Choosing A Cat
Choosing A Cat
Arden Moore (Animal Behavioral Specialist, Editor and Author) gives expert video advice on: How do I choose between a kitten and an adult cat?; What are the differences between male and female cats?; What are the pros and cons of a domestic or non-purebred cat? and more...
What is the best age to get a kitten?
The best age for you to get a kitten is at least 10 weeks of age. You get all excited, let's say you picked the cat and the kitten you like from a litter and you want to take her home at six weeks of age or eight weeks. Really, you can do more of a good service for that kitten by letting her stay with her littermates and her momma. This is because between the ages of actually six and 10 weeks is a very, very important part of a cat's learning. This is where the cat learns a little bit about socialization, they learn about bite inhibition. They learn good kitty manners from their littermates and their momma cat. I always advise people: practice patience. It's much better to wait an extra week or two and get a cat that really has good savvy cat skills, than to be impatient and find yourself having to cope with a lot of kitty misdeeds.
What are the differences between male and female cats?
Speaking in general terms, the difference between male and female cats is that male cats tend to want to roam and tend to get in fights a bit more. That's why I would always encourage you to please neuter your cat. That makes them less apt to fight. Female cats tend to be a bit more independent and can be a little aloof, but they're less apt to roam. But that all said, if you're getting a kitten, no matter if it's a male or a female, you have a perfect opportunity to really shape that cat's personality and temperament with positive reinforcement and many environment enrichments. By that I mean playing with your cat in a purposeful way. You can play a big part in shaping your cat's personality no matter if they're male or female or how they differ to a cat of the opposite sex.
What are the pros and cons of a purebred cat?
If you're considering a purebred cat, you're in luck; there are lots to choose from. The nice thing about choosing a purebred cat is that you know a lot about that cat's breed history. There are major cat registries out there that give you all kinds of information about the personality, the health concerns, their temperaments and things like that. The other thing is that you tend to work with a reputable breeder who's your go-to person when you have any kind of question. Reputable breeders will guarantee that if you're not happy with this cat or kitten, they take the cat or kitten back. This is very important; it gives you peace of mind. If it's not a good match, that's OK, but at least you know that the cat is not going to just be discarded. You can also find a cat that really matches your lifestyle, based on whether you want a wild, interactive cat like a Siamese, or a mellow, love to give you a soft kiss Persian.
What are the pros and cons of a domestic or non-purebred cat?
There are many pros and cons if you are thinking about getting what we commonly call a mixed breed cat, the mutt cats of the world. They are actually technically called random bred cats if you want to impress your friends and family with that new term. There are many benefits of having a random bred cat if you will. Because they aren't a purebred, they are less prone to certain genetically predisposed health conditions. For example, Persians have a tendency of kidney problems and if you get a Persian mix, you might have less of a problem with that issue. The other things with a domesticated cat is that often they come from the street or from shelters. Here is your chance to really be a hero and save a life and they will be very grateful for that too. So you can do a good thing by getting a domestic cat. Some of the downside is, their past is a mystery. You don't know where they are at risk for any kind of health conditions and things like that. You don't know what they acted like as a kitten. So, if you are willing to take that chance and be able to just focus on the here and now and shape a good future, then maybe a domesticated, random bred, mixed cat, whatever you want to call it, is for you.
How many different breeds of cats are there?
When you compare cats to dogs, there are far fewer cat breeds than dogs. But, that said, pinpointing the exact number is one of big debate. Let me give you an example. The world's largest cat registry called Cat Fancier Association. They recognize 41 cat breeds. By contrast, the International Cat Association, also known as TICA, actually recognizes over 70. So if you're a bengal cat, you are embraced and welcomed at shows at TICA, but if you show up at a they're going to tell you, "sorry bengal, no bengals allowed."
What were different cat breed groups bred to do?
Just like dogs, some cat breeds were created to have different jobs or different duties, if you will, for their feline lives. To give you an example, Siamese cats, years and centuries ago were bred to sort of be protectors. They stood on high, watched what was coming in and out of the castles and they could leap. The Turkish Van will put most Labradors to shame when it comes to swimming. They're a kind of a cat that takes to water so well that you might want to shut your shower door if you're going to take a shower and you have a Turkish Van. On the other hand, there were some cats, like the Persians, that were bred for little cuddles and lap cats, with their job just to sit there, warm your lap, purr and be sweet and demure. So it's fun to investigate the histories of all the different cat breeds and find out just how different they really are.