In the recent article, we have taken a look at how to choose a dog. Indeed there are many, many people love to have dogs as their faithful companion. But there are also many other people prefer cats over dogs. However, we cannot simply apply the same dog-finding method on cat since these 2 pets possess totally different characteristics. So with no further ado, let’s see how to choose a cat!
This is the very first question we also put on “how to choose dog” article. Though cats do not need as much attention as dogs, they still require daily caring especially in case of kittens. So before we rush into choosing a cat, we have to answer ourselves this question first: “should I get a cat?”
Why is answering this question important? Well, a pet cat can live up to 20 years. Imagine 20 years with your cat; that is a very long time of commitment. And as we mentioned, cats require daily caring, at least 1 hour per day. Despite being independent in nature, cat still wants affection and bonding just like dogs. It’s just the way it shows affection is unlike dog. Spending at least around 1 hour per day will help you forming a bond with your cat better. And before someone says “cat is not as affectionate as dog”, no! Cats can be affectionate with human family. With enough time, you will even see them waiting for you to come home.
So if you are too busy that you can rarely come home, or, you cannot sure if you can spend your time with the cat daily; unfortunately you may want to reconsider your decision of having a cat. On the other hand, if you always have time for your cat, it’s time to consider other elements, namely your financial state and family.
In case you are wondering whether you need some big house with big garden for cats, good news is: cats are fine with small house or apartment. In fact, most cats are best when only stay indoors. Outdoor cats tend to have health problem and they normally don’t live as long as indoor cats. That said, what you want to concern though is the expense.
It is estimated that the cost of raising a cat in first year can be approx. 1000$ in average. After the first year, the annual cost will be around $500 to $1000 in average, depending on the cat breed and your financial capability. This cost will also be varied depending on the cat’s age. Kitten tends to be the most costly since they need vaccinations, deworming, and neutering/spaying.
If you are living alone, there is no need to consider this (especially you don’t plan to get married). But if you are living with parents or having your own family (in which most of us are), you need to consult your family if raising a cat at home is okay. There are certain aspects to consider:
- Is there any family member who has cat allergy? There are many things which people are allergic from like dander, saliva, dead skin, urine, or cat hair.
- Is there any young child at your home? Young children generally do not know how to treat cat gently, especially kitten. Therefore, we have to teach children and supervise them when playing with cat/kitten.
2. Which cat breed should I choose?
There are much more dog breeds than cat breeds. Plus, each dog breed possesses particular temperaments and characteristics from its ancestors, depending on how they were raised for different purposes like herding, fetching, or guarding. On the other hand, most cat breeds are differentiated, based on how they interact and live with human. Therefore, it is extremely helpful to take research about different cat breeds and their traits and characteristics. Understanding these cat breeds will give you better idea of what you can generally expect. If you still have no idea which cat breed you wish to choose, here are the 10 most popular cat breeds in America in 2017:
- British Shorthair
- Maine Coon Cat
- American Shorthair
- Scottish Fold
- Devon Rex
Other important aspect to consider is whether you want a purebred or a mixed breed cat. Purebred cats have parents and their ancestors of the same breed, as the results, they generally have the traits and characteristics of that particular breed. On the other hand, mixed breed cats are combinations of different cat breeds. Mixed breed cats may look difficult to understand at first. But if you know ancestry of a particular mixed breed cat, you will still have a better idea about the cat’s temperaments and characteristics.
Still, note that general traits and characteristics of a cat breed do not always fully reflect the personality of a cat. After all, what’s more important is how the cat will live and interact with its new human home, thus, how it grows up in the house throughout its life.
Nowadays you can find tons of advertisements, online stores related to pet store on the Internet. However, generally your best bets will still be local shelters and breeders.
From a Local Shelter
There are lots of animal shelters and humane societies throughout America. According to The Humane Society, there are about 6 – 8 million cats and dogs sheltered each year. Therefore, you can easily find local shelters or rescue organizations with lots of cats which need a new home. Adopting a cat from a shelter is generally cheaper than purchasing one from breeders or pet stores. The cost for adopting a cat is often ranging from $60 to $200. In case of highly demanded pet, the cost can reach up to $500.
One important thing to note though: sheltered/rescued cats can have health or behavior issues and therefore, it is highly recommended to ask employees or volunteers about the cat’s history and any other information like its health and temperament conditions.
From a Breeder
Purchasing a cat from a breeder is definitely a good option. However, this option is only viable if you can find a professional/reputable breeder. As mentioned, you can easily find tons of cats and kittens for sale online. But there is no guarantee that you will get the exact cat which is promised or advertised. When you check out a breeder, always ask for an appointment first so that you can meet the breeder and the cat itself. If you spot signs of mistreated cat (for example: piles of cat hair everywhere, overwhelming odor, injured animals, overgrown nails, or having social problems with other animals and human), it is suggested to reconsider right off the bat. Also, it is necessary to ask the breeder about the cat, especially its potential physical and mental health, social issues. A good breeder is supposed to be open and honest about these information.
From a Pet Store
Pet stores usually offer cats and kittens from shelters or rescue groups, or from breeders. Generally, store employees tend not to have as much knowledge as the breeders or shelters where the cat originally came from. So if you decide to get a cat or kitten from the stores, always ask about the cat’s origins. Cats came from shelters or rescue groups are often great choice, however, you still should contact with those shelters or rescue groups for best insurance. This is even more important since we all definitely want to avoid kitten mills where kittens and cats are raised in extremely bad conditions. If the cat came from a breeder, you should also contact the breeder to see whether the cat is mistreated or not. In case of purebred cats, they are supposed to have documentation and paperwork from local vet like registration papers or health certificates.
Adopt a Stray Cat
Sometimes fate will “magically” bring a destined feline friend to your life. In fact, there have been tons of cases where stray cats just appeared in front of many people’s houses and this may happen to you too. In such case, there are certain things you may want to consider:
- The cat may be already owned by someone else and for some reason it strayed from its original home. So before deciding to adopt the cat, it is best to post the information about the cat on the Internet first to see if its original owner wants the cat back. You should also contact local shelters in case the cat strayed from there.
- Strayed cat tends to have behavior issues due to the harsh life of the outside world. Be ready for that, especially if you already have a pet in the family.
- Strayed cat also has diseases potential, therefore, you should bring it to the vet for health examination. This is even more important when you already have another pet.
Supposedly you have found a local shelter or a reputable breeder/shelter; it’s time to meet the cats themselves!
Similar to dog selecting, there is no guarantee that you will be able to find the right cat for you just based on appearance alone. This will require patience but eventually you will find your best feline companion.
If you decide to adopt a cat from shelters, shelter employees often offer free counseling in which they will ask about your preference, personality, and lifestyle. Based on the given information, they will offer recommendations, which are always a great way to begin.
Cat interaction time
Before interacting with the cats, ask the employees first about how to handle each cat. Cats tend to have different preferences of how they are handled. This way you will have better chance familiarizing with the cat without being bitten or scratched. Do not force the cat if it does not like to be held. Another good way to start interacting with the cat is to make a fist and gently reach the cat (imagine like you are giving it your “paw”). If the cat gently approach and head-butt your hand then it means the cat is friendly greeting you. If it ignores or looks away, high chance that it does not like seeing new people. If it bites or scratches you, it means the cat is being nervous.
Knowing the cat
Aside from interaction with the cat, it is a must to ask about its information like its history record, its socialization, characteristics, and any physical and mental health issues. One of the major concerns is the cat’s socialization. The best time for kitten’s socialization is around 2 – 7 weeks of age; sometimes this period can extend up to 14 weeks. Kitten during this time will need to socialize with many people, sounds, sights, smells, and other experiences. This will help the cat growing up better and friendlier. Cat without proper socializing during this period tends to grow aggressive and dislike human.
Raising a kitten is always a fascinating experience. However, it does require lots of hard work. And if you are not in good condition to get a kitten, it is probably better to have older cat. Older cats tend to be calmer and often already formed their personalities. If the older cat does not have proper socialization during its kitten years then it will have certain behavior issues. But with patience and good socialization, it still has chance to recover.
In some rare cases, a cat may have bonded with another cat. In such scenario, you will need to consider having both bonded cats. If a cat with bonded partner is separated, there is a high chance that it will get stressed.
Finally, you should ask for the cat’s veterinary records and even check the tests or vaccinations it had. Particularly, it is necessary to check the cat for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and Feline Leukemia (FeLV), especially in case you already have another cat at home.
And that’s it folks! Thank you and stay tune for more news in the future!
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