Choosing the Right Cat

When you are ready to add a feline member to your household, how do you choice the right one, or even the right place to get a cat?

These tips should help

1. Ask yourself how much time do you realistically have to spent with your cat?

         Do you want a cat who is very affectionate, and attention seeking, or more indepdent?

        Ask the breeder, foster home, shelter/rescue staff member about a cat's temperament before buying or adopting.  Watch the cat for several minutes in his/her normal living environment. Does he/she interact with other animals, or stay off by her/himself? Is he/she hiding in the back of the cage? Or up in the front, reaching our swatting at everything that moves. 

        Ask about the cat's history-was it literally born in a barn, or ferral? Was it raised in a household, with or without other pets, 

2. What types of things do you want to do with your cat?

          Tricks, walk on a leash outside, be a therapy cat, or just hang around the house. Or do you need a good "mouser" for your barn?

3. Do you want an  entirely indoor cat? or one that goes outside?

             There are serious risks to allowing cats outside, even in an enclosed yard. Generally, we recommend that pet cats only be outdoors in an fully enclosed and secure (including closed "ceiling") area. Even limited exposure to outdoors can severely traumatize a cat who has spent his/her whole life inside. 

4. Do you have other cats or pets?

        Not all cats get along, even with work. Generally, try to get cats about the same age, similar breed, temperament, and background. The addition of another cat to an existing cat household is easier if both cats have been around other felines most of their lives.  Dogs and other pets should be accustomed to having a cat or at least a small rapidly moving animal in the house. 

        Do you have the ability to separate the new cat from existing pets and introduce them gradually under controlled circumstances? 

5. Do you have kids, what ages, and what experience do they have with pets? 

       Children can be great with cats, if both know and respect appropriate boundaries. 

6. Where to get your cat?

          Shelters and Rescues can be great. Be cautious with no kill shelters/rescues. Find out how long the cat has been there. Unfortunately many no kill shelters and rescues are dumping grounds for animals with serious behavior problems with little to chance of being adopted from "kill" shelters. This does meant that the animals are not adoptable, just know exactly what you are getting and be honest if our are prepared to handle/ properly help the animal. 

         Breeders are recommended only if you desire a specific breed of kitten for a specific purpose such as showing or breeding. American Cat Fanciers Association has a list of recognized breeders for each established cat breed.

7. Is your home properly set up for your new cat?

             Basically, you should provide 1 more litterbox, 1 more perch (the higher the better) and `1 more scratching post/board than you have cats. That way no one can become too territorial and all always have a safe place to go. Provide spots to hide and a kennel for each cat. Although cats are generally not housed in kennels for any period of time, they should be used to (and enjoy) hanging out in a kennel or carrier, so getting the cat in a carrier is not your worst nightmare. 

Yes, Canine/Feline Behavior Counseling does offer pre-purchase/adoption consultations to help you find the right fit for your family.  Call or email Marie for more information. 

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