10 Reasons to Adopt a Cat This Holiday Season
By Hannah Baker December 15, 2018
To all my fellow cat-loving, or possibly on-the-fence-about-cats, friends: I come to you humbly this holiday season to provide you an objective (possibly, at times, subjective) list of reasons why you - yes, you! - should consider bringing home a feline companion as a holiday present for yourselves or for somebody you love this year (with their permission, of course). While I usually stick to informative posts about cats and all the reasons we love them, this one comes from a more personal place. As a human who found friendship in the tiny paws and quiet purrs of a cat named Milk, I can say with absolute certainty that I’m a better human for having this furry companion in my life. But don’t take it from me alone. Check out this list (admittedly still written by me, but supported by tidbits of factual information) of reasons why it’s a fantastic idea to consider giving a home to a cat this winter season.
1. There are so, so, so many cats that need a home.
3.2 million of them a year, to be exact. While this number fluctuates year to year, it’s staggering high no matter what year it is. Millions of animals are taken to local shelters and rescues every year - and only a portion of them end up finding a forever home. While some cities, like Austin, TX, have committed to no-kill policies, most others have not. Moreover, even in the no-kill shelters, these facilities are often met with over-population and a lack of supplies. Communities come together to help temporarily solve these problems, but the ultimate solution is to find these cats a loving home. Which is where you could come in.
2. Cats are relatively low-maintenance.
This isn’t to say that you should irresponsibly adopt a pet if you cannot care for it. However, compared to dogs, cats are pretty dang easy to take care of. If you have the stability in your life to feed your kitty twice a day (or even have roommates to help with this), clean out their litter box daily (or, if you’re like me, a little less frequently), and give them love and attention - you’re all set. You’ll also have to ensure that the cat stays healthy with regular visits to the vet including medication and spaying/neutering - however, most larger cities have low-cost veterinary services to help with this. For example, in Austin, TX, a nonprofit called Emancipet offers FREE (yes, free) primary checkups including micro-chipping, spaying/neutering, and even the first set of shots.
3. Cats can become your very best friends.
There’s a reason “cat people” are generalized as having an all-consuming relationship with their feline friends. It’s because cats can provide us with constant companionship, entertainment, and a sense of purpose. Caring for a pet, any pet really, carries a maternal joy that comes with taking care of another living thing. And mixed with reason number 2 (see above), this maternal joy comes at only a small price. Cats are known to follow you from room to room, perch on your lap, bring you presents, and generally provide a sense of presence that you don’t always get while home alone. If you adopt a young cat, too, this could mean that you get a best friend for years and years to come (upwards of 20 years!)
4. Most shelters and rescues have holiday deals.
Because local facilities are looking to provide their animals a place to celebrate the holidays, most will have deals around the season. These deals likely include waived adoption fees, free spaying/neutering, free micro-chipping services, and all sorts of incentives to get people out and adopting. If you’re traveling this holiday season or its just not a good time to bring home a new pet, don’t worry, most of these shelters have deals going year-round for discounted or free adoptions. Is there ever a better time to bring home a new companion?
5. Cats keep you warm.
It’s no secret that the winter months can find us shivering inside our own homes, perhaps for a lack of a good central heating system or a lack of proper house insulation, but the good news is that cats can act as a personal heater when you lay down for bed. If you get lucky enough to adopt a furry friend that enjoys sleeping in bed with you, then you just fast-tracked yourself to a brand new heating system, replete with fur and purrs!
6. Having cats as pets can reduce your risk for heart disease.
Uh, yeah. You read that right. Do you care about your health? Then look no further - you need not read any of the other reasons. This one alone should have you halfway to the shelter by now (what are you doing still reading this?!) If you have the ability to give a cat a good home, the returns could literally save your life. According to a 2009 study, “A decreased risk for death due to MI [myocardial infarction] and all cardiovascular diseases (including stroke) was observed among persons with cats. Acquisition of cats as domestic pets may represent a novel strategy for reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases in high-risk individuals.”
7. They groom themselves.
If giving a cat a bath seems like a daunting task that you may not be interested in, have no fear. Cats are pretty easy in the grooming category. While it would be preferable that you get your cat accustomed to baths (especially if they someday catch fleas), you can likely get away with doing this pretty infrequently, if at all. Cats give themselves baths. My cat, Milk, gives himself a bath probably 12-14 times a day. As a result, I only really give him a bath when he goes on outdoor adventures and comes back covered in dirt.
8. They hunt pests.
Say goodbye to any problems you might have with mice or bugs. Cats are natural hunters. Even if you think you may not have a problem with this, you never know what can find its way into the house. Cats will take pride in hunting down these intruders and disposing of them properly (by eating them or killing them and playing with them). It’s a pretty sweet deal to adopt a cat and get a pest control subscription included for free.
9. They can help the immune systems of children.
If you’re a parent and looking to get a pet for your child this holiday season, consider that a cat can help boost a child’s immune system. According to a study from the journal Pediatrics, “researchers say that babies who grow up in homes with a pet — namely a dog or a cat — are less likely to get sick than children who live pet-free.” So if you live in a family home, this means that adopting a cat can not only reduce your own personal risk of heart disease, but can also help boost your child or children’s immune systems. That’s pretty convincing, wouldn’t you agree?
10. They are absolutely adorable and every time you look at them, you will wonder how you got so lucky as to have this tiny little living creature sharing a living space with you.
Okay, this one may be a little subjective. Perhaps the strongest reason to adopt a cat this holiday season, in my opinion, is that they are the coolest and cutest creatures on planet earth. They are impossibly adorable and every little thing they do is show-stopping, precious, and one-of-a-kind. They will warm your heart, even at their most annoying, and they will bridge the gap between you and other humans because you will be able to bond over how incredibly sweet and handsome your cat is.
Bonus: If you’re still unsure, you can always foster.
If you still aren’t convinced or have circumstances that will change after the holidays, consider fostering this holiday season. It’s so much better for pets to be in a warm home than at a crowded shelter. Fostering processes are pretty straightforward. You could provide a place for a pet to stay during the holidays, and maybe just maybe, you’ll fall in love.
So, in short: there are so many cats that need a home; these cats can be your very best friends if you give them a home; they will literally save your life in a variety of ways; they are low-maintenance; they are perfect in every way; you should adopt a cat this holiday season.