What You Need to Know Before Getting a Cat


Ever since I was little, I always wanted a pet, but my parents (my mom specifically) were so against the idea because they knew I didn’t have enough responsibility, they would have to take care of it, and there was always the potential that the pet could ruin everything in the household. There were even a few times where I snuck in little pets to see if I could get away with it. I did not. Years of begging and whining passed, and still, no pets allowed.

I did my research to see how much work, money, and time would go into raising a cat or dog. Since I was a full time student, with a part time internship, I immediately ruled out getting a puppy because I knew it wouldn’t be fair for it to be raised in an environment where I wouldn’t be there to give it the love and attention it needed. That’s when I decided to get a kitten. (You can read about my experience bringing Nemo home for the first time in this post.) Anyways, here’s what you need to know before getting a cat, or pet in general.

Beware: This is one of my longer posts, so I will have Nemo pop up every now and then to bring your attention back. Enjoy!

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Meet Nemo

Nemo is my now 2 year old ginger tabby that I adopted from BARCS–Baltimore Animal Rescue + Care Shelter–when he was 3 months old. He is pretty mischievous, but also very derpy, playful, and incredibly spoiled.

I actually found him by putting up a listing on Craigslist. I knew I wanted an orange male kitten, so that’s what I put up. In the next few days, I was contacted by a few people, but I didn’t like that they were focusing only on the price of the kittens and didn’t have medical paperwork for their history. I was ultimately contacted by Lisa–a volunteer from BARCS. She was willing to set up a date that was convenient for me to meet Nemo, or at the time Kitten3.

When I went to meet Kitten3, Lisa also brought along his two sisters, in hopes that I could adopt the other two as well. Unfortunately, I couldn’t since my mom would 100%, without a doubt, kill me. Lisa introduced each one to me and we played with the kittens for who knows how long, and I learned that Nemo was recovering from a lung infection (and will be fighting it for the rest of his life)—a fairly common illness among shelter cats. But because of how playful and funny he was, I decided to adopt him right then and there.

baby nemo

The BARCS faculty reviewed some basics that I should know as a cat owner, injected him with a tracker (he was not a happy camper after that) and put him in the cardboard box for me to take home. They told me about 3 or so times to not let him out of the box while I was driving because he could get under the seat or gas pedals. They could probably tell I was so excited and barely paying attention. But I finally left the shelter and started driving him to his new home.

5 mins passed and I heard Nemo’s tiny mews and whines, begging me to let him out of the death box, so I opened a little flap so he can see the world, but of course, he takes it as a challenge to squish out of the box. He’s a curious one. After letting him wander the car, I finally managed to hold him with my left arm, letting him stand on my leg to look out the window, while I drove. Probably not the safest thing in the world, but I was just so happy to finally bring home a pet.

nemo sleeping

Immediately, when I got home, my mom roared at me for bringing home an animal without consulting anyone, but I told her I was paying for everything and taking care of him. I got the best food I could find, bought him some toys, his litter + litterbox, pet insurance, everything. Luckily, Nemo isn’t the kind of cat that scratches up furniture or people. He’s more of a dog, if anything—always sniffing things and greeting everyone at the door. He immediately won my little sister’s and dad’s heart, and took a little more purring and big, round eyes to win my mom over, but not by much.

My whole family loves him now. He watches baseball with my dad, naps in the corner while my sister plays piano, studies chemistry with my brother, and joins my mom when she watches her Korean dramas. When he’s not goofing around with them, he’s always in the same room as me, giving me endless laughs.

I am incredibly lucky to have Nemo in my life, as I’m sure (or would like to think) that Nemo feels just as lucky. And I am always more than happy to share his story with anyone who is willing to listen or read, so thanks for reading!


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