What type of cat should I choose?
Keeping a cat or kitten is, like any animal, a serious consideration. The first thing to think about is what type of cat is best for you.
Obtaining Cats for showing or breeding requires some experience, so the assumption in these articles will be that you are looking for cat(s) or kitten(s) as pets.
First things to think about are:
- Pedigree or non-pedigree (moggy)
- Breed type
- Single cat or more than one
- Male or female
- Cat or kitten
Pedigree or non-pedigree
The word 'pedigree' tends to infer that it is 'better' in some way, but this is not the case and both pedigrees and moggies have their own pros and cons. Opting for a pedigree does give you a much better idea of how the kitten will turn out, based on its parents appearance and character, and the recognised breed characteristics.
A moggy, on the other hand, can be much more varied because of its mixed background, but also tends to show fewer health problems throughout its life. Another consideration is cost - pedigrees can be quite expensive whereas moggies are usually free as there are often more kittens than homes at any given time.
If you are not sure what breed you prefer, but would like to find out more about the different breeds, a good option is to visit a cat show. These are very common and with a little searching you should be able to find one happening soon near your location. Visiting a show will give you the opportunity to see many different breeds and also talk to some cat experts.
Choosing between long and short-haired breeds probably presents the biggest differences. Long haired breeds have the added difficulty of extra grooming requirements, in some case daily combing, and also leave hairs all over the house. On the plus side, long haired breeds are also make ideal pets and can be more settled, quieter, and more willing to be handled.
Short-haired breeds are much tidier and require little grooming, but are also far more variable in character. For some, added character is a bonus and gives the cat more personality and individuality, for others it can mean the cat is more difficult.
Breed type, age, and character are important considerations
Single cat or more than one
There is some debate over whether it is best to have a single cat or a pair (or more) Cats have very independent characteristics and whilst one might accept a new cat, another may not.
Starting out with more than one kitten from the same litter is generally problem-free as the two siblings can be raised together. In this situation the two cats will appreciate each others company and form a close bond. Keeping a single cat means it will be more dependent on its owners for affection and as play partners.
Male or female Cats
Male cats must be neutered if they are to be kept as pets. A male which is not neutered will spray urine around the house, and spend time searching for females and fighting.
The most noticeable difference between male and female cats is that males tend to be a lot larger.
Females should be spayed to prevent reproduction. Some owners think that spaying is unfair, and these are often the same owners who are responsible for many unwanted and unhomed kittens which have to be destroyed. Unless you have serious breeding intentions, a pet cat must be spayed or neutered.
Cat or kitten
As well as the 'cute' factor, which is of course no reason to purchase an animal, opting for kitten(s) has the added benefit of creating a bond and an owner-pet history right from the start. There is also more of a challenge in catering for the kittens changing nutritional needs as well as litter training, behavioural moulding, and increased time demands for interaction. A kitten will change as it matures and although behavioural characteristics are a part of upbringing, genetics also play a large factor. Seeing the parents of a kitten, as well as its siblings, will give you an idea of the cats nature in the future.
Opting for an adult cat has many advantages which can outweigh the draw of kittens. An adult cat is normally already litter and house trained, neutered, spayed and vaccinated and you can assess its character easily. It normally only takes a few weeks for an adult cat to adjust to a new home and it does not take long for a bond to form.