How to Choose a Cat

So you’ve decided to get a cat. They make fantastic and loving pets but it’s important to pick one that’s right for you.

A cat may be with you for 10 to 20 years so it pays to put some thought into the decision. Do you want a male or female? A kitten or mature cat? A pedigree or moggy?  There are plenty of things to think about:

Kitten or cat?

Adorable fluffy kittens are hard for anyone resist but they are mischievous and do need a lot of attention. If you have small children kittens may not be such a good idea. Little kids can be rough. In fact some animal charities won’t give kittens to families with young children.

An older cat will already be house trained, be less boisterous and you’ll already know what type of personality it has. Older cats are harder to re-home from rescue centres as most people want a kitten but they can be ideal pets that adapt easily into your life

Male or female?

Unneutered male and female cats are a bit like teenagers!

Male cats, known as tomcats, grow bigger than female cats. They’ll get into fights, spray their territory and hang around all the local female cats, unless they have the snip.

Female cats come into season often and are very vocal about it. When they are on heat all the local male cats will be hanging around your door waiting for them. Once spayed this behaviour stops.

Female kittens can get pregnant themselves as early as four months so it’s best to get them neutered unless you want a house full of kittens. 

Long-haired or short-haired?

Fluffy long-haired cats are soft and cuddly and beautiful to look at but they need brushing and grooming frequently to stop matted fur and furballs developing.

Cats with short-hair are much less high maintenance as they can manage their own grooming but may still like the feel of being brushed.

If you have allergies it may be better to avoid a long-haired cat. 

Pedigree or mixed breed?

9 out of 10 cats in the UK are a mixed breed or a moggy. They tend to be healthier than pedigree cats as they have a wider gene pool and fewer inherited health problems.

There are dozens of different pedigree cat breeds though, from the fluffy Persian to the sleek Siamese. Often particular breeds have distinct personality types. Siamese are known to be chatty and strong-willed whereas Persians tends to be more relaxed and chilled.

Pedigree cats can cost hundreds of pounds. Moggies are generally free or not very expensive. Rescue centres and animal charities will often vaccinate and pay for the neutering of your cat before you get it. They usually ask for a reasonably priced donation.

One or two?

You may be tempted to get two cats rather than one. If you are out at work a lot it may be a good idea to get a pair as they can entertain themselves and be company for each other.

Remember though that’s two lots of injections, twice the amount of cat food and double the vet bills. It’ll cost a bit more for two to stay at a cattery if you go on holiday but if a friend comes round to feed them when you are away that’s no extra cost!