Choosing the Right Pet

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Cats are one of the most common domestic pets. They are exceptionally intelligent creatures that can provide affection and entertainment. The average feline lifespan ranges from 13 to 18 years, so anyone considering the purchase of a cat should be prepared for a long-term commitment. In deciding to purchase a cat, you first have to determine whether you want an adult cat or a kitten. Adult cats tend to be easier because they are typically litter box trained, and they have already developed their personality so you have an idea what temperament your cat is going to have. Most adult cats readily adapt to a new home.  Many owners desire a kitten because they’re small and adorable. Kittens require more veterinary care, need extra attention to litter box train, and don’t have fully developed personalities, so you don’t know what kind of cat your kitten will grow to be.

Supplies every cat owner needs

  • Cat carrier for visits to the vet. Carriers that are easily taken apart are desirable.
  • Litter box and cat litter - multiple types available.
  • Cat toys that are fun but safe, must be too large to be ingested
  • Food and water dish. There are many interactive feeders available which enrich your cat's life.
  • Quality cat or kitten food

The difference in cats breeds

When selecting a cat, it is important to choose a breed that fits in with your lifestyle. Different breeds have distinct temperaments and needs: long-haired cats require more grooming, and some breeds are more independent while others prefer to sit in your lap. The following are some of the most common cat breeds along with specific personality traits:

  • Bengal – affectionate, but very lively and very active. Not a lap cat. Need a lot of space to run, play and climb. Love water and are skilled hunters.
  • Cornish Rex – a very active cat with impressive agility. Playful throughout adulthood and eager to play games and fetch.
  • Maine Coon – curious and affectionate, these cats are great companions. Can be trained to fetch and walk in a harness. Fur requires brushing and grooming.
  • Persian – Is a very mellow breed of cat and is also very loving. They require a lot of grooming and maintenance.
  • Ragdoll – Has a mild temperament. Very intelligent and affectionate – can even fetch and learn tricks much like a puppy. Considered a lap cat, but like to be active. Will even come when called!
  • Siamese – a very loving cat that thrives on human attention. Can be demanding and very vocal, so if you do not want a cat that requires a lot of attention, a Siamese is not for you. 
  • Tonkinese – have a short, thick coat and are an extremely intelligent cat. They enjoy attention and companionship and are great for multi-pet households or families with children.

Cat Behavior

Cats are usually very independent beings and do not crave attention, though some breeds do want to remain close to their owner at all times. Typical cat behaviors include purring, kneading, and ear or tail motion. Purring indicates contentment with their current surroundings. Kneading is a sign of happiness. Fear or displeasure can be noted when a cat pins their ears back towards the sides of their head. Hissing is a defense mechanism meant to scare off a predator. The tail has various movements that denote meaning: a tail held up is a sign of welcoming; an upright tail with the sway of the tip is an invitation to play; and a fully swaying tail is a sign of annoyance.

Cats are instinctual hunters and will hunt whether or not they are hungry; they see hunting as an adventure and usually do it at night or in the early morning. Occasionally, your cat will bring you back their game, either dead or alive, as a sign of affection. Interactive cat feeders are beneficial and enriching by allowing your cat to hunt for their food.

Cats also enjoy scratching. Frequent scratching can ruin furniture, so provide a scratching post and encourage them to use it. Keeping your cat's nails trimmed will also help avert damage to your house.

It is highly recommended to have your cat spayed or neutered both for medical and behavioral reasons.. Female cats are known to scream in search of a mate, are very dramatic when in heat, and may be prone to running away when in heat. Male cats spray odorous urine on walls, furniture, and carpeting to mark their territory and notify potential mates.

As with any pet, prior research and understanding of a pet’s needs ensures a happy life together.