Thursday, July 15, 2021

Should I or Shouldn't I? by Marilyn Levinson

I loved my Sammy. He was my feline companion for fifteen years. The smartest cat I've ever owned. Sammy proved he understood sentences by following instructions without requiring gestures or hand signals. Yes, he did bite me on occasion and I've a few scars to show for it. But he loved me. I knew that by the way he would sit beside me as I wrote at my computer, liked to sleep on my bed, and always jumped on my lap when I sat in the recliner in my office. It was a sad day last June when I brought him to the vet for bloodwork and she told me he was seriously bloated, a sign that he had either cancer or heart disease, and it would be kindest to put him to sleep.  Which I did.

Lately I've been thinking of adopting a cat. I would love having  a feline companion in my life once again. Hearing a friendly purr as he or she settles close to me as I write or watch TV. But then I wonder—am I really up for it? People say that having a cat is so much easier than having a dog. I'm not so sure about that. A kitten requires as much attention as a puppy minus housebreaking training. Kittens have sharp nails that claw everything in sight. Of course there are ways of teaching them to use scratching posts. But there's no getting around the fact that they need lots of playtime to burn up their energy.

I could adopt an older cat, I suppose, but then I worry about how much closer that cat is to reaching the end of his or her life. And while a cat doesn't need to be walked in the rain and the snow like a dog, he/she requires a clean kitty box. That means a lot of bending, which brings pain to my back. And I know the little creature is bound to wake up early every morning and demand breakfast way before I'm ready to have mine.

Which brings me back to my quandary: should I or shouldn't I get another cat? Having one will bring joy to my life as well as more work. Not getting one means less responsibilities, and these days I'm appreciating the simpler life. I hope I come to a decision very soon.


  1. It's a hard decision.

    One more "con" is the shedding and little fluffy furballs that float across your floor like tiny tumbleweeds.

    Still... I know my Kensi Kitty is starting to get into those senior cat years and I wonder about life without her. I honestly can't imagine NOT having a furry companion. After MY Sammie kitty died, I tried to get along without one and found myself visiting the rescues in PetsMart every week. Yep, I ended up bringing one home way sooner than planned.

    But that's me. It's a personal decision that only you can make.

  2. With body parts it's a use it or lose it kind of thing, so the bending to feed, pet, clean the litter box, etc. can help keep your back in shape.

    Another possible con is carrying cat litter, which is not light. That became a major issue for my mother -- but only when she hit her nineties.

    I think you want to do it, so go ahead and go for it!

  3. You want it, so go for it! I write with two standard poodles next to me. They're so accustomed to zoom sessions that they stand and peek at the computer screen when I log in.

  4. Annette, Jim, and Margaret, Thanks for your input regarding my quandary. Annette, I do get nostalgic for a cat when I see yours on Zoom. Then I remember something I must have forgotten when writing this blog. My Sammy had a condition that made him throw up often. Another con to consider. Need I say more?

  5. Only you can decide. I know someone who, in the throes of the same quandary, bought herself a lifelike stuffed cat. The animal is low maintenance, portable from one room to the other, and a comfort whenever she needs it. Best wishes to you, no matter what you decide.

  6. Oh, how sweet. You will know when the time is right and your newest feline will find you. I've had more cats than I can count in my lifetime, and I've only sought one out. The others let it be known that I was theirs.

    Your Sammy looks just like my Cub. Ginger cats have so much attitude!

  7. I read that you're worried that you'll get too attached to an older cat you will die soon. And you did ask for opinions and so... In 2015, I adopted a senior dog. He was sick when I adopted but I didn't know how sick. I only had him for two short years but I'm so thankfully for those years. I'm so glad I adopted him. And the truth is there's no guarantee how long anyone will live. If it's in your heart to adopt--and there are many candidates--I say go for it.

  8. What a dilemma...but only your heart knows the answer

  9. My neighbor got a mechanical cat that moved and purred (I think it purred) until she was ready for another cat, which she did about a year after her 'cat from Hell' passed. The animal would snarl and leap at you if you came into the house. I fed it when she was out of town. Believe me, I didn't stick around. But, a mechanical cat might work until you're sure? I love my little dog, and would be devastated without him.

    M. E. Bakos

  10. Thank you all for your comments and suggestions.
    Saralyn and Mary, I don't think I could get a fake cat. It's bad enough I sometimes mistake a small fan sitting in a corner of my office for Sammy.
    Kait, I think you're right—if a cat crosses my path I won't be able to refuse its place in my life. If . . .
    Debra—so true. I'm still debating.
    Leanne, That dog was so lucky to have gotten you!

  11. Hard decision. I would ask myself would I regret more that I got a cat or that I didn't. The problem is having someone take care of them while you travel. If you don't plan to travel a lot, it may not be a problem. Good luck with your decision.

  12. I went through that a few years ago. My beautiful black cat, Djinn, died after a long illness and I said I wasn't getting another pet. A year or so later, I got a call from a friend saying she had a friend whose mother died and left a cat no one in the family could take. So my granddaughter and I drove to the nearby town and discovered Malley, who'd already had his suitcase packed--scratching post, toys, litter box (minus letter), vet records and two weeks of food.
    That was about eight years ago and now he's independent, indoors/outdoors (he was with his previous mom as well), sometimes sleeps on my bed, sometimes sits on my chest while I'm reading or watching TV, sometimes visits the neighbors for a day.
    I say yes, find another who's looking for a good home...but I'm not sure I'd want to go through a kitten stage!

  13. Grace,
    I always had someone nearby to take care of Sammy when I traveled. Somehow that wasn't a problem, though it might be an issue in the future.

    Michele, What happened to you is what Kait means that when the time comes a cat will find you. Malley found you and it was a win-win situation. I know what you mean about the kitten stage. Ugh! Those sharp little claws.

  14. After my husband died, my daughter got a pair of kittens, and they are a significant comfort as she goes through the grieving process. (I am going to cat-sit for a week while she goes away.) I always think two cats are easier than one.

    You can now get litter and cat food delivered to your door, which makes it easier as we get older. And there is light-weight litter.

    We got one of those mechanical cats for my husband. He had dementia. My daughters were skeptical, but he loved Maisie. We had to get a cat bed for him and "put him to bed" (turn him off) every night. I have never quite figured out exactly what the dementia did to Steve's thought processes, but he mantained that Maisie didn't know he was just a mechanical cat, not a real one, and we should be careful not to mention it in front of him, because it might hurt his feelings.

  15. From Joy Ribar: Boy, I know this dilemma. I lost my dear Dexter (a shelter cat) after 16 years just last February. My husband said, "no more cats." Guess what showed up in our yard in April? A cat that looks almost like Dexter. He now has a name and gets fed daily in our backyard. What to do when Winter comes? We're thinking of building him a warm outdoor shelter. For me, this is a somewhat workable compromise for now. I have allergies and I don't miss the cat hair everywhere in the house. I agree with all your other friends who say you will know the right answer when it's time.

  16. Kathleen,
    I had no idea there's such a thing as lightweight kitty litter. I still have lots of it in my garage, along with some treats. And I was getting it delivered, which I would do again IF I get a cat. Enjoy your cat sitting. Let us know how that goes.

    What a wonderful solution! Another case where the cat just happened to show up at the right time. Hmmm.