Choosing the Right Cat
A cat can be one of the most rewarding of all pets but before you acquire one, please think first: is there really time for a cat in your home and your life? Catscan be perfect pals and make wonderful companions but,although they may seem independent, caring for one demands as much commitment as with any other animal. Cats can live for fifteen or eventwenty years, so don't assume that it is always best to take on a kitten. An older cat has much to offer and may be betterf or working or elderly owners or families with young children. Only choose a kitten (at least eight weeks old) if someone will be at home for all or part of the dayto give it the care and attention it needs. Your local animal shelter always has cats of all ages needing good homes.
There are many different breeds of cats, but most pet cats are crossbred, or "domestic short hairs". Pedigree animals tend to be kept for showing. Short haired breeds and types are easier to care for, as long haired cats must be groomed regularly.
Essentials - Make sure you can provide your cat with the following.
- Human companionship and the time to train and socialise a cat from a young age into adulthood
- Regular, adequate meals and a constant supply of clean drinking water
- Freedom to exercise in a safe place, such as a fenced garden away from busy roads and traffic
- A clean and comfortable bed
- Regular grooming
- Vaccinations against the major feline diseases, plus treatment for fleas and worms
- Time and finance to take the cat to the vet when necessary. Pet Insurance can help offset the cost of treatment.
Cats of all ages are very appealing and it is easy to get carried away with the idea of taking one home without really thinking about the consequences. Bringing up a cat of any age and caring for it for anything up to 14 or 15 years, perhaps longer, will take a lot of time, effort and money. You will be responsible for your cat's health and happiness. If you do not think you can care for it for the rest of its life, you should not get a cat. As well as looking after your cat's physical needs, you also owe it to your cat to ensure it is well socialised. You may not always be able to look after your cat if unforeseen circumstances arise and a cat with bad behaviour could face an uncertain future.
- Be sure you understand the needs of the cat you are interested in. Your local veterinary
practice should be able to advise you.
- Be prepared to wait the right cat is worth waiting for
- In the case of kittens, ideally you should see the litter and consider the parents' health
- Where appropriate, make sure your chosen cat is old enough to leave its mother
- You should have easy access to the litter and be able to handle them freely
- Visit your chosen pet regularly between the time of choosing and collection
- Check the facilities are clean, the litter appears alert and healthy and that the kittens
have adequate supplies of toys
- Ensure that registration certificates and microchip documentation are in order
- If any paperwork is unavailable and has to be sent on get a written commitment as to
when it will be delivered
- Ask for a copy of the vaccination certificate and record of worming
- Request a written agreement that purchase is subject to a satisfactory examination by
your vet within 72 hours of purchase
- If your chosen cat does not originate from the place of purchase, ask where it
- Check if a pet insurance cover note is available to cover early unforeseen
If you follow these principles and are prepared to spend time, energy and money onyour cat, you will have a well-behaved member of the family who will bring you years of joy and companionship.