Choosing a Cat Breed
Choosing a cat usually means weighing up a number of options. Take time to think about the questions below and you'll be well placed to find the sort of cat that will fit in with your home and lifestyle.
Remember that a cat can live for a serious length of time, so you should really think about owning one of these delightful creatures in a way not dissimilar to how you would think about starting a human family. A cat, barring accident or illness, may well live to eighteen years of age or more — the same length of time the average child would remain in his or her parents’ home. Yes, owning a cat is a lifelong commitment, but an incredibly rewarding one if you make sure you select the right cat for you in the first place.
Do you want a cat or a kitten?
- Would you prefer a pedigree cat, i.e., one of well-recorded parentage which is registered with a recognized governing body, or would you be happy with an alleycat, where you know little or nothing about its family history?
- Would you accept a “rescue” cat that has been abandoned or maltreated and, a bit like a second-hand car, can be either amazingly reliable or really let you down?
- Would you accept an older cat? Senior-citizen felines can make the most delightful pets and will not be as boisterous or demanding as kittens.
A kitten is almost always the first choice for families with young children, but do remember that kittens grow up very quickly. Although kittens are officially recognized as adult cats when they reach the age of nine months, some breeds are rather precocious and will want to mate much earlier. Siamese and Burmese are well known for this, and it is not uncommon for siblings of these breeds to mate together at an early age. Therefore, it is most important to get them neutered.
Pedigree kittens can be quite expensive — be prepared to pay quite hefty sums, depending on the breed in question. If you have approached a well-known breeder, or had one recommended to you via a breed club, the sum you part with should provide you with a kitten that is representative of its breed not only physically, but also in terms of temperament. For this price, you can expect your kitten to be registered with the appropriate governing body (for which a certificate should be provided by the breeder), be fully inoculated, and preferably insured. If you want an adult pedigree cat, rather than a kitten, look to the local breed group (any of the registration bodies have contact information on their websites. This way, you may well acquire a pedigree cat for a fraction of the cost of a kitten, or even for free. You may be asked to make a contribution toward the cost of neutering/spaying and inoculations.
Non-pedigree cats are always available in sanctuaries and animal shelters. They can become the most rewarding of pets. Often they will have been pretty badly treated and will take time to settle in to a normal home environment. But the rewards — a hissy, spitty creature that turns into an adoring lap cat — cannot be overestimated. When they eventually trust their new owner, their love says it all.
As you read though this book, you will realize that there is a huge selection of pedigree breeds available — some demanding of your time with their grooming requirements and others simply demanding of your presence. Read on, the decision is yours.