs do.
While a basic litter tray doesn’t cost much, bear in mind that you might later discover you need to upgrade to a new one. For instance, some owners find they need to buy a litter box with a lid if their cats are prone to covering the floor in a sea of litter when they bury their poop, or have the habit of misfiring when doing their business.
Before you upgrade your litter box in despair, however, try experimenting with different types of litter. More expensive litter that’s fine and clumps well tends to reduce the likelihood of accidents with some cats.
Your cat never leaves the house, so he can’t possibly end up getting fleas, right? Well, turns out that fleas and ticks can still enter your home—by clinging to you.
You don’t even need to be in contact with animals to pick up these pests. For instance, if you go on a picnic at the Botanic Gardens, you could be exposing yourself to fleas and ticks, which often hang out in the grass, waiting to jump onto an unsuspecting host. If you have other pets like dogs, your cat is even more likely to get hit by an infestation.
Topical flea and tick treatments can be troublesome to administer, since they smell bad and could cause your cat to sulk for the duration of the treatment. Oral flea/tick treatments often need to be administered on a regular basis, such as every month.
You don’t really need to spend money on cat toys in order to keep your furries stimulated, since you can DIY 101 different cat toys just using toilet paper rolls and bits of yarn.
But one thing that’s definitely worth buying is a scratch post. Cats are wired to claw on things, not just to keep their claws at bay but also to mark their territory. If you don’t provide your cat with a decent scratch post, he’ll happily turn to your furniture to satisfy his scratching needs, and your expensive leather sofa will of course be the first casualty.
If you’re really on a budget, you can buy a small stand-alone scratch post. Cat owners with deeper pockets might want to opt for a large cat tree containing multiple scratch posts. Just be sure to experiment with where you place these items to encourage your cat to actually use them.
What unexpected expenses have you faced as a cat owner? Tell us in the comments!