Getting a pet cat can be an incredibly enriching experience, but it's also something not to rush into because the choice is quite long-lasting. A cat can easily live well over a decade and they become stressed by extreme changes in their living situation--like being passed over to a new owner. It's in the best interest of both you and the prospective kitty to be sure you can provide them with a permanent home before you make the choice.
Luckily, there are several steps you can take to determine whether it's the right pet for you, starting with understanding how cats behave and what to expect. If you're accustomed to dogs, in particular, a cat tends to behave markedly differently in many ways, but there are also some similarities and both of these pets develop deep loyalty and love for their human families if you're willing to invest the effort.
Cats often show this love subtly, though. It's not uncommon for a pet cat to show affection by sleeping next to you or exposing its belly. Actions like these reveal trust because your kitty is allowing himself to be in a vulnerable position around you. There are also other well-known acts of affection like the slow-blink, purring, or head boops, but the general temperament of a cat is to be more subtle in all their interactions.
This, in addition to their often fierce independence, is responsible for their mistaken reputation as being aloof and uncaring. When considering a cat, you need to understand that your new furry friend won't always want your attention and will be dismissive at times, but they will also want to spend time with you frequently as well.
That is not to imply that a cat is a pet that requires no time or commitment on your part, however. While often lazy for a good portion of the day, cats also display crazy bursts of energy that are best spent through play. They love games that exercise their hunting instincts or satisfy their curiosity. It's best if you can devote 20-30 minutes each day to play with your kitty.
This also reduces the chance of them becoming a furry monster, racing around your house late at night while you're trying to sleep. Cats that don't manage to expend enough energy through their regular daily routine often run around rapidly to vent it, and this may not occur at a time that is convenient for you.
Essentially, a cat is a relatively low-maintenance pet, but they do still require daily attention. Like most pets, they also require food, toys, and veterinary care. This needs to be factored into your decision, because having a cat represents not only an ongoing expenditure for many years, but also the need to either have insurance or extra money set aside in case of unexpected illness or injury.
If you're still unsure whether a cat is right for you, the next best step is to actually spend time with some cats and get to know what they're like. You can offer to look after friends' cats, but a practical solution if that's not possible is to visit an animal shelter and meet some of the cats that they have available for adoption.
This will also give you the chance to find a cat that likes you and meshes well with your personality. If you're sure that this is the right pet for you, and you choose a cat that enjoys your company, you'll gain a new furry friend who will give you many years of happiness and companionship-- the kind that you can only achieve through having a pet.