Before choosing a cat you must first decide that a cat is the right pet for you and your family. Taking on another living creature is not something that should be taken lightly, despite the independence that cats tend to portray. Unlike the dog, cats fit more easily into the modern lifestyle. Many households are empty much of the day and cats can be left to their own devices for several hours at a time.
Cats can live for many years, up to 16 years of age and, in some cases, reaching 20 years of age. During this time you will have to consider:
Time & Effort
Cats, though quite independent, will require time dedicated to them especially if the cat lives primarily indoors.
Cats require feeding on a regular basis, though not expensive, it will need to be a high quality diet which suits your cats nutritional needs.
Cats need routine veterinary care in terms of vaccinations, neutering and other preventative health care, but you must also consider the costs of unexpected events such as illness or accidents.
Many people will need to make use of cattery services, which can be somewhat costly, unless you have a responsible neighbour who is willing to look after your cat while you are away.
Regular grooming is required of all long-haired cats and some elderly cats. Shorthaired cats will take excellent care of their own coat, though you will find by grooming your cat from an early age it become more accustomed to this activity.
Once you have chosen the cat as your choice of pet your next decision is what type of cat - a pedigree or non-pedigree, male or female.
Before you buy a pedigree kitten, it is important to see the parents to judge the nature and temperament of the animal. The breeder will also be able to provide further information on how to care for the cat correctly. Pedigree cats are more expensive to buy than a moggy, will require more time and attention, as well as being more costly to keep.
Long-haired Pedigree Cats
Long-haired pedigree cats require alot of grooming, with some breeds such as the Colourpoint, needing daily grooming. This breed also moult profusely during warm weather, or all year round in warm houses. Long-haired cats have a quiet and adaptable personality making them ideal house cats.
Shorthaired Pedigree Cats
Shorthaired pedigree cats require less grooming than long-haired breeds, but their temperament varies across the breeds. Cornish and Devon Rex's are very lively, whereas the Russian Blue is very quiet in temperament.
Non Pedigree Cats
Non-Pedigree cats, better known as moggies, are generally hardier that their pedigree cousins. They come in a wide range of colours, patterns, and coats. Moggies are usually gentle in attitude and temperament provided that they were handled frequently as kittens. When choosing a new cat, you may like to consider the older cats that can remain unwanted. You can find many of these cats at animal rescue organisations. An added bonus of adult cats is that they are already house trained, often already vaccinated and neutered.
Male cats are generally larger than females. In some breeds the male kitten becomes sexually aware at six months and will start pungent marking of his territory soon after. It is advisable to have your male cat neutered. Once a tom is neutered he will make a very clean and home loving cat, the alternative is a cat who wanders in search of females and fights for territorial mastery.
Female cats can reproduce at a very early age. Every year there are thousands of unwanted kittens, therefore it is important to have a female cat spayed. This is not a difficult procedure and you should book your kitten or cat in to the vets to prevent any unwanted pregnancies.