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How to Choose the Cat That's Right for You

Congratulations—you've decided to add a cat to the family! There are a lot of kitties out there, so here are some tips for avoiding a cat-astrophe by choosing the best feline friend for you.


  • Step 1: Consider the commitment You’ll be making a commitment to your cat that should last for his entire life, so set aside plenty of time to think about your choice.
  • Step 2: Consider your family Consider your family situation. Children under six years old don’t mix very well with kittens unless you can be constantly available to supervise, so an adult cat that’s been around kids will be a better choice.
  • Step 3: Consider your personality Be realistic about your own personality. Kittens are tons of fun—but they also take lots of time, training, and supervision. If you’re the kind of person who likes order and peacefulness, an adult cat might provide an easier adjustment.
  • Step 4: Assess your available time Make an assessment of the time you have available. Contrary to popular myth, cats love human company. If you have a long workday, you’ll want to choose a laid-back cat that won’t go nuts if he’s alone.
  • TIP: Consider getting two cats so they can keep each other company when you’re not around.
  • Step 5: Consider your other pets If you already have other pets, make sure you choose a cat that’s has been socialized with other animals.
  • Step 6: Do research Do some feline research to read about particular kinds of breeds and types of cats. You can find cat books at the library and cat magazines at most pet stores, and there are tons of cat websites online.
  • Step 7: Visit shelters, breeders and owners Visit cat shelters, cat breeders, and cat owners to investigate potential kitty housemates.
  • TIP: Although it’s often said that male cats are friendlier than females, there’s not much real difference between the sexes once they’ve been spade or neutered.
  • Step 8: Inspect cat's health Inspect a potential pet to see if he looks healthy. Beware of a cat that has cloudy or runny eyes, a runny nose, dark wax or a foul smell in the ears, mangy fur, fleas, or is sneezing, wheezing, or coughing.
  • Step 9: Ask advice Ask the breeder, owner, or the person working at the shelter about the cat. They should have spent time with him—and probably know a lot about cats in general—and can fill you in on his personality to make sure you’ll be a perfect match.
  • FACT: When a cat snores in your presence, or rolls over onto his back to greet you, it’s a signal that he trusts you.

You Will Need

  • Time and patience to consider your decision
  • Cat books
  • magazines
  • and websites for research
  • And animal shelters or cat breeders to visit

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