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Choosing Your Cat

One reason cats are such popular pets is their adaptability. They are self-sufficient 
and absolutely unpredictable. Cats thrive anywhere people do with very little special 
care. Nevertheless, a cat's age, sex and breed should be considered if you want the
most suitable pet for your lifestyle.

A family with children and neighbors' children running in and out all day slamming 
doors, might be more appreciative of a sturdy, low maintenance "wash and wear" 
Short-Hair cat. A cat connoisseur might choose the unique look of the Ocicat, 
which, besides its spotted wild looking beauty, is known as one of the best 
companion cats. The best companion for an older person or invalid might be a 
mature cat who stays out from underfoot and is not too energetic. A long-haired 
cat or a high-strung, elegant Siamese whose claws are sure to scratch expensive
furniture and mother's stockings, might send a fastidious housekeeper into a broom
swinging rage. On the other hand, an easygoing young childless couple would be
delighted with the same cat.

The following general information may be all you need to make your decision. If not, 
and you want to know more, get a note book and start researching at the library. 
Look in bookstores for good sources of information, join a cat club, attend a cat 
show and visit breeders in your area. The more you learn, the more you'll enjoy 
your feline.

Decide what type of cat you want: pet, breeder or show quality. If you cannot 
commit to the money or time, do not buy a show cat. If you are not going to 
breed the cat, donít buy breeding stock. The least expensive kitten is going to 
be the quality that reputable breeders will only sell with a spay/neuter agreement.

ADULT OR KITTEN?
Each has its virtues. An adult cat is a ready-made companion, no mess, no fuss. 
He's trained, he's self-sufficient, and like the words of a famous philosopher "what you
see is what you get", no surprises. What's more, he may already be neutered and he
knows how to take care of himself. He'll hide when he tires of playing with the children
and they get rough. And if you need a mouser, he can probably learn the job within
hours. Assuming he's healthy and comes from a loving breeder or home, he may 
make an excellent pet.

On the other hand, adult cats are generally slower to adjust to new situations than
kittens. Normally shipping can cause adults immense stress and stress can bring 
on illness. It may take a little extra patience to introduce an older cat to other pets 
in the family. You'll probably have to watch closely for a few months until he becomes
adjusted so that he doesn't sneak out the door and try to return to his former home.
Starting out with an adult cat, you miss the enjoyment as well as anguishes of
kittenhood; some people feel itís easier to bond to a kitten than an adult cat.

No doubt kittens are adorable, cuddly and amusing. Their nonsensical antics and
youthful exuberance bring out the cheerfulness in everyone. Watching them learn 
and grow is unforgettable for all ages and an exciting experience for children.

They do take time and patience however; be prepared to give a kitten lots of care 
during the first few weeks. He may need to be fed several times a day; you'll have 
to spend time training him and cleaning up after him when he has an accident. He 
may even need to sleep cuddled up with you the first night or two. Kittens are born
explorers, so put away table top treasures (or glue them down with a glue gun) until 
he's older. Finally, be prepared for veterinary expenses - for inoculations, neutering 
and checkups.

PEDIGREED
If you plan to show your cat as a hobby, and your specific about what you want in 
looks and temperament or if you intend to breed, by all means, buy a pedigreed cat 
from a breeder. A pure-bred cat can cost several hundred dollars. Chances are you 
will never mull over your investment in an exquisite, show quality feline.

As to advice on buying an expensive show cat, the best practice is to learn about 
the breed you want through reading, talking to breeders and attending cat shows. 
With this knowledge under your belt, go look at kittens and you can probably make 
an intelligent evaluation. If you donít feel that you can, take someone with you that 
can.

If you definitely want a particular breed, but you don't need show quality and 
registration papers, you may be able to buy a "pet kitten" relatively inexpensively 
from a breeder. While color variations or other minor faults may make the kitten
unacceptable for breeding or showing, they don't affect his pet potential at all.

LONG-HAIRED OR SHORTHAIRED?
Your tolerance for continual hair on carpets, furniture and clothing is one factor to
consider. Allergies can be another; long-haired cats may aggravate allergies more 
than short-hairs. Daily grooming is essential, if you choose a long-hair and want to 
keep him healthy, good looking and free of hairballs. A short haired cat requires 
less maintenance, just gentle brushing with a rubber brush, a couple of times a 
week. Both the long-hairs and short-hairs will need a nail trim once a week.

TEMPERAMENT
Claims are made about different temperaments among the breeds, but in general,
longhairs are quieter and more tranquil than short-hairs.

MALE OR FEMALE
Unless cat breeding is your goal, sex makes little difference since you're going to 
spay or neuter the cat anyway. Altered pets are more docile than whole cats. 
Neutered males normally never spray and are more mellow because their not 
driven by hormones. Males are always larger than females. Spayed females won't
produce generation after generation of unwanted litters at home or elsewhere.





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