Choosing Your First Cat

siamese catIf you have never owned a cat and are considering getting one as a pet there are a number of things to take into account before you take the plunge

Above all, do NOT grab the first kitten that you see, no matter how adorable it may be, because every kitten, without exception, looks adorable and you will want to take it home with you. First you need to consider all of the responsibilities that go with owning a cat, and there are a number of them.

Cats Can Live For 20 Years

To begin with, it is quite normal for a cat to live for 20 years or more, and over this length of time you will run up quite a lot of vets bills, even if the cat does not suffer from any health issues. There is also the question of food: week by week it may not be a lot, but added up over 20 years it comes to a considerable sum of money. Then there are other issues such as a litter tray which needs changing every couple of days, unless your cat is going to spend a considerable amount of time outdoors.cat sleeping

You will also need to put in time grooming your cat, particularly if it is a long-haired breed which will need grooming every day in order to avoid matting. In addition, your cat will require a bed on which to sleep and rest. However, some cats will decide for themselves where they wish to sleep, and this could be on your sofa, a dining chair, on the carpet behind the TV, or one of a dozen other places. Bear in mind that cats jump, so the place of choice could be on a high shelf. Can you put up with all this?

Moggies

The vast majority of cats are “moggies” or cross breeds. Only about 10% of cats are pure bred, and unless you intend showing and breeding you are probably better off with a moggie. Pure bred cats can become inbred and suffer from diseases more than a moggie. They will also cost you a considerable amount more to purchase in the first instance.

cat eatingIf you decide to get a kitten from a breeder, ensure that you get a vaccination certificate, and inquire what sort of food it has been fed on, as you will need to get the same to begin with. Beware of a kitten with weepy eyes or a runny nose, poor coat condition, or one that looks underweight, as these are all signs of poor health.

Some breeders will ask to visit your home in order to satisfy themselves that their kitten is going to a place where it will be loved and looked after. You should not resent this; rather you should welcome it as it shows that the breeder takes his or her responsibilities for animal welfare seriously.

Neutering

Whether you take on a male cat (a tom) or a female you should have it neutered as early as possible. (This is another expense, of course). A female can get pregnant at a very young age, while a male can become aggressive and fight with other cats, and will also have pungent urine.

Of course, you may not want to take on a kitten, and perhaps prefer to adopt an older cat from an animal shelter. These cats have past experience of living in a home, and will quickly adapt to living with you

If you consider taking on a cat or kitten from a farm, you need to bear in mind that these animals are, in some instances, almost feral, and will need a considerable amount of attention before they adapt to life in a home.

One word of caution about getting a cat: there is an old saying that you do not own a cat – the cat owns you. There is a certain element of truth in this, because cats are independent creatures and have minds of their own. However, that is what many cat owners love about them.

If you have the time and love to devote to a cat, you will most certainly have a pet that you can enjoy for many years.

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