In this section, you’ll find:
- Choosing a cat breed
- Many things to consider
- Why personality matters
- Meeting your potential companion
- Be prepared to walk away
Finding your perfect kitty match is not meant to be easy!
Choosing a kitten or an adult cat should involve your head as well as your heart. It takes time to make an informed decision. It’s particularly important not to choose a cat on the basis of appearance. Instead choose a cat based on key aspects of your lifestyle, the characteristics of various cat breeds and their individual personality.
Choosing a cat breed
There is more to choosing a pedigree cat than just liking a certain coat colour or length – there are ethical considerations with some breeds if you really want to consider the cat’s welfare. There are also health issues which you need to check with the breeder and things you need to ask. Good breeders aim to breed healthy, people-friendly cats and avoid (or seek to deal with) inherited disorders which arise. (Source: International Cat Care).
Every breed displays certain attributes as a whole, but not every kitten produced in that breed will have exactly the same temperament. Even a shrinking violet can turn into a tiny tiger in new surroundings! (Source: Kitty Angell, Cat Fanciers Association)
Here are a few links to cat breeds:
- International Cat Care has information on inherited disorders in general and specific breeds.
- Cat Fanciers is an Association for cat breeders. The site has a cat characteristcs/personality chart and detailed information on cat care.
- Australian national cat registry that has a list of breeders and information on cat care.
- Purina has a breed selector and breed library with detailed information on 34 commonly available breeds.
Many things to consider
There is a lot to think about before you make a final decision including:
- Your lifestyle and needs
- The cat’s temperament and activity levels
- The kitten or cat’s health status
- Breed character traits as well as the individual cat personality
- Inherited disorders and welfare concerns of various breeds
- Your ability to meet daily needs including companionship and play
- How the new kitten or cat will impact on your household family members
- How the new kitten or cat will affect other pets in your household
- Your ability to meet the care and grooming required of the breed
- The time, patience and effort required to raise a kitten
- Able to provide a safe and stimulating indoor environment
- Indoor cat all of the time or some of the time
Talk to an animal behaviourist, veterinarian, or animal shelter about your lifestyle to help you find a good kitty match for your household.
Why personality matters
According to International Cat Care, cats have a wide range of personalities. Genetic influence, breed disposition and early experiences shape a cat’s personality. Some cats are noisy, some are active and others are very laid back. Much of the ‘personality’ development has already taken place before you get the kitten.
Most owners want a cat that enjoys being with them and their family and friends. If you choose a fearful kitten because you feel sorry for it, and think that just by being kind you’ll bring it around, you may have a long and disappointing relationship. The kitten may actually develop into a very stressed adult because you’re asking it to live in a household that holds many fearful challenges for it.
Meeting your potential companion
See the cat on its own, and sit quietly until it relaxes. Let it come an investigate you and see how it reacts to being touched. You need to guage the difference between a cat being naturally cautious and timid or fearful of people.
Be prepared to walk away
Be prepared to walk away and not purchase a kitten or cat out of pity because it’s ill or scared, just in order to ‘save’ it from its current environment. Although this sounds very hard, you don’t want to be left with a kitten that may have health or attitude problems for years to come and is likely to be difficulty and disappointing to live with. (Source: International Cat Care)
- Cat Health and Wellbeing
- Talk to a animal behaviourist who specialises in cats or a veterinarian about your lifestyle and needs
- Find out more about a particular breed by talking to Breed Clubs
- Visit your local animal shelter where staff know about the pros and cons of different breeds. They will give you tips on any health issues to expect