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So You Want A Cat?

Posted by Jennifer Reece on

So You Want A Cat?

When your dreaming of the pitter-patter of four little paws, we’ll help you choose the right cat for the job.

Jennifer Reece
Product Manager, FOTO Vision

You don’t need to worry overmuch about selecting a cat for your home… do you?  

Yes, actually-- you do!  

While cats are re-known for their independence, they will be entirely dependent upon you for their food, shelter and love.  Some cat breeds also completely defy their animalistic stereotype and love nothing more than to cuddle up to their favorite human and demand some affection.  It’s important to consider the following factors when choosing the right cat for you: 

  • Age & Health

  • Family & Living Arrangements

  • Lifestyle & Personality 

Kittens are high on the adorableness scale, but they need constant supervision.  

Age and Health

When selecting a cat, it’s important to pause and ask yourself some serious questions.  Firstly, think about the time commitment involved-- if you’re gone for long periods of time with afterwork commitments and travel, then getting a pet of any kind may not be ideal for you.  You also want to make sure that you are amenable to normal cat behaviors-- can you deal with predatory play, scratching and endless curiosity?  

You next need to consider the age and health of your cat.  

Kittens require a lot of time and attention.  They need to be litter trained, eat frequently, and get multiple vaccinations.  They also need to be socialized-- exposed to people and-- if present-- other animals in the household.  Kittens are adorable, but they are work!  

Older cats may have health problems to consider when adopting.  As cats age, they can develop thin skin and other issues such as thickened footpads.  Any cat is susceptible to cancer, with feline leukemia being one of the most common and lethal (second only to trauma).  

No matter what the age, look for a cat that has bright eyes and a glossy coat.  They should be a healthy weight, with no nasal discharge or eye mucus. An adult cat should allow petting and holding without hostility, and a kitten should relax.  Breeders and shelter staff should have the training and knowledge of the cats to best match your temperament with theirs-- but it’s always a good idea to meet the cat in person and play with them for a while.  

You might love your new cat, but your family’s allergies might not!  

Family and Living Arrangements

Next, consider your family’s needs and space.  

Do you already have pets in your family?  Other cats may not take to a strange cat right away, or at all.  Dogs can react aggressively, and can injure kittens. Small animals such as birds, mice or guinea pigs, should be kept in protective cages in appropriate places.  Be careful with rabbits-- they can be either a fierce enemy or prey for a cat, depending on the age and temperament! Snakes may attack cats, as well. Your veterinarian, breeder or shelter should be able to give you information on how to properly introduce your new cat to your other pets.  

What about your human family?  Some people are allergic to cats by varying degrees-- if possible, try to get tested for this allergy before you select a cat.  Those with severe allergies and asthma should not have cats, or consider investing in a hairless breed. Babies are especially vulnerable, and a cat innocently cuddling up to such a small warm human can accidentally suffocate the baby.  Cats who have not been well socialized may react badly to humans in general.  

Your living arrangements also need to be examined.  If you rent, check your lease for pet fees and whether or not certain types of pets are allowed.  You may have to pay a non-refundable deposit of a few hundred dollars-- or more-- to pay for the damage little claws and paws can do to property.  Smaller, studio apartments may not be suitably large enough to accommodate a cat and a human at the same time.  

Cats are best kept indoors, with plenty of room to explore and play… and of course, nap!  

Will your cat get along with everyone?  

Lifestyle & Personality 

Your lifestyle is the final thing to consider when selecting a cat.  

If you’re not a great housekeeper-- be honest here!-- then maybe don’t buy a cat.  Cat hair, dander and the inevitable hair balls are hard enough to clean without the litter box that needs to be emptied and cleaned frequently.  Nobody likes to sit on a couch full of cat hair, or walk into a home that stinks like the litter needs to be changed. And if a litter box isn’t cleaned regularly, cats will sometimes refuse to use it and find another FAR less desirable location to do their “business.”  

If you travel frequently for work, or are away for long periods of time, consider not getting a cat.  Cats need attention and interaction. Playtime is good for a cat-- it stimulates their brains and keeps their feline instincts sharpened.  

Finally, the cat’s personality and temperament are important, too.  Some of the friendliest cats are also the most vocal and demanding of attention.  Some cats-- like Siamese cats-- are rather vocal, which won’t suit everyone.  Be aware of a breed’s particular needs, but also find out if they crave independence or affection.  

American Shorthairs make up 85% of cats owned in America, and they are often considered a great cat for a first-time owner.  Their short hair is easily kept clean, and they are alert and playful.  Ragdolls are easy-going and perfect for families with children trained to be gentle with them, or with other pets.  

Purebred cats will come with a price tag for their breeding and pedigree, but certain behavior characteristics will be ensured.  Mixed breed cats are a bucket of surprises, but they are a rewarding investment.  

If you’re ready to make the commitment, then we’re ready to help you decide on some guidelines for choosing your new cat.  

Whether you choose long-hair, short-hair, or bald, selecting the perfect cat for you is not something to do lightly.  There are many aspects to keep in mind, and each one of them is important in determining whether you’re even ready for a cat as a pet.  If you are, then use our guide to help you narrow your search for the perfect cat for you.   

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