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The first consideration is not what cat to get but whether you can fit a cat into your life after carefully reviewing any potential problems or benefits of your lifestyle, budget, type of residence, neighborhood, family and other pets.
Will you have enough time to enjoy and look after the needs of your new cat? Although most cats do not need the amount of personal interaction which many pet dogs do, they will need some time shared with you every day.
You will have to provide them with some individual attention so that they develop reasonable social skills and at least know how to behave with people that visit your home.
They need to have a routine to follow, although it won’t usually be a problem if you have some variations from time to time.
You also have to be able to handle inevitable visits to the vet for routine and emergency treatments. If you travel frequently on business or to somewhere where you cannot take the cat with you, you have to accept the responsibility and possibly the cost of having someone do these duties for your cat while you are away.
This should be one of the first things which you check because keeping any pet with the needs and life expectancy of a cat can be a significant and ongoing demand on some people’s income.
To ensure the best outcome for yourself and the pet you want, you need to be as sure as possible that you will be able to care for your new pet financially and socially for its lifetime from within your regular income.
There are more pets being euthanized or abandoned every year because of their owners’ unanticipated changes in capacity to support them. That prompts me to say that I hope that any readers who are able to, will either adopt a pet that is waiting in a shelter, against the odds, for a new and permanent home, or will donate to a local shelter so they can help as many as possible.
You also must consider whether your home is suitable for keeping a cat? If you do not own it, then you will need to be sure that the owner will allow you to keep it. Don’t get the cat unless you already have the permission in writing.
Even when they give permission, owners or agents will require that you control the pet so that there is no damage or disturbance to other tenants or neighbors.
You must consider whether the cat will be welcome and safe in the neighborhood.
The reasons include the safety of the cat, its potential effect on the neighbors’ quality of life and also the threat it may be to wildlife in the area.
More cats are being kept inside all the time or only allowed out of their owner’s home when they are walked on a lead. If this is your intention, you need to make sure that you make sure there is nothing which the cat can cause injury to itself with and also that the contents of your home are protected from the cat’s claws and curiosity.
It’s obviously important to work through any possible risks or friction between your new pet and other members of the family.
The effect of the cat’s arrival on your other pets also needs further consideration. A new cat may be a real or possible threat to other animals or birds which you already have. Large dogs might be a risk to your new cat. It’s better to think these possibilities through before you actually get a new cat.
Which Cat is Best for You?
Most people would get a lot of enjoyment from having almost any sort of cat as their companion.
But there are usually some characteristics which would make certain cats a better match for your particular life-style, family and location.
Male or Female
There is little to choose between males and females as pets in my experience. Some owners say that male cats are more aggressive but, as with people, there are plenty of forceful female cats.
Male cats may tend to roam more than females but a good owner can reduce their desire to do that simply by their attitude to their cat.
But, I strongly recommend that your new pet cat should be neutered while a kitten, whether it is a male or female.
This will remove the prospect of more unwanted kittens and also avoid the stress for you and the cat during the mating season. Unneutered males will fight other cats when there are females around and spray their strong-smelling urine to mark their territory. Unneutered females will also spray though they may do it less widely or often.
Purebred or Mixed Breed?
When I am looking for a new cat, I always look first for any indications of problems with their health and temperament. For me, that’s more important than their appearance or other factors. I am not concerned that I have only had mixed breed cats.
I know several people whose cats are purebreds. One bought her cat because she wanted to think about breeding cats. She didn’t go ahead with that plan. Because she changed her mind fairly soon after getting her cat, she had it de-sexed while it was still young. She said she never regretted the high cost of her pet because it was a wonderful companion.
Some people have cats because of particular qualities in that breed, and most of the others had a preference for a particular type. And, some people also avoid particular breeds because of some characteristic such as a heavy coat or whatever.
One consideration with purebreds is that many are bred which have genetic faults that breeders have accidentally introduced as they try to change its appearance or other characteristics. Always do the best physical inspection of any cat of any age that you intend to buy.
But, I think it would be worth the cost to have a vet inspect any pedigree animal you are paying a high price for. Many breeders do sell some cats which are fine except they don’t have the correct appearance for showing at lower prices.
Anyway, I think the main criteria to ensure a good, lasting relationship between the owner and cat is the matching of their particular characters rather than their appearance. That’s just like people becoming friends, isn’t it?
Some Popular Cat Breeds
I’ve said many times that my favorite cat breed is a happy cat. That can be one that is any particular breed or one that is many breeds blended together.
Here’s a few breeds which I’ve heard good things about.
Note: Some breeds have different names in different countries. Some specifications for the same breed may vary from one country to another. Some are recognized as breeds in some places and not others.
Tabby Cats and Cardigan Cats
Tabby: Okay, “Tabby” is not a breed of cat. It is how we describe a type of coloration which may be found in many different breeds.
I’m sure you have seen the striped tabby which sometimes has a set of stripes forming an “M” on their forehead. This cat shows the common pattern very well but the colors may range over most of the spectrum.
Cardigan: Cardigan is, like tabby, a description for a type of coloring pattern which may appear in a variety of breeds. The cause is genetic and so you may just find a cardigan decorated cat in a litter of most breeds.
While the tabby is striped, a cardigan cat has three colors, usually in blocks of color. The groups which set standards for cardigan cats insist that the colors are in solid blocks and not with the colors swirled together. Most male cats which have the cardigan pattern are sterile.
This is a breed which I love the look of. They are mostly white with color only on the top of the head and their tail. They are sometimes called the “Swimming Cat” because they are particularly fond of swimming.
I found one site which has a lot of information about this breed: https://www.hillspet.com/cat-care/cat-breeds/turkish-van I don’t know the breeders who run the site but I think they must love their cats!
They are good natured cats with a noticeable flat facial area. This has caused some people to become very concerned because some of these cats develop breathing problems and other conditions related to their particular facial characteristics. Some also have problems giving birth.
These cats are large (males can be up to eighteen pounds and females up to about half of that). Their coat is water-resistant and needs combing with a strong steel comb about twice a week.
This is one of the most popular breeds in the U.S.A.
This is a recent development and is still developing. Not everyone agrees that these short-legged cats are a true breed.
But, they are cute and have enough strength to hold their own with other cats of similar size even if the others have longer legs.
They are playful and able to do almost anything other cats do except leap tall dogs.
Kitten or a Mature Cat?
Although most people automatically think only of getting a kitten and not a more mature cat for their new pet, there are some benefits for people that get an older cat, whether from a friend who cannot keep it or a shelter.
Some older people find the mature cat easier to manage than an adventurous kitten.
The older cat will be used to mixing with people and trained to be tidy with its litter box. Of course, you should not be surprised if the cat takes a few days to settle itself properly in its new home after the recent stress it has had from losing its previous home and owner.
If you know the cat’s history, then you will know about any health problems it has had and any particular likes or dislikes it has developed. The other benefit is the great feeling which comes from being able to give an older cat a second chance. They are less likely to be adopted into a new forever home than those cute kittens in the next cage.
If you have young children, a cat of up to two years or so can be a good choice, especially if it is used to children. A kitten may strike out at an adventurous child’s rough handling or be injured by the child’s action. At two years, the cat still has plenty of years to accompany the children on their new and exciting life journey.
Becca The Crazy Cats Lady is an experienced and knoweldgeable cat owner with years of experience caring for a multi-cat household. She curates, writes and shares cat content at https://CrazyCatsLady.com.