Selecting a Cat: Decisions
Once you decide to get a cat, you will be faced with a myriad of choices about the type of cat you want. Will it have long hair or short? Will it live in the house or will it roam free around the neighborhood? You will have a lot of choices to make, so think carefully about the cat you want.
What type of cat? It seems an easy question to answer…at first. When you think about it, though, several factors affect that decision.
Cat or Kitten?
Tiger kitten kittens are hilarious, playful, and full of entertaining escapades. As with any baby, though, kittens take more time and attention than adult cats.
Kittens are mischievous and can get into everything you own. Tearing about, they can shred drapes and furniture rapidly, knocking items off mantles or shelves. They can destroy plants, and they love to play with you during the night, even while you try to sleep.
Despite their uncanny ability to get into trouble, kittens are really charming and fun. Just put your breakables out of the way during the first year. Cats quickly become graceful, learning to avoid crashing into anything that would go flying across the room.
If you plan to get a kitten, consider getting two. They keep each other company and provide themselves, and you, with a great deal of entertainment. Kittens are actually less trouble in pairs, as they expend their wild energy on each other rather than on you and your home.
Persian CatIf you want just one animal, an adult cat may be more to your liking. While adult cats are still playful, they are generally not as wild as kittens. People who are overwhelmed by the exuberance of kittens may be delighted with the companionship of an adult cat.
If you do get an adult, find out everything you can about its background. Make sure it does not have any major health problems or litter box issues. It’s a good idea to adopt a cat already spayed or neutered, but should you find a cat that hasn’t been fixed, a trip your veterinarian is in order. A fixed cat is not only a happier cat but easier to care for.
Domestic or Purebred?
Most people have standard “alley cats” or mixed-breed cats. You most likely will not be able to see the parents or siblings of such cats or kittens, but that is less of a concern with domestic cats than with purebred cats. Most mixed-breed cats are terrific pets with few problems.
On the other hand, some people really like a particular look or personality in a cat. If you want a more predictable style, consider getting a purebred cat.
If you decide to get a purebred cat, buy only from a cattery where you can see the queen and possibly the tom, as well as other cats and kittens that may be related. You will then be able to assess the health and personality of the cat you are interested in as well as his immediate relatives since these traits are heritable to a certain degree.
Longhair, Shorthair or Other?
Finally, whether you want a purebred or a domestic, consider hair length. Although most longhaired cats require more grooming care than shorthaired cats, some longhaired breeds require very little maintenance while some shorthaired breeds are quite a handful.