Do you have a pure-bred or cross-bred cat?

Many Canadians opt for cross-bred or domestic (short/ medium/ long-hair) cats, which are available through the country's many adoption centres. Research suggests that cross-breed cats have reduced risk of health problems and tend to have a longer average life span than pedigree cats. With many cats and kittens looking for homes, you may want to begin by considering adoption of a kitten or cat from one of the many rescue centres around the country. By doing so, you’ll be giving a deserving pet a loving home.

A purebred cat can cost several hundred dollars. If you want to buy one, first check with your vet or the CCA that the breeder is reputable. During the purchase, make sure the breeder gives you the necessary paperwork to prove your cat has a healthy pedigree. Purebred cats often have particular temperaments or needs – some can be difficult around children, for example. If you’re interested in a particular breed, read up on it to find out if it’s the right cat for you.

Grooming and Hair Length

Long-haired cats, such as Maine Coons, Persians or the Turkish Van need daily grooming to keep their coats healthy and free from tangles.

If you’re looking for a lower-maintenance cat, you’ll want one with shorter hair – the great thing about short-haired cats is that they groom themselves. Even so, helping them out occasionally is a great way to bond. And it keeps down those hairballs!

Male or female?

This is really down to personal preference. Neutering is recommended for most kittens before puberty, and neutered male and spayed female cats generally display similar personality traits. If you’re raising two kittens from the same litter, it’s best to take two of the same sex, although early neutering makes this less of an issue.

How many cats?

Generally speaking, cats like to be the only feline in the home. But if you have enough space, raising two kittens together can be very rewarding. Not only will they keep each other entertained while you’re out, but you’ll get double the enjoyment! If you do raise two kittens, it’s a good idea to take them from the same litter. That way they’ll already know each other, and will be more likely to have similar personalities.

Introducing a young kitten to an adult cat also needs careful handling. Take your time, be patient, and make sure each cat has individual space, feeding and sleeping areas.

Do I have young children?

Some breeds of cat don’t like being around children. The same may be true of a kitten with special needs, or who’s had a troubled start in life. So it’s important to check on the kitten’s background and breed characteristics before taking her home. The best thing to do is take your child along to meet your prospective kitten. How does the kitten react? Is she sociable and energetic, or nervous about meeting new people or being handled?

Once you’ve got your kitten home, don’t forget that little bundle of fur has sharp claws and teeth like needles! Biting and scratching is a natural part of boisterous kitten-play, even more so if she feels threatened. Young children may need help to understand that your new kitten is not a cuddly toy, but a living animal who can easily get hurt or upset. Take things slowly, and supervise your children until they’ve learned how to handle your kitten safely.


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