Bringing home a new cat is an exciting experience. You'll have someone to play with and take care of, essentially a new addition to your home. Before you rush out to an animal shelter, there are a few pointers that can help you choose the perfect cat. Keep these things in mind, and you will be on your way home with a little kitty in no time!
The first thing you should consider is the rest of your family. If other people or animals live in your home, then they may have an effect on which cat you bring home. For instance, if you have a child in the house, then you may choose an adult cat over a kitten, since kittens can be very fragile. The Human Society of the United States recommends adopting a cat at least four months of age if there is a child in the home. On the other hand, you may be looking for a feline to get along with a small dog in the home. You can choose an adult cat or a kitten, since both can adapt to the new friend; but adult cats are often set in their ways, and it may take longer for the two to get along.
Another thing to think about when deciding between an adult cat versus a kitten is time. Kittens require more playtime, training, and attention. They are not as time-consuming as puppies, but they are more time-consuming than adult cats. An adult feline will be fairly independent and is probably already litter box trained. Don't worry, an adult cat can still enjoy your company and adapt to her new life.
The next thing to consider is short hair or long hair. Don't be fooled; both can shed just as much as the other and both require grooming! But, a long-haired cat will need to be brushed more often to prevent mats and tangles. You may not have a preference, but it is something to consider.
Now, once you get to the shelter take time to look around before you get your heart set on one specific cat; you never know what may be around the corner. Remember that cats have a wide range of personalities. Some cats will cry for you and jump around the cage, while others may not even open their eyes when you walk by. No one personality is better than the other; whether you want a high-strung or laid-back cat is completely up to you!
Health is extremely important when choosing an animal. Check out the cat's eyes, ears, and nose. Watery eyes or eyes with discharge can be a sign of a health problem; choose a cat with clear eyes. The same is true with the nose. Make sure the nose is clean and not covered in mucus. It's common for cats to get ear mites, so check the ears for any black, flaky discharge. Keep in mind that ear mites are fairly easy to get rid of, so that health aspect should not necessarily deter you from choosing a specific cat. Also, pay attention to the cat's weight. It should look healthy, but not be too heavy or too skinny. You should be able to feel the cat's ribs (not see them) by barely pressing on the rib cage.
If you ask for assistance, most shelters will allow you to spend some one-on-one time with the feline. Take time to play with a couple of prospects, but play with each individually. Realize that the cat may be a little frightened or nervous, so it may not act completely comfortable around you at first. However, it should not be aggressive toward you. If it hisses, bites, or scratches, then you probably need to look for another cat. If you try to play with or pet the cat, then it should be somewhat responsive. As you play, check out the cat's personality. They are all different, and you may have more fun with one over another.
Choosing a cat at a shelter isn't too tough, but there are a few things to keep in mind. Before you go, decide if you are looking for an adult cat or a kitten. Once you get there, pay attention to the cats' health and personalities. It's up to you which cat you choose, but keep in mind that each is different. You may want one-on-one time with numerous cats before you decide on your new companion.