The great strength of split grade printing is that it permits you to use different contrast grades on different parts of the print.
That being said, you can use it to effectively replace single exposures at an intermediate contrast level with two exposures at two different contrast levels - if you want to.
That approach does allow very fine adjustments of contrast.
It just might, however, be better to learn first how to use single contrast filters.
Or maybe you are just born to channel Les MacLean
With respect to your cat, the cat's fur would be where I would focus your attention, because fine adjustments will probably show their worth there.