Making the leap from dog ownership to cat ownership seems to outsiders as a simple tradeoff. Cats require less attention and upkeep, but in return, they are deemed cooler and standoffish. However, anyone who has made the transition from cats to dogs realizes it's not that simple, and there's a lot for a first-time cat owner to realize about their new feline friend.
Cats do what they want, when and where they want.
Dogs live to please, but cats are too prideful for that. Adopting a kitten means welcoming a drama queen into your household. The world revolves around them, and they will be the first to tell you so.
They are pickier than the worst toddler.
Cats are weird. They like everything to be a certain way. The food can't be too close to the litter box, and sometimes their water dish is just the wrong dimensions, so they won't drink out of it. And don't dare get the wrong food. Some cats would rather starve than eat low-quality kibble. Learning your cat's quirks will take time and compromise (mostly from your end).
If you thought you slept a lot, wait until you have a kitten.
Cats, especially kittens, sleep a lot. Up to 16 hours a day! Felines are also nocturnal, so don't be surprised when you see your new pet sleeping the day away.
Everywhere is a bed, including your head.
All of that sleeping requires a lot of creativity to properly achieve. Don't be surprised if you see your furry friend sleeping in peculiar spots like on the backs of chairs, in fruit bowls and in sinks.
3 AM is reserved for zoomies.
Since they are nocturnal, many cats prowl their way through the night. Instead of hunting mice and birds, these burst of late-night energy will be expressed through reckless sprints through the house, often knocking things over and overall being extremely loud. This has been humorlessly named 'zoomies.'
The best hiding places are high and hard to find.
As predators, cats are always on the hunt. To get the best view of the land, or your living room, cats want to be as high up as possible. Locations with a good view and a bit of camouflage will make your kitten feel the most comfortable. Some popular locations are on top of fridges and bookcases.
Expect surprise attacks.
With a high advantage point and an instinctual need to attack, it's only a matter of time before your prowling feline decides to kamikaze attack your head from above. These may also come from any other angle or height. Cats love to pop out of nowhere and latch onto your legs or arms, or more painfully, head. Sometimes it's to play, but often it's just a reminder of who the real master of the house is.
Cats do need to be exercised.
One of the perceived benefits of owning a cat over a dog is that cats don't need much attention. While it's true cats don't need to be taken on walks or played fetch with, they do need plenty of exercise and affection. Playing with laser pointers, feather toys or fuzzy balls will keep your kitten mentally and physically healthy.
Potty training is painless.
Teaching dogs how to properly use the bathroom takes lots of patience and plenty of pee pads. Cats, on the other hand, have a natural affinity to do their business in sandy areas and then cover it to hide the scent from predators. Potty training simply involved showing your kitty where the litter box is.
Cats can learn tricks.
Learning fetch and how to sit are moves usually reserved for dogs, but with enough treats and time cats too can be taught every trick a dog can. Be careful, because clever kitties will perform tricks anytime they want a snack, which is always.
Catnip is basically weed for felines.
One of the best ways to encourage cats to play and scratch on some things and not others is to sprinkle the item with catnip. This plant is delicious to felines and has the amazing capabilities of calming them down. Yes, cat weed exists and it's amazing, especially when the 3 a.m. zoomies hit.
Belly rubs are a no go.
Everyone knows puppies love for you to rub their bellies, but cats are the exact opposite. Felines recognize their undersides as a point of weakness, so giving another access to there requires trust, something which cats do not do easily.
Felines can be very vocal, especially when they want something from you.
As stealthy and cunning as cats are, they aren't afraid to let you know how they feel. Cats meow exclusively to communicate with humans, so expect some when you take too long to prepare dinner or aren't paying your furry friend enough attention.
They don’t blindly love you like dogs.
Dogs are famously loyal. They unconditionally love their masters even when they later may be hateful and abusive. Cats couldn't be more different. They simply tolerate you on the basis that you provide them food and clean their litter box. You must patiently work to build a relationship, and in return, you will have a stronger bond than you would ever imagine.
...But they can still be affectionate.
Once they begin to love you, a feline's attitude towards you will drastically change; A once cold cat will transform into a sweet cuddle buddy that wants to be loved at all times. Soon your kitty will always be underfoot, just waiting to play and be petted. Just like dogs, cats can be an extremely loyal, affectionate pet.
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