So I'm most definitely putting the cart before the horse* because I first need to a) make sure my landlord is willing to work with me to revise our lease to let me have a cat and b) that my roommate is okay with me adding an animal to our small apartment. I have cause to believe that both parties will be amenable to the idea, but obviously, I need to ask officially first.
If either of these are "no," well, then, obviously none of my following musings matter.
If they are a "yes," however, well, I think I'm finally ready for the commitment, financial and otherwise. My life is definitely way more stable than it ever has been in my adult life. It probably won't get more stable than this for a long, long time and, though I can't take on the (happy) burden of caring for a dog, I feel like my situation is perfectly suitable to having a cat (yay Team Bi-Petual!).
I spent the weekend researching the annual costs of having a cat, including veterinary costs, litter, food, etc. It definitely wasn't as much as I was expecting (though I know this could be much more with medical emergencies and such), and even at the highest estimates, I wasn't clutching my heart in horror. Even spending a couple thousand on surgery (god forbid!) wouldn't break my bank - though it would make things really tight. I have a savings account that I've dedicated to travel, so I figure I'll do the same for "Cat", for emergencies and the like.
I also spent the weekend figuring out certain logistics. There's a really great vet in my neighborhood - it's clean and people in my area seem to love it. Also where, in my apartment I'll put a litterbox, cat tree(s), scratchers, food/water area, cat bed. I have at least three ideas for each of these (even in my tiny apartment) - the litterbox is obviously the most important consideration because I'd want it to be as comfortable for kitty without, you know, being the centerpiece of the room, if that makes sense.
Travel-wise: I don't really travel for work, but I do for leisure occasionally. Obviously, I have a roommate who could take over cat responsibilities when/if I travel - and I have friends/co-workers who would also be happy to drop in on "Cat" if I should so need.
I definitely want an adult kitty. Preferably a cat that is laid-back but also affectionate. I like kitty cuddles. And I'm willing to wait to find a cat who fits with me and my lifestyle.
Also, looking way ahead to the future, because nothing is permanent and you never know what might happen, I also started researching moving with a cat and making that process as not-stressful for all parties involved - whether it's across town or across the country.
Am I missing anything?*
*Please don't tell me I'm getting ahead of myself. I already know that. But I am a Planner, and I had to know I had the Details in order first before I even broach the subject with my roommate and landlord.