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How to Choose the Perfect Cat Just for You

Youíve fallen in love with a tiny ball of fur at the animal shelter. The second she gazed at you with her huge, soft eyes and meowed quietly, you knew you had to bring her home. But, before you let your emotions get the better of you, stop and think about what adopting a cat really means.

People think of cats as low-maintenance pets, and itís true that they donít need as much supervision as some other animals. But, cats are intelligent pets who arenít nearly as emotionally detached from their owners as some people think.

Actually, they depend upon their owners to keep them company and keep their brains stimulated. Cats can get lonely and bored quite easily, and when they do, they can behave in inappropriate ways, such as by scratching furniture, and they can even suffer physical ailments as a result.

A cat is a commitment, and itís not a short-term one. Cats who are kept indoors live an average of 15 to 20 years, so if youíre not prepared to be a cat custodian for years to come, youíll want to rethink your decision.

If, after taking that into consideration, you still want a feline companion, you next need to decide if youíd like a kitten or an adult cat. Looking for a kitten? Think about getting two. Kittens are happier if they have someone to play with, and the extra pet wonít create twice as much work.

Instead, an extra kitten might calm things down Ė theyíll have each other to fight with, resulting in less attacks on your plants, pets and even your ankles. Kittens are tiny and cute, but they can also get into quite a bit of mischief, climbing on curtains, chewing electrical cords, and pouncing on just about everything that moves.

If there are small children or elderly people in your household, a kitten may not be the right choice for you. Kittens havenít learned yet to retract their claws, and they can easily scratch the fragile skin of the elderly. Small children may prove dangerous to the kittens Ė kids love holding and playing with kittens, but they may pet or squeeze too hard, causing injuries.

For families with small children, adult males are probably best, particularly a neutered male. They tend to be more tolerant of petting than females, and adult cats in general are more easygoing than kittens.

Homes with a cat already in residence are a whole different matter. The type of cat which will get along best depends, of course, upon the catsí individual personalities, but there are some general guidelines to take into account.

An older male cat is often a better substitute ďmommyĒ for a new kitten than a female because females in general donít get along as well with newcomers.

Male cats, though, also bond well with each other, unless both of them exhibit a dominant personality. But, adopting a new male cat isnít a good idea if you already have an adult female. Males can scare a female, particularly if the female was an only cat. In this instance, a younger female might be the best option.

No matter which combination you end up with, your home will be filled with the joys and trials of feline companionship for years to come.
 


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