By David W Johnson
Deciding to be a pet owner and caregiver is a big responsibility. Owning an indoor cat can bring years of enjoyable pleasure for you and your new companion friend. Although cats are seen as self-reliant, you as the owner will always have to be the diligent parent.
If you've never owned any pets before, you should get some pet education before bringing your new furry friend home.
Probably the best way to find out about caring for an indoor cat is to visit the homes of friends who have indoor cats. Your friends can be an excellent resource for what's going to be required of you to care for a cat. Other resources are community cat clubs, veterinarians, animal shelters, books, tapes, videos, and the Internet.
Before you get your first cat, decide what your commitment to this relationship will be. How much devotion, cost, effort, and attention are you willing to provide to your new friend. Also consider what your personal preferences are for the new family addition. Are you looking for?
- Kitten or Adult
- Longhair or Shorthair
- Male or Female
- Breed (Persian, Burmese, etc)
- Pedigree or Non-Pedigree
To many, a kitten is a cute, cuddly bundle of joy, just like a new born baby. But like a baby, you'll need to watch over carefully to the health of the kitten as it grows to adulthood. An adult cat, on the other hand, is more capable of attending to its own personal care.
Cats shed hair, just like humans. Some breeds shed more hair than others. Cats are fastidious groomers. Be prepared and none too surprised when they vomit a hairball from time to time -- completely natural with little cause for alarm. It's a good practice to routinely brush your cat to collect the loose hair.
Shorthair cats usually need less routine brushing than longhairs. If you brush your cat routinely, they can have less incidents of hairballs and upset digestion. Giving your cat a bath (cat formulated shampoo only) once in a great while is good also.
Cats are individuals. Both female and male cats can make wonderful companions. If the cat has been spayed or neutered, then the cat's gender doesn't play a huge role. The cat's own unique personality will determine how good of a pet it will make. Your personal preference may be to choose a cat whose personality is agreeable to yours.
Generally the cat's breed isn't a factor and your selection usually is a personal preference.
You may choose a pedigree cat if your intention is to invest, breed, or show. There are other reasons why someone would choose a pedigree over a non-pedigree, and that's a personal choice. Expect to pay more for a pedigree primarily because its lineage can be traced and its pedigree is highly prized by others.
Non-pedigree cats are just as cute and cuddly as the pedigree. A lot less expensive too!
A cat is a wonderful addition to your family and will give you many years of enjoyable pleasure.