Getting Two Cats in Doggie-Dog Town.

Also Read: Babies & Dogs 101

Why We Adopted Not One—but Two–Cats.

Ridgewood is a dog town. No one talks about their cats, turtles rabbits or birds. And lately, the pressure has been on. My kids were convinced that we were the last dogless family in Ridgewood. Even moms who had sworn they’d never get a dog…are getting dogs! My friends were giving in left and right bringing home cute fluffy doodles in all shapes and sizes: labradoodles, bernadoodles and woodles! What happened to our unspoken mom pact: you don’t get a dog and neither will we so that we can look our kids in the eye and truthfully say that we are not the only family in Ridgewood without a dog.

I never had a pet growing up (except for a water turtle who briefly lived in my bath tub until my mom made me send him swimming down the river). So maybe that’s why as an adult, I never had that dog yearning. Our lives are busy, we love to be spontaneous and I love to sleep in. I was pretty sure that adding a dog to our mix of travel and carpool would send me (even farther) over the edge. But my kids—like every small human being between the ages of 3 and 12 have begged for a dog since they could talk. So while the kids preferred the idea of a dog, they agreed to settle for a cat. Well, actually two cats.

In case you’re getting the same doggie pressure at home, and are looking for an alternative, I thought I’d share why I opted for two cats over one dog. Despite my kids’ promises, I knew that no one was going to help me so I decided to make the best decision for me—not them. My kids just desperately wanted something furry and cute to love.

Here are 5 Reasons that Cats Were Right for Us

  1. No early mornings.
    The kitty litter is key. If we opted for a dog, I could predict my irritation early in the morning and at the end of the day when it would always be me walking the dog. Our kitty litter is a bit on the fancy side, but allows us (really me) to only empty it once every four days.
  2. No training.
    When you get the kitties at 2-3 months, they are completely trained. It’s rather amazing. They have a natural instinct to go to the kitty litter. If you don’t want them on counters or tables, you will have to train them by spritzing water on them when they try to jump up.
  3. No Sleepless Nights.
    I already had several years of those having 3 babies. When I heard people talk about their puppies crying at night, I just wasn’t ready to have my sleep interrupted again.
  4. No baths: they clean themselves.
    I asked the vet if that was really OK or if I should clean them because the cleaning thing really freaked me out. He said they use a cup of saliva a day to clean themselves. That’s a lot of saliva.
  5. They can be left alone for a day or two.
    We can be gone all day and the cats are fine. And even as kittens, we were able to do that. No walking involved! They’re pretty self-sufficient. Leave out food and they’re good. After they’re a year old, you could even leave them for 2 days.

How to Choose the Right Kitten.
A friend of mine who has had several kittens told me, that much like meeting the right guy, you’d know when you meet the right kitten. And she was right. Make appointments to meet several kittens before deciding. Take a few weekend afternoons with your children and go to some shelters where you can hold and play with kittens. After a few visits, you’ll have a sense of what kind of cat is right for you.

All that being said, I was still pretty convinced that I was going to pick a devil cat. We browsed online at photos of kittens that were up for adoption in our area. I thought we’d go for the cutest, ignore its personality and end up choosing an asshole cat.

After a few shelter visits, my daughter chose a kitten that she claimed to love online and we decided to “meet” her. I put that cute, gray kitten in my arms waiting to fall in love, and that furry little thing twitched, lurched and squirmed. Then, I reached in for a shy, tiny black cat, the smallest in the litter. She wasn’t the cutest but was definitely the sweetest. She snuggled on my shoulder and fell asleep. I knew, this was my cat. Lily asked to hold this cat’s sister who was a little more energetic but still just as sweet and gentle.

Nine months later, their temperament is the same. They are sweet young cats who love to be held, are gentle with small children and love to snuggle. They stay off my counters and haven’t caused any damage in my house (knock on wood!)

This one even allows my daughter to dress her up like a doll.

Things I never knew about cats.
I always assumed that cats didn’t want to be bothered, were antisocial and kept to themselves. The woman at the shelter told us that cats can be quite social and snuggly if you raise them that way. These two kittens turned into sweet, affectionate cats. They love being held—in fact they allow us t hold them like babies, belly up.

And they can even be rather, well, dog-like, thankfully for my kids. They might play fetch: our one cat brings balls to us to throw and both of them wait by the door when we leave the house and are still there when we return.

Why Get Two?
Like I said, I barely wanted a cat—let alone two but every agency we went to encouraged us to take two. I was sure to their advantage; two less cats to find homes for. But they explained that unless we wanted to chase a kitty around with a ball of yarn all day, taking a pair of kittens meant they’d have one another for companionship and to play. They were right. They’re two peas in a pod: they sleep together, play and chase each other, and clean each other. When we’re gone all day, they’re not alone.

Regrets?
Truly none. I still don’t think of myself as a “cat” person (and cringe a little when people say I am) but I have fallen for these two. I like them much more than I would have ever expected and the kids are crazy about them.

We recently had our son tested for allergies and found out that he is, indeed, allergic to dogs and, here’s an off allergy to discover: hamsters. But he is not allergic to cats so without knowing any better, we made the right choice.

 


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Author: Heather Zachariah

Former Art Director for Home Magazine and Caribbean Travel & Life, Heather is chauffeur to 3 busy kids; the president of her Home and School Association; and VP of Marketing for TipsFromTown. And she's passionate about all 3!

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