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Should I get a cat?

Our agony aunt, Mary Fenwick, offers a new perspective on whatever is troubling you

by Psychologies

cat

2 minute read

Q. I live alone in a studio flat and I am thinking about getting a cat. I would love the companionship, but I am a bit worried about the commitment – the idea of taking on a living thing that will live for 15 years until I am in my 40s just seems pretty major. Also, I rent and while my landlady now is OK about me having a cat, another may not be, and that worries me.

I know the sensible thing would be not to do it, but part of me really wants to. Please help. Name supplied

A. Short answer: get the cat. I say this because it will help to build confidence in your decision-making, and in your ability to take consequences. The worst-case scenario would be suddenly having to move, and encountering nothing but unfriendly landlords. Then you’d have a new set of decisions – ask a friend to cat-sit; offer the cat for rehoming; renegotiate with your existing landlady – but you would have built up your resilience and faith in your own judgement in the meantime.

My parallel suggestion is to consider getting a cat of a specific breed, so that you have an inbuilt social network of people with a common interest as well. It’s with humans that you have the opportunity to extend your relationship skills.

Part of the reason I’m being so direct is to test your commitment – if you have an instant reaction to my advice and think, ‘No, that’s not right,’ that would also be a useful piece of self-knowledge. Basically, there is no answer which is definitely right or wrong, and learning to live with ambiguity and uncertainty even in this relatively small way will expand your horizons and make the next decision easier.

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Mary Fenwick is a business coach, journalist, fundraiser, mother, divorcée and widow. Follow Mary on Twitter @MJFenwick. Got a question for Mary? Email mary@psychologies.co.uk, with ‘MARY’ in the subject line.

Image: Getty

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