Selecting A Cat

Once you”ve decided that you want to add a cat to your household, you”ll have to decide which type of cat is right for you. While most cats are cuddly and cute, there are some that will be better suited to your lifestyle than others. You”ll need to ask yourself several questions. Do you want a cat with long hair or short hair? Will your cat live inside or outside? Do you want to adopt an older cat or a young kitten?

Your answers to these questions and others will help you find the perfect feline friend. Keep reading to learn how you can select the best cat for you.

Selecting a Kitten

Kittens are little furry balls of energy that will play well into the night and often waking their sleepy owners. They are playful and curious, often getting themselves into sticky situations. For instance, it”s common see a small kitten climbing on the curtains or burrowing under a pile of freshly folded laundry.

As with any baby, kittens require a lot of time, attention and care. They will require much more effort than an adult cat. If you have a very busy schedule or are out of the house a lot, you might need to consider adopting a mature cat rather than a kitten.

However, if you have the time, energy and patience, kittens can be a lot of fun. As you see them grow and change, you”ll develop a special bond with them.

If you do decide to get a kitten, you might need to consider getting a pair of siblings. Two kittens won”t require much more work than one, and they will be able to keep each other company when you are gone. They”ll also provide you with a great deal of entertainment! Another benefit of having two kittens is that they will be able to play with each other, which will make them less likely to tear up your home!

Selecting an Adult Cat

If you”re looking to add only one animal to your household, an adult cat might be the choice for you. While adult cats can still be playful, they are generally much calmer than kittens. People who think they might be overwhelmed by a kitten should look into adopting an older cat.

An adult cat is usually calmer than a kitten.People with children might also want to get an older cat. Mature cats are often much more tolerant of little ones tugging their tails or patting their fur. They also are not as fragile as kittens.

If you do choose to get an adult cat, find out as much as possible about its background. Ask about any past and current health issues, as well as any behavioral problems that might be present. You”ll also need to learn about its diet, as it is important to remain consistent in this area.

If you adopt a cat that has not been spayed or neutered, you will probably want to take it to the vet as soon as possible, as unfixed cats often spray urine on furniture and other household objects.

Selecting a Cat: Domestic or Purebred?

Most of the house cats you see are mixed-breed cats, commonly called alley cats. These cats generally make excellent pets and come in a variety of colors, ranging from orange to black to calico. They can also have either short or long hair.

More often than not, an owner will only know the mother of his or her alley cat. Thus, you might not know exactly how your mixed-breed kitten will look or act when it grows up. For most people, however, this isn”t a problem.

On the other hand, some people want their cats to look a certain way or to display specific behaviors. If you fall into this category, you should consider adopting a purebred cat.

Purebreds have pedigreed parents. Because they are the product of selective breeding, you will know your purebred cat”s mother and father. Being purebred, your cat will display the characteristics of his specific breed.

If you decide to get a purebred, buy only from a breeder that will allow you to see the mother (the queen) and, if possible, the father (the tom). Also ask if you can see the cat”s siblings and any other relatives. Looking at these cats will help you assess the health and personality of the kitten you are considering adopting.

Selecting a Longhair or Shorthair Cat

After you have decided whether your cat will be purebred or a mixed breed, you will need to determine whether you want a longhaired cat, a shorthaired cat or a hairless cat. Your decision will likely be based on how much time you can devote to grooming your kitty.

Long Haired CatShorthaired cats are generally easy to care for, requiring only an occasional brushing and bath. Longhaired cats, on the other hand, will need to be brushed every day and will need to be groomed on a regular basis to avoid matting.

If you aren”t looking forward to having cat hair all over your furniture and clothes, you might opt for a hairless cat. While these cats often have some hair, they shed very little and require little to no grooming.

Selecting a Healthy Cat: Questions to Ask

Once you have found a kitten or cat that you like, you will want to make sure that it is healthy. While cats with health problems need homes too, if you are adopting a kitty with a health condition, you need to be aware of all of the care he will require. Vet bills for cats with medical issues can be costly, so, in addition to being emotionally prepared to care for a sick kitty, you will need to be financially prepared as well.

To determine if the kitty you are looking at is healthy, you will first want to observe his appearance. A kitty that has a runny nose or teary eyes could be suffering from a simple cold or a major respiratory illness. Also, a vet should evaluate a cat that is listless and uninterested in his surroundings, as he could have an existing health problem.

If you are looking at a kitten, pay close attention to how he interacts with his littermates. If the kitten is not taking any interest in his surroundings, be cautious, as kittens should generally be playing or exploring when they are awake. You”ll also want a kitten that more than eight weeks old, as kittens younger than this still need their mothers.

Ask yourself the following questions to evaluate the health of your cat:

  • Does the cat behave well with his littermates?
  • Does the cat have fleas or sores?
  • Does the cat use the litter box?
  • Can you feel the cat”s ribs? If you can”t feel the cat”s ribs through his coat, the cat is overweight.
  • Can you see the cat”s ribs through its coat? If you can, the cat is underweight.

Places to Get a Cat

When it comes to getting a cat, you have a number of different options, depending on where you live. Here is a breakdown of some places to get a cat, along with the pros and cons of each option:

  • Animal Shelters/Humane Societies: One of the best places to find a cat that needs a home is the animal shelter or a local humane society. Most of the cats in both of these institutions have either been dropped off by their owners (likely because the owner couldn”t care for them), were born strays or were lost and dropped off by a kind stranger.Providing a home to needy cat is rewarding to both you and the cat. Shelters and humane societies often have an adoption process that can take up to a week, giving them time to verify that you can provide a good home for the cat (usually this involves calling your landlord, if you rent, to make sure you are allowed to have cats in your building). The point of this adoption process is to make sure that the cat doesn”t end up back in the shelter. So, don”t plan on walking out with a cat on the same day.Although you generally can”t come home with your cat that day, shelters can tell you a lot about the cat”s social and medical history: Along with knowing about its prior owners, if any, the shelter or humane society will let you know what vaccinations the cat has had and what medical conditions, if any, it suffers from. Cats of all breeds and ages are available at shelters and humane societies. Similarly, this is one of the cheapest options when it comes to selecting a cat (usually costing $25 to $75).
  • Breeders: If you have your heart set on a specific breed of cat, contacting a breeder dedicated to raising that type of cat is your best bet. Not only will the breeder set you up with a cat that is right for you, but he or she can also tell you some of the finer points of how to raise and care for that specific breed.One disadvantage to getting a cat from a breeder is that it tends to be expensive, ranging from $200 to more than $1,000. Similarly, if you contact a breeder to get a kitten, inquire about any medical conditions that tend to afflict the breed. While some unscrupulous breeders have been known to inbreed cats (causing chronic physical problems), other breeds are simply prone to certain health issues.Before committing to investing in a more expensive breed, also make sure to ask about what breeders guarantee. Although this may sound like a cold thing in relation to a cat”s life, should your kitten become ill or tragically die within a few months of ownership, you”ll want to know whether or not the breeder will be responsible for replacing that kitten. This is especially true if you have paid $1,000 for it!
  • Current Cat Owners: Some cat owners need to give away their cats because they are moving to a place that no longer allows cats or because they simply can”t care for the cats any longer. Rather than dropping their cats off at the shelter or humane society, these owners place ads online or in magazines and newspapers to find new, loving owners for their beloved cats.While some of these owners may want to sell you their cat, most give them away for free to a caring home. Not only is this a cheap way to find a cat, but it also ensures that you will find a cat that has been socialized. Because you will be able to meet and talk with the owner, you can learn more about the cat”s history and behaviors than you would from some of the other places where you would get a cat.Similarly, like the shelter, you are giving a needy cat a home, a reward for both you and the cat!
  • Pet Stores: Some pet stores, especially the larger ones, have cats for sale. While these cats are less expensive than a cat you would get from a breeder, they are generally more expensive than cats you would find at a shelter or would get from a private owner.Cats at pet stores generally have had all of their necessary vaccinations and are nearly always spayed or neutered, eliminating the need for you to take care of these medical issues. However, one downside to getting a cat from a pet store is that these cats have little contact with humans and other animals. As a result, pet store cats tend to be less socialized. Although they can overcome this, be aware that you may have to put up with a fussy cat, as will need time to get used to having people and other animals around.

Selecting a Name for Your Cat

While you may get a cat that has already been named, you may also get to choose a name for your cat, especially if you get a kitten. One important note is to stick with the name the cat responds to if (s)he comes with his own name. Because your new cat will be adjusting to new surroundings, don”t complicate manners by making him or her learn a new name as well.

If you get to select a name for your cat, here are some tips for picking the right name:

  • be sure that the name is easily identifiable to the cat
  • choose a name that fits the cat”s personality
  • go with a name that is easy to remember
  • pick something that you can live with repeating
  • stick to shorter names.

For example, while you may like the name “Fluffy McGee” for your cat, do you really want to be saying the whole thing each time you call your cat? Instead, stick with either “Fluffy” or “McGee.” Not only will it be easier to remember and repeat, but it will likely be easier for your new kitty to identify.

Once you have chosen a name, see how well your cat responds to it. Test a name out for about a week. If after a week or two your cat is still unresponsive, you may have to consider another name.

The most important aspect to naming a cat is to consistently call the cat by the chosen name for the first few months. If you are consistent and take time to bond with the cat, you”ll have a new best friend in no time at all!

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