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Ways to Enjoy Cats Without Having One

Easy ways to satisfy your love for cats when you can't have one of your own

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There are many situations where cat lovers can't have a cat. Here are just a few:

  • College Students Whose Dorms Don't Allow Pets
  • People Allergic to Cats
  • People Who Live out of Suitcases
  • "No Pets" Rentals
  • Kids Whose Parents Say "No"
  • Seniors in "No Pets" Facilities
  • People in Financial Crisis

Even people allergic to cats can enjoy them vicariously by donating goods, or even creating blankets and toys to donate to local shelters.  I've created a list of several ways to satisfy your love for cats, even when you can't have one of your own.

 

 

Be a Part-Time Pet Sitter

Photo of Teen With Cat At Vet
Photo Credit: © IStock Photo/Catherine Yeulet

A friend of mine has a 13 year-old daughter who is a cat-sitter for neighbors. She charges a small daily fee, and goes after school to do her homework with the cats. While she is there, she feeds the cats, refills their water dishes changes the litter box, and then plays with them. A bonus is that she takes photos and videos on her cell phone and sends them to the cats' owners. A teen who drives could even take cats for routine vet visits.

This would also be a good opportunity for a senior who could not have a cat. It would provide cat companionship, earn a little pocket money while helping out a neighbor, and provide wonderful "purr therapy."

For others, it could lead to part or full-time work as a licensed, bonded pet sitter.

Volunteer for a TNR Group

These Stray and Feral cats are ideal targets for a TNR group. Note the two cats mating on the left.
Photo Credit: © iStock Photo/Tina Lorien

Nothing can be quite as personally rewarding as helping to reduce the huge cat overpopulation problem by working with a TNR group. Statistics have proven that the Trap-Neuter-Return method is far superior to the Trap/Kill methods favored by some governmental agencies in reducing feral cat population. This anomaly is called "The Vaccuum Effect" by TNR advocates. If you cannot locate a TNR group in your own town, consider starting one yourself. Alley Cat Allies has published a training package with all the information you will need.

College students who can't have cats in their dorms are also perfect candidates for college campus TNR groups. The Texas A&M College has such a group called AFCAT, modeled after Stanford University's TNR group.

Learn to Draw or Paint Cats

Drawing of Joey Syufy by Helen South, About.com Guide to Drawing/Sketching
Photo Credit: © Helen South

If you have the slightest artistic ability, you can learn to create quite credible pieces of art featuring cats.

Drawing & Sketching Cats

It's easiest to learn by first using a photograph of a cat as your model. Ask a relative, friend, or neighbor if you may take a picture of their cat. Helen South, About.com Guide to Drawing & Sketching has a wonderful tutorial featuring a drawing she did of my Joey. See also her other tutorial on how to sketch cats

Painting Cats

Marion Boddy-Evans offers a tutorial on painting cats (including how NOT to paint cats). In my limited experience acrylic paint is a good medium to start with as it is more forgiving than oil.

Who knows, if you practice diligently, you may someday find a new career. Good luck!

Volunteer for an Animal Shelter

Photo of Cat in Animal Shelter Cage
Photo Credit: © iStock Photo/Dwight Smith

Volunteering for animal shelters is a wonderful, rewarding way to see and hold cats on a regular basis, and to let them know that someone cares. Some of these cats are castaways, no longer needed or wanted because of a move, a new baby, or a new mate who doesn't like cats. Others came because an owner passed away and family members couldn't or wouldn't claim the cat. While it may be tempting to play with the kittens, I hope you'll devote much of your time to the older cats. These seniors feel lost and alone, and the love and care you can give them will make their stay at the shelter a bit less lonely and frightening.

Yes, it will often be sad, but try to temper your sadness with the knowledge that you're making a difference.

Make Cat-Related Crafts

Photo of Knitted NIPMice Front View
Photo Credit: © Leslie Bardsley
Hand crafts are a wonderful way to satisfy your craving for all things catly. They range from simple crafts for children to more advanced ones for adults of any age. Here are several ideas gleaned from the rich resources of About.com: Have fun with your crafting and be sure to send me photos of your finished work!

Read About Cats

Photo of Book Cover "I Can Has Cheezburger"
Photo Credit: © Gotham Books/Cover Design by Ben Gibson
With the Interwebs, there is no dearth of reading material about cats. Here is just a sampling:

Books About Cats

Here are a couple of my favorites:

Write About Cats

Screenshot Photo: A Day at the Ranch Blog
Photo Credit: © Caboodle Ranch

Unless you're a professional writer, creating a blog about cats is the quickest, easiest way to write about cats, display photos you've taken of cats, and interact with other cat bloggers. Blogging is usually free, and there are several very good platforms for beginners, such as Wordpress and Blogger. If you're a rank beginner, Susan Gunelius, the Weblog Guide for About.com can lead you to becoming a proficient blogger.

If you know basic HTML, you may even want to create your own web site, to write about cats. You can share your in-depth knowledge about cat on a broader scale. If you're just beginning with HTML, check out Jennifer Kyrnin's About.com Web Design/HTML site.

Who knows? Some day you may even write a book about cats!

Take Photos of Cats

This photo of U of the Vowels is an excellent shot of a black cat, sometimes hard to photograph
Photo Credit: © E of the Vowels

It isn't hard to get great photos of cats with a digital camera. The beauty of digital cameras is that you don't have to pay for your mistakes through high photo processing fees. Take a number of photos, then delete all but your favorite two or three. If you haven't moved to digital yet,see About.com Guide to Cameras' list here Digital Cameras.

Have you noticed that so many photos of cats show them sleeping? That's not only because cats do a LOT of sleeping during the day, but also because you need to be prepared at all times for that perfect photo op.

Where to Find Cats to Photograph?

Try friends, cat shows, or animal shelters. Once you have a gallery of cat pictures, post them to Flickr, or send them to me for one of my galleries.

Go to Cat Shows

Photo of Owner Playing With Cat at Cat Show
Photo Credit: © Franny Syufy

Unless you are allergic to cats, a cat show is a wonderful way to get "up close and personal" with pedigreed cats of most breeds. The best way to find a cat show near you is to check the schedules of the main cat registries and/or breed clubs of your favorite breed. Caution: If you are bringing a digital camera, always ask the cat's owner for permission to photograph his or her cat. Also, be careful not to use the flash when photographing cats in the judging area. It can startle the cats, and judges will be very unhappy.

One of my favorite parts of major cat shows is visiting the cages of cat rescue groups, which are often kept in a separate area of the show arena. (This is also a good place to go for cat lovers looking for adoptable cats.

Join a Cats Forum

Picture of Beautiful Forum Cat Callie
Photo Credit: © Ron Sherowski

Guess what? You usually don't need to have a cat of your own to join a cats forum. At About.com, the only qualification necessary is to love cats. In fact, quite often first time visitors post that they're thinking about getting a cat. Happily, many of them eventually do, and our members are delighted to read about the day-to-day sagas of finding the purrfect cat, and finally bringing home the new kid on the block. You don't even have to post - often new members will "lurk" for awhile, just to test the water, which is perfectly okay.

One of the favorite discussion areas in our forum is the folder for posting pictures. Feel free to post yours too!

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