Cats are one of the most common domestic pets. They are exceptionally intelligent creatures that can provide affection and entertainment. The average feline lifespan ranges from 13 to 17 years, so anyone considering the purchase of a cat should be prepared for a long-term commitment. Cats have extraordinary hearing capabilities and have eyes that are well-adapted to low light situations. In deciding to purchase a cat, you first have to determine whether you want an adult cat or a kitten. Adult cats tend to be easier because they are typically litter box trained; they have already developed their personality so you know upon purchasing what temperament your cat is going to have; and they readily adapt to a new home just as easily as kittens do. Most new pet owners desire a kitten because they’re small and cute. Kittens require more veterinary care, need extra attention to litter box train, and don’t have fully developed personalities, so you don’t know what kind of cat your kitten will grow to be.
Break-away cat collar.
Litter box scoop.
Quality cat or kitten food.
When selecting a cat, it is important to choose a breed that fits in with your lifestyle. Different breeds have distinct temperaments and needs: long-haired cats require more grooming, and some breeds are more independent while others prefer to sit in your lap. The following are some of the most common cat breeds along with specific personality traits:
Bengal – affectionate, but very lively and playful. Not a lap cat. Need a lot of space so they are better kept as outdoor cats. Love water and are skilled hunters.
Cornish Rex – a very active cat with impressive agility. Playful throughout adulthood and eager to play games and fetch.
Maine Coon – curious and affectionate, these cats are great companions. Can be trained to fetch and walk in a harness. Fur requires brushing and grooming.
Persian – perfect cat for a family because they adapt well to their environment. Is the most mellow breed of cat and is also very loving. Are very quiet, but do require a lot of grooming and maintenance.
Ragdoll – must be kept as an indoor cat because of its incredibly mild temperament. Very intelligent and affectionate – can even fetch and learn tricks much like a puppy. Considered a lap cat, but like to be active. Will even come when called!
Siamese – a very loving cat that thrives on human attention. Can be demanding, so if you do not want a cat that requires a lot of attention, a Siamese is not for you. Stay near their owner and are a great cat for families.
Tonkinese – have a short, thick coat and are an extremely intelligent cat. They enjoy attention and companionship and are great for multi-pet households or families with children.
Cheese (in small amounts).
Dry commercial cat food.
Fish (in small amounts).
Vegetables (carrots, broccoli, green beans).
Wet commercial cat food.
Cats are usually very independent beings and do not crave attention, though some breeds do want to remain close to their owner at all times. Typical cat behaviors include purring, hissing, kneading, and ear or tail motion. Purring indicates contentment with their current surroundings. Hissing is a defense mechanism meant to scare off a predator. Kneading is a sign of happiness. Fear can be noted when a cat pins their ears back towards the sides of their head. The tail has various movements that denote meaning: a tail held up is a sign of welcoming; an upright tail with the sway of the tip is an invitation to play; and a fully swaying tail is a sign of annoyance.
Cats are instinctual hunters and usually do not hunt because they are hungry; they see hunting as an adventure and usually do it at night or in the early morning. Occasionally, your cat will bring you back their game, either dead or alive, as a sign of affection. Wild mother cats do this for their young to feed them and teach them how to hunt. Your pet cat is possibly trying to do the same. Cats also enjoy scratching. Frequent scratching can ruin furniture, so provide a scratching post and encourage them to use it.
One of the biggest challenges with cats is managing their heat cycles. Getting cats spayed or neutered is a good way to avoid having to deal with these annoyances. Female cats are known to scream in search of a mate, which can become aggravating. They are also prone to running away when in heat. Male cats spray odorous urine on walls, furniture, and carpeting to mark their territory and notify potential mates. The smell can be overwhelming and make your home an undesirable place to be.
As with any pet, prior research and understanding of a pet’s needs ensures a happy life together.