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How to Choose Your Cat

How to Choose Your Cat

Cats make wonderful pets and most will easily adjust to a variety of lifestyles and living spaces. Like humans, every cat is an individual. It's important to take the time to choose the cat who's personality mixes with you, and any other animals or children that may be in your house. Check out the Adoption and Adoption By State pages to find a shelter near you.

Choosing a Personality
When you go past a few cat cages at the shelter or pet store, you'll notice that some cats meow for special attention, while others simply lie back and stare at you. There are as many different personalities of cats as there are cats in the shelter. Regardless of individual personality, look for a cat who's playful, active, alert, and comfortable while being held and stroked. A kitten who is not playing like the other ones may show signs of illness. If at a shelter, ask an adoption counselor for assistance when you wish to spend some time with individual cats. Keep in mind that, because they are in an unfamiliar environment, some cats who are usually quite social may be frightened or passive while at the shelter.

Cat or Kitten?
Kittens are curious, playful, and full of energy, while adult cats are more relaxed and less mischievous. Kittens also require more time to train and feed. Cats are only kittens for a few months, though, so the age of the cat you adopt should really depend on the level of maturity you're looking for. Young children usually don't have the maturity to handle kittens responsibly, so a cat who's at least four months old is probably the best choice for homes with young children. Older cats will already have their personal boundaries set, so it is important to spend time with the cat before you purchase him to see his comfort level with human touch. Adult cats are more mellow and won't be investigating and getting into everything like a kitten. One benifit of kittenhood is a kitten will allow you to mold him into the type of cat you would like him to grow up to be, meaning, if you handle the kitten a lot while it is young, it will most likely enjoy being held as it gets older. Cats and kittens who have lots of nice physical attention are usually much more friendly and won't run away when company comes over.

Short-haired or Long?
Cats can have a variety of differnet coats. From long, fluffy coats to short, dense fur, straight, curly, and even almost no hair at all! The choice between the two is chiefly a matter of preference, availability, and your willingness to devote time to regular grooming. You'll see more short-haired cats at a shelter because they are the more popular and common cats. Long-haired cats require every day grooming, so if you are a person who goes away on frequent business trips, a long-haired cat may not be right for you. Felines with short coats also require brushing, though less frequently. Most cats enjoy a regular brushing and will look forward to this daily ritual with you. All cats shed, and even while petting a cat, you will notice hair coming off. This is also a type of grooming, and will suffice for some breeds, but not all. There is no such thing as a hypoallergenic (a decreased tendency of an allergic reaction) cat. People with cat allergies are allergic to the dander (dead skin), not the hair, so even the Sphynx cat will not end the symptoms.

How Many Cats?
In many cases two cats are better. Most cats, particulary the Orientals, hate being left alone for any lenght of time. Also, you will see that when you have two cats they will become best friends and play together into old age. They will be inseparable. But mostly, they keep each other company when you are away. If these are things that appeal to your interests, consider two cats or even more. If you already own a cat or dog, and are wondering how easy it is to add a cat to the family there is good news. Cats can get along with other cats and despite the common stereotype, most dogs can get along with cats. The only bad news is, introducing a new cat to a home with other pets will require some patience on your part. The best way to handle adding a new cat to a home is to provide time for a period of adjustment. You can do this effectively by isolating your new feline in a room of his own for a while—something that's a good idea for a new cat anyway. After several days, supervise meetings between the animals for periods of increasing length. Most cats will soon learn to accept each other. Some dogs simply won't tolerate the presence of a cat, but by carefully and slowly introducing them, most problems can be solved.

Pedigree or Non-Pedigree?
If you want to see all the types of pedigrees, a good place to check them out is at cat shows. You can find the owner and ask them about the breed, or do research to find out more about the breed personality. If a pedegree cat is what you want, don't EVER buy one through agencies or pet stores. They should always be bought by a breeder. If you've decided to buy a pedigree kitten, then the best source is from a recognised and reputable breeder. You can find these breeders through other cat owners, your veterinarian, ads in newspapers and cat magazines, or by visiting cat shows. Breed clubs can put you in touch with reputable breeders in your area. A good breeder should want to meet you to see if the cat or kitten is going to a good home. Non-Pedigree cats come in so many different forms, types, and shapes, and they are just as great as pedigree. They can be bought anywhere - pet stores, advertisements, newspapers, the pound or maybe even a neighbor who just had a litter. There really is no difference between a pedigree can and a non-pedigree cat, personality wise. You will be getting a wonderful companion, no matter what type of cat you buy.

Male or Female?
The sex of your cat is really your own preference, but very important. If you are looking to breed cats, buy the very best female you can afford, in the breed you have selected. If you can, buy two females around the same age, but not the same bloodline. When your female is mature, you can take her to a stud male that you have carfuly selected and breed. Keeping a stud male in your home is a job only for the very experienced and not to be taken lightly. You don't want your female pregnant all the time. Unless you intend to breed from your cat, it's best to have him or her neutered. Once they're neutered, there's less noticeable difference between male and female cats.

This cat is in a cage at a shelter. YOu can tell she is a healthy, personable cat by the intense interest in the camera, and the the things around her.

There are benifits to both kittens and cats. Adult cats are more mellow and won't be investigating and getting into everything like a kitten. Kittens wiil allow you to mold them into the type of cat you would like him to grow up to be.

Cats with long hair are pretty to look at, but with all that fur comes lots of maintenance and daily grooming. Before buying a long-haired cat, think about how much time you have and are willing to spend brushing a cat before you buy one.

The more cats, the more love, but also, more responsibility. If you are a person who goes away on business trips often, consider getting more than one cat. Although cats are independant, they also enjoy company, and will like to have a friend while you are away.

"Moggies," or non-pedigree cats, are just as fun and lovable as purebred ones. The white cat is a pedigreed cat while the black one is a Moggie. Either way you decide to go, your cat will bring you lots of love.

Once cats are neutered, there's a less noticeable difference between male and female cats. The female, to the left (calicos and torties are always females) and the male are both affectionate and loving. The male, if a dominating cat, may spray, but this behavior can be fixed.