Return to Cats

Tips: Choosing a Cat

Cats make wonderful pets. They tend to be less demanding and can easily adjust to a variety of lifestyles and living spaces. Every cat is a true individual, so it’s important to take the time to choose a four-footed friend who’s right for you. A cat’s personality, age, and appearance, as well as the kinds of pets you already have at home, are all things you should keep in mind when making your selection.

Choose a Personality
As you walk past a few cat cages, you’ll notice that some cats meow for special attention, while others simply lie back and gaze at you with some apprehension. There are as many different personalities of cats as there are cats in the center. You need to decide which cat might be best for you and your lifestyle. Also, some cats are totally different at home than they are in the cage.

Ask a volunteer for assistance  when you want information about a particular cat. Does she like to be held, or sit by you?  Does she get along with other cats and dogs. Keep in mind that, because they are in an unfamiliar environment, some cats who are usually quite social may be frightened or passive while in a cage- these are the cats that may need extra TLC to come out of their shell-but in the end make loving pets.

Kitten or Cat? 
Kittens are curious, playful, and full of energy, while adult cats are more relaxed and less mischievous. Kittens need more time to train and feed. Cats are only kittens for a few months, so the age of the cat you adopt should really depend on the level of maturity you’re looking for. Young children usually don’t have the maturity to handle kittens responsibly, so a cat who’s at least four months old is probably the best choice for homes with kids under six years old.

Shorthaired or Long?
Cats can have long, fluffy coats or short, dense fur, and the choice between the two is primarily a matter of what you feel you can comfortably manage and what the center has at the time. You’ll see more shorthaired cats at the center since they’re the most popular and common cats. The main thing to keep in mind is that SOME longhaired cats, like Persians, require frequent grooming to be mat-free. Cats with short coats also benefit from brushing, though they do not need it as frequently. Most cats enjoy a regular brushing and will look forward to this as part of a daily routine with you.

Room for One More 
If you already own a cat or dog, you’re probably wondering how easy it is to add a cat to the family. The good news is that cats can get along with other cats and—despite the common stereotype—most dogs can get along with cats. The bad news is, introducing a new cat to a home with other pets will require some patience on your part.

The best way to handle adding a new cat to the home is to provide time for a period of adjustment for all involved. You can do this by isolating your new feline in a room of his own for a while—something that’s a good idea for any new cat. (see our ‘The Second Cat page for more information)

After several days, supervise interactions between the animals for periods of increasing length. Most cats will soon learn to accept each other, and some may quite possibly become the best of friends. Some dogs simply won’t tolerate the presence of a cat, but by carefully introducing them, most problems can be successfully managed.

Most Importantly –Be Responsible! 
Regardless of the cat you choose, you’ll want to start being a responsible pet guardian from the very beginning The easiest way to do that is to keep your cat indoors with you. If you don’t let your new friend outside, he’ll never miss it, and will have a much better chance of still being around to enjoy a long and healthy life with you and your family.

Since ALL RAIN animals are spayed or neutered you won’t have to worry about adding to the pet over population problem. It’ll also help him or her live a longer, healthier life.

Adopt a Cat for Life 
Finally, remember that you’re making a commitment to love and care for your new pet for his or her lifetime—which could mean 10, 15, even 20 years. So choose your new best friend carefully and be a responsible pet guardian. In no time at all, you’ll know how wonderful sharing your home with a cat can be.