Last week we talked about the wonderful reasons for adopting a cat. Before you actually adopt, the most important decision you will make is choosing the cat that’s right for YOU! We’re going to talk about some of the general choices today that you should consider. Circumstances and families are all different; your new pet needs to be able to fit into your life without causing stress to it or to you.
1. Sleek or Fluffy
Cats wear coats ranging from the nearly naked to long and elegant. If you like a long, luxurious coat, keep in mind that it requires daily brushing. Most cats aren’t equipped to keep long hair from tangling or matting even though they groom themselves many times a day. Long hair also creates more housekeeping; your vacuum and lint brush will get a workout. Finally, long-haired cats tend to be more prone to hairballs. Not all long-haired cats enjoy being brushed. You might end up having to take yours to a groomer.
Short-haired cats don’t require as much brushing, but it helps to remove loose fur, stimulate the skin, and distribute oils through the coat. A cat who likes being groomed will come running when it sees the brush. Kirby does this. Can’t even show it to Sammy, let alone brush him.
2. Pink or Blue collar.
Some people have strong opinions about which sex makes the best pet. Having had both, I think the individual cat is more important than the sex. I do agree that both sexes need to be “fixed” to control the population of unwanted pets.
Kittens are cute and wrap their paws around your heart in seconds, but there are disadvantages too. They need extra care, supervision, and a bit of training. Since they are fragile little creatures, they’re vulnerable to many dangers.Although most cats are easy to train to use a litter box, kittens—like all babies—do have accidents. At around 6 months, most kittens go through a wild stage and seem to have endless energy and springs for legs. A kitten is susceptible to disease and will need to visit the veterinarian several times for vaccinations and checkups. A kitten is an unknown entity—you really don’t know what kind of cat you’ll end up with once they outgrow their kitten personality.
If you can’t devote the time and effort or spend the money necessary to raise a kitten properly, consider adopting an adult cat instead. Most adult cats adapt quickly and become part of the family as easily as kittens. When you adopt an adult cat, you can already see the size and the coat as well as evaluate its personality. They’re past those crazy kitten stages that require you to do major kitten-proofing in your home. If you adopt from a rescue organization, shelter, or breeder, your cat will probably have been examined by a veterinarian, spayed or neutered, and brought current on vaccinations and other health care. If your adult adoptee is a purebred from a responsible breeder, you will get documentation of any health clearances its had as well as the health history, and you’ll be able to ask about behavior, habits, and quirks. Cats retired from showing and breeding are often quite young and are usually very well socialized to people.
Cats, like people, are individuals. No two are exactly alike, whether they’re from the same breed or even the same litter. Some cats are very mellow and will tolerate any kind of handling, including being dressed in clothes. These cats are perfect for young kids or older people who want and appreciate this type of cat.
Other cats don’t like being picked up or held and will only come to you for petting when they feel like it. There are cats who live to nap and cats who are perpetual motion machines.
Next week, we’ll talk some about the pros and cons of a certain breed, as well as special needs cats. (They want a forever home too!) In the meantime, here are some more stories of successful adoptions.
Branwell, the Cat Who Came In From the Cold
Catherine Bussiere: Cats
Marion Lovato is the author of Sam, the Superkitty. Her book describes an ordinary cat changing into a superhero to protect his family from things that go bump in the night. Available on Amazon as a paperback or Kindle edition. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1604588667