Buyer’s Remorse. When Your New Furry Friend Feels Like a Mistake

Common Reasons for Regretting a New Cat

Many people feel some uncertainty or regret after bringing home a new cat. Common reasons for these feelings of regret include:


According to a post on Quora, allergies are one of the top causes for regret after adopting a cat ( Unfortunately, some people don’t realize they are allergic to cats until after bringing one home. Allergy symptoms like sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes, and skin irritation can make living with a cat difficult. In severe cases, allergies may force people to find a new home for their cat.

Behavior Problems

Many cats have some behavior issues like scratching furniture, waking owners up at night, or not using the litter box properly. These issues can be frustrating, especially for first-time cat owners. Working with a behaviorist or trainer is important to address problems before considering rehoming a cat.


According to an article on Partners in Fire, the costs of pet ownership are a top reason for regret, especially with dogs but also with cats ( Food, litter, vet bills, toys, and other expenses add up quickly. People should budget properly for a cat before adopting.

Time Commitment

Cats require daily care including feeding, litter box cleaning, playtime and companionship. People underestimate how much time a cat really requires. The commitment can be too much for some owners, leading them to regret the adoption.

Lifestyle Changes

Bringing home a cat means lifestyle changes like staying home more, arranging pet care, and dealing with messes. These changes in routine and restrictions on freedom lead some adopters to feel regret about their decision.

Assessing Your Readiness

Before adopting a cat, it’s important to carefully consider if you’re truly ready for the responsibility. Cats require time, money, and commitment to provide for their needs. Take an honest look at your lifestyle, living situation, schedule, and budget to determine if adding a cat is the right choice (source).

For example, make sure your housing arrangement allows pets and you can afford monthly costs like food, litter, and veterinary care. Cats also need exercise and playtime, so evaluate if you have at least 30-60 minutes per day to devote to your cat. Having a predictable, cat-friendly routine is ideal so they feel secure. If your job or travel schedule means long days away, a cat may get lonely or destructive.

Take the time for honest self-reflection before adopting. A cat is a long-term commitment that deserves proper planning and preparation. If your lifestyle isn’t suited for a cat currently, that’s okay – you can still plan for a future adoption when your situation changes.

Trying Before Adopting

Before making the long-term commitment of adopting a cat, consider trying it out first to see if it’s the right fit for your lifestyle. One great way to test owning a cat is through fostering. Many animal shelters and rescue organizations need temporary homes for cats as they await adoption. Fostering gives you a chance to provide a loving home for a cat in need, while also letting you experience the joys and challenges of cat ownership firsthand.

Another option is to pet sit or house sit for friends or family who have cats when they travel. Spending a few days caring for someone else’s cat allows you to get a feel for the feeding schedule, litter box duties, playtime, and other responsibilities you would have with your own cat. Pay attention to if you find the experience rewarding or stressful. Having some one-on-one time with cats can help you decide if adopting one is right for you.

By trying before adopting through fostering opportunities or pet sitting, you can determine if a cat fits your preferences and lifestyle before making a long-term commitment. It’s an invaluable way to test the waters of cat ownership.

Picking the Right Cat

When choosing a cat to adopt, it’s important to consider factors like age, breed, and energy level to find the best match for your lifestyle and home environment.

Kittens require a lot more time, attention and patience as they go through their energetic, mischievous early months. Adult and senior cats are often calmer and may be a better fit for first-time owners. Specific breeds like Siamese and Bengal cats tend to be more vocal and active than lap cats like Persians or Ragdolls.

Take time to observe the cat’s personality – does it seem high-strung or anxious, or calm and friendly? An outgoing and affectionate cat that enjoys being held and petted is ideal if you want a cuddly companion. Consult shelter staff for their insights on the cat’s temperament.

Consider adopting an older cat if you want a more relaxed companion. Senior cats can make excellent pets, yet often get overlooked. Pairing a kitten with an adult cat can also allow them to play together and release energy.

When selecting your new feline friend, go with your instinct and choose the cat whose personality seems most compatible with your lifestyle and expectations. This helps ensure a happy home for both of you.

Preparing Your Home

Cat-proofing your home before bringing a new cat home is crucial to keep them safe and prevent damage. Cats are natural climbers and will explore every nook and cranny, so you need to make the environment cat-friendly. Some tips include:

Cat-proofing wires and eliminating dangling cords by running them through conduits or behind furniture. Cats may chew on wires, leading to electrocution (source).

Securing unstable furniture to walls using brackets. Cats love to climb and may topple over unsecured bookshelves and dressers (source).

Keeping breakable objects out of reach on high shelves or in closed cabinets. Curious cats will knock over and play with fragile decor (source).

Installing scratching posts and cat trees to satisfy cats’ instinct to scratch and climb. Vertical space allows cats to act naturally (source).

Initial Costs

When first bringing home a cat, there are some upfront costs to plan for. These include essential purchases such as food, litter, vet bills, and supplies.

Some initial costs include:

  • Food and treats – Depending on the type and quality, expect to budget $15-30 per month for cat food and treats. Many choose premium or high-protein options which cost more. The BetterPet source estimates about $300 per year on cat food. [1]
  • Litter boxes and litter – These will likely cost around $50-100 upfront for the box, litter scoop, and initial litter supply. Ongoing litter expenses are around $15-30 per month, with costs varying based on litter material and box size. The DailyPaws source mentions litter as one of the key monthly pet costs. [2]
  • Scratching posts and toys – Budget $30-50 for initial scratching and climbing needs, as well as some interactive toys. Cats need mental and physical stimulation.
  • Vet bills – The initial vet visit will likely cost $100-300 and include exams, vaccines, spay/neuter surgery, and more. Budget extra if pre-existing conditions need addressing. Annual checkups average $100-300 per year according to ASPCA Pet Insurance. [3]
  • Other supplies – Food bowls, collar + tag, brush, nail clippers, and more will run you about $50-100 at first.

In total, plan on spending approximately $250-500 in initial cat costs as you prepare your home for your new feline friend.

Time Commitment

Caring for a cat requires a regular time commitment each day. On average, expect to spend at least 1-2 hours per day on your cat’s care and playtime. Kittens and high-energy cats may need more attention.

Playing with your cat is an important part of the daily routine. Plan for at least 15-30 minutes of interactive play per day using toys like wands, balls, and laser pointers. This stimulates your cat mentally and physically. Grooming is another daily task, especially for long-haired cats who require frequent brushing to prevent matts. Short-haired cats still need occasional brushing.

Scooping litter boxes is a daily chore. Plan for 5-10 minutes per box depending on how many cats you have. The litter should be fully changed out every 1-2 weeks. You’ll also need to wash food and water bowls a few times per week.

While cats can be left alone for stretches, they still rely on you for their care. Consider how much time you can commit before adopting. Cats thrive on routine and do best with consistent daily interaction.

Lifestyle Changes

Owning a cat can lead to significant lifestyle changes, especially when it comes to travel, social life, and dating. Cats require consistent care and attention, which means pet owners need to plan around their cat’s needs.

Travel becomes more complicated with a pet cat at home. Short trips may require arranging a pet sitter or boarding. Longer trips often mean bringing the cat along or leaving them with a trusted friend or family member. Some find the logistics of travel so difficult they opt for staycations instead. According to one cat owner, “My cat hates being boarded or left with strangers, so I only take short trips now and bring him with me.” [1]

A cat may also impact social plans and nights out. Most cats do best on a consistent routine, so late nights or unpredictability can cause them stress. As a result, some cat owners scale back on spontaneous social gatherings and bar hopping. However, having friends over for a quiet night in or planning pet-friendly outings can help maintain a social life.

Dating and relationships require understanding from partners when it comes to the cat’s needs. Significant others should know that cats require daily care and attention. According to cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy, potential partners “…need to know you come as a package deal.” [2] Travel together also requires planning for the cat’s care.

While cats certainly require lifestyle adjustments, careful planning and communication with loved ones can ensure the changes are manageable.

Coping with Regret

It’s common for new cat owners to feel overwhelmed and experience regret during the initial transition period. If you’re struggling, don’t be too hard on yourself. Focus on rehoming responsibly and adjusting your expectations.

Consider reaching back out to the rescue or shelter you adopted from to discuss your options. Many have foster networks or trial adoption periods. Be honest about the issues you’re facing. They should be able to help you rehome the cat with an appropriate family [1].

Also re-evaluate your expectations. Cats require less hands-on time than dogs, but still need play, affection and mental stimulation. Try dedicating 10-15 minutes twice a day to interact with toys, treats or catnip. This focused attention can help satisfy their needs. Consider clicker training for better engagement [2]

While rehoming may ultimately be right for you both, don’t make any quick decisions. With time, you may adapt to having a cat companion in new ways. Be patient and compassionate with yourself and your pet.

Making the Best of It

If you find yourself regretting your cat adoption, there are still ways you can make the best of the situation. Here are some tips for learning to live happily with your new feline companion:

Compromise with your cat – Cats can be trained, even though they have a reputation for being stubborn. Have patience and use positive reinforcement to shape desired behaviors like using the litter box and scratching appropriate surfaces. You may need to compromise on certain things like where your cat is allowed to sleep or perch. Setting up cat towers and scratchers can save your furniture.

Get help from experts – If your cat has behavioral issues, seek help from a certified cat behaviorist. They can assess the situation and provide tailored training plans to curb unwanted behaviors. Things like inappropriate urination, aggression, and excessive meowing can often be resolved with time and training.

Ask friends/family for help – Caring for a cat alone can be draining at times. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends or family once in awhile. They may be happy to pitch in with litter box duties, play time, or even take your cat for a weekend sleepover. This can provide a much-needed break.

While the responsibility may feel overwhelming at times, remember millions of people adjust to life with a new cat every year. With compromise and commitment, you can make it work too. The love of a cat is worth the effort.

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