Beyond Nine Lives: Picking Your New Pet

Beyond Nine Lives

This is a sponsored post by Elizabeth Arguelles, veterinarian and owner of Just Cats Clinic at Lake Anne Plaza.

Picking the right cat to bring into your house is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. The new kitty will become another member of your family for the subsequent 10 to 20 years. You will be responsible for its food, health and overall care for the rest of its life.

The problem, of course, is that there are so many different cats out there to choose from. Cats of different breeds, different ages and different personalities each mesh differently with different families and function well in different situations. In this article, we’ll discuss how to identify the type of kitty that is the best match for you and your family.

Should you get a kitten or adult cat?

One of the first things to consider is the age of the cat that you will adopt. A lot of this boils down to your individual lifestyle.

Tiger BabyYounger cats tend to be more energetic and require more attention and stimulation. Most kittens are curious, playful and often mischievous. They require careful supervision to keep them out of trouble. So if you are out long hours for work or travel often, a kitten may not be the best fit for you.

Adult cats require less supervision but definitely still require play and environmental stimulation like cat trees and access to windows. If you tend to be gone longer hours during the day, an adult cat may be a better option for you.

Senior cats can be a great fit for people who work from home or retirees. These cats need play, but do still need environmental stimulation to stay active. Additionally, you’ll want to think about the cost potentially associated with senior cat care, disease management, or end of life care. When you adopt a senior cat, you’re helping them live the rest of their lives in comfort and love —  and surely there’s no better reward than that.

What kind of personality should you look for?

Choosing the right cat personality is very important when you’re looking for a new furry family member. No two cats are exactly alike, even if they are from the same breed or come from the same litter. As a result, each one will react differently to living in a new household in a different way.

Some cats are very mellow and will tolerate a little more physical handling. Some will even allow themselves to be dressed in cute clothes! These cats are typically better for families with young children. Babies and toddlers tend to grab at kitties, sometimes catching a tail, ear, or fur in the process. So making sure you have a laid back feline who won’t bite or scratch when provoked can prevent any accidental scratches or bites.

Additionally, make sure you help your kids understand at a very young age how to approach cats and pet them gently. This will help your new cat and your child form a relationship built on trust and love.

Other cats are fussier about being picked up or held and will only come to you for petting when they feel like it. These are obviously a better fit for quieter households.

The best way to get a sense of a cat’s personality is obviously to spend some time alone with it, ideally in a calm and comfortable setting. But you can also get a broad understanding based on its breed. For example, Persians are typically more laid back and sedentary, Bengals tend to be extremely active, and Siamese are known for being talkative.

Should you pick a shorthaired or longhaired cat?

It all depends on how much loose fur you can tolerate! All cats leave hairy calling cards throughout the house, but longhaired kitties will obviously shed more than their shorthaired cousins.

Longhaired cats also require frequent grooming to prevent matting. And if those mats get bad enough, you might needs to go to the veterinarian to have them shaved or cut out. If you do want a longhaired cat but are anxious about the grooming process, talk to your vet for tips on how to make it a more enjoyable experience for your feline.

Is it better to get a purebred kitty or mixed breed?

If you have your heart set on a specific breed, make sure you do your research about the health risks affecting that type of cat. Because of inbreeding, some breeds are more likely to suffer from certain medical conditions. As a result, talk to your vet before you adopt if you have a specific breed in mind.

If you don’t have a strong reason for adopting a purebred kitty, we strongly recommend adopting a mixed-breed cat. Animal shelters are filled with non-purebred felines who need a permanent home, and unfortunately, many don’t find a loving home in time.

Should you adopt a cat with special needs?

Though special needs cats require more care and attention, they often make wonderful companions. Such felines might be older, deaf, blind or have an illness that requires regular medication, but their condition doesn’t reduce love they have to give; it just means extra commitment on your part to meet their needs. If you fall in love with a special needs cat, consult your veterinarian about the cat’s medical needs are before you commit to make sure you can handle the cat’s needs financially.

Should you bring a cat into a multi-pet household?

The last thing to consider as you decide on a new cat is how its presence might affect any other cats or pets already living in your house. Do some research on how to introduce a new cat to your existing pet and talk to your vet for additional tips.

For more information please visit our Feline Health Library at (under client resources).




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