Getting Kittens? 5 Lessons I’ve Learned After One Week

They are hilarious. What is this? Synchronized sleeping?

“Hey all you cool cats and kittens.”

~ Carole Baskin

If you’re considering getting kittens, I say go for it. My two fur-bears have already taught me so much!

Responsibility is healthy and good when you want it.

For the majority of my life, I think I’ve been seeking to distance myself from responsibility, because responsibility threatens freedom. Freedom, to me, has always been the most valuable “thing” a person can obtain. When you have complete freedom, you can live how you want.

But how you want to live is not always the best way for you to live. Left to my own devices and given freedom and resources, at best I’m bound to waste myself away in entertainment, and at worst, I could fall into areas like excessive alcohol consumption and gambling. Maybe I have more of a hedonic bend to my personality than most, but that’s the path of least resistance for the greatest reward.

But as most everyone reading this knows, not all rewards are on the same level. I can’t speak from experience on either of these, but I gather from others that the reward of holding your newborn child exceeds the reward from a drug high. It is not superior in intensity, as drugs are said to give people the most otherworldly feeling, but it wins in quality, meaning, and duration.

I waited a long time to get cats because I knew the commitment was 20 years. My freedom would be restricted, or at least made less convenient. It’s not as easy to travel now—something I love to do—because I have two furry pals that depend on me.

It’s okay to slow down and relax.

Cats are living memes. They go from 200 MPH racing around the house to completely zonked out, and back to playing all in the span of 30 minutes. I’ve seen it!

They say to themselves, “What is the cutest thing I could do?” Then they do that thing.

For many reasons, I’ve had to keep a close eye on Frodo and Sprout, and on more than one occasion, I’ve fallen into some cat naps myself, as if they’re convincing me to adopt their lifestyle. They have a point. It’s been really nice.

While my productivity is down since getting them, so is my stress, and my overall well being is up. It’s relatively easier to improve my productivity than lower my stress and increase my quality of life, so I’m loving this tradeoff!

Separate what you can and can’t control.

My fluff biscuits got sick very soon after I got them. Frodo, the small one (weighing under 3 pounds) had a fever of 104.7 and wouldn’t eat or drink for two days. I put every kind of dry and wet food you can imagine in front of him, and he had no interest. He was lethargic and shaking from fever chills. If not for some timely IVs and force feeding at the vet and ER, I think I might have lost him.

It was very difficult to see such a small, cute creature suffer under my care. But I can’t cure viruses, and I had to accept that Frodo’s immune system was ticket out of this situation.

Even so, I watched him closely, and decided to take an action I could take—going to the ER at 3 AM to get him subcutaneous fluids. Whether it was necessary or not, I don’t know, but I do know that it helped him out. I did everything I could, and he’s better now. He’s as frisky as cats come.

Me and Frodo at the ER (3 AM).

If it had gone poorly, I knew I had done everything in my power to help him. That was a comforting thought, at least, and it kept my stress levels well below what might be expected in this situation. I am pretty obsessed with cats, so a situation like this where my kitten is very sick was highly emotional and distressing.

Focus on what you control, and accept anything beyond that.

Some sacrifices are worth it, even when steep.

Kittens are expensive. Four trips to the vet and an ER trip so far have cost me well over $500, and then there’s the food, toys, cat tower, litter, and vaccines.

Kittens are furry anchors. Especially when they are this young, it’s not a good idea to leave them alone for very long. As a result, I have given up freedom locally and globally.

But these guys are worth every sacrifice I’ve had to make, and I’ve made more than I expected to have to make with these early medical issues. After that crazy first week in which I took one or both of them to a vet almost every day, I was still less stressed than before it started. Cat snuggz are that powerful of a stress reducer! The bond we’ve already created has had a powerful positive effect on my mental and emotional health.

The cons list could be a million pages long. This picture wins the argument.

As a hyper-logical person, I could have (and have) listed all of the pros and cons of cat adoption and easily decided against it. But when the positive impact is so powerful, it changes the equation completely and makes many of the cons nearly irrelevant.

The lesson is: be careful not to underestimate the whys and overestimate the why nots. I think life tends to rewards action more often than inaction. And it’s helpful to know you can usually try new things before fully committing to them.

Small choices every day move you in a certain direction within your world. Large decisions place you in a different world.

Last but not least, this concept has been on my mind a lot in the last year. I write books about small daily behaviors and how they can sneakily change your life over time. But that change is limited to your current world. There are some choices that can change your world itself immediately.

  • Love/Marriage
  • Having a baby
  • Pet adoption
  • Moving
  • Buying a home
  • Buying a car
  • Starting a business
  • Making a new friend

For me, it started last August, when I bought my first home. I was always an apartment dweller, but when I made the jump to home owner, my entire world changed.

Many of the benefits of home ownership are subtle, but they are extraordinarily potent when aggregated. When the stay-at-home orders hit my area, the slight comfort increase from owning my home seemed to quadruple. I was so happy to be able to “nest” in my own place and ride this out.

When I said, “I’d like to adopt these two kittens,” and brought them into my home, my world changed again. I’ve always been a lone wolf, but now I have a wolf pack! They make me laugh and smile so much each day, that I can’t understand how I lived without them. Frankly, I didn’t live as well without them. They make my life better and vice versa. It’s a good arrangement.

What big choices could you make today that might change your world tomorrow?

In conclusion, you should definitely get two cool cats or kittens right now.

They melted my heart a long time ago. This is overkill.

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