In the pet spectrum, a cat is akin to the low-key friend who occasionally crashes on your couch, but otherwise stays out of the way. They're generally quiet, low-maintenance, and independent. But as with any loved one that you welcome into your home, the relationship – and responsibility – ends up being long term. In the case of cats, the relationship can stretch upwards of 20 years. That means the humane way to buy a cat is to consider all the long-term issues first.
To get a better idea of the ins and outs of being a cat owner, we consulted Dr. Tamera Chan, emergency clinician at Pet Emergency & Specialty in Thousand Oaks, California, (and incoming president of the Santa Barbara Ventura Veterinary Medical Association). Chan took us through the practicalities, hidden hassles, and unexpected pitfalls of cat ownership, and she offered tips on how to come out purring.