Thinking of getting a cat/Fuzz's guide for a life of servitude (part 2)

Welcome back to Fuzz’s ‘Guide to making sure you are ready for a life of servitude’.

I hope you’ve all had a good couple of weeks, I’ve mostly spent mine eating, sleeping and taking care of all sorts of important business. I’ve also started getting these new Fuzzball 100% chicken treats which are absolutely delicious, although this seems to be a tactic to get me to stop tearing up the carpets, I’ve figured I’ll play along for as long as they make it worth my while.

But that’s enough about me, let’s get back to the important matters at hand.

Should I get a male or female cat?

It doesn’t really matter if you get a male or female kitten as long as you neuter it (somewhere between 3-9 months of age). An un-neutered (entire) cat will exhibit unwanted reproductive behaviours, and are at higher risks of illness and injury. Un-neutered male cats tend to stray over large areas (risking road accidents), will mark their territory with a very strong and pungent smell and are more likely to fight with other cats (risking injury and viral infections). An un-neutered female cat will come into season every two weeks and can get pregnant from a very young age.  As unneutered female cats age, they are more likely to suffer from a range of illnesses and even cancers. It is a myth that cats should have a litter of kittens before being neutered and extremely important to make sure your cat is neutered by a professional at an appropriate age.

Should I pick a pedigree cat or a moggie?

A cat’s temperament (character) varies between individuals, but can be more predictable for pedigree cats, some of which have been specifically bred to be friendly pets. Over many generations the preferred characteristics become more consistent and become part of the breed’s identity, but breeding from small groups of animals can also cause problems. When choosing a pedigree cat, it is important to understand if any health conditions exist in your chosen breed, screening programmes and the care and attention that your chosen cat will require. The majority of cats kept as pets are moggies, this means that their parentage (usually the father) is unknown. This means you have no control over factors such as colour, hair length, body shape or any characteristic that is genetically inherited (which includes temperament). Moggies may have fewer health issues than a pedigree cat as they have been bred from a larger group of cats. Ultimately when making your decision, the most important thing to consider is what are you looking for in a new best friend and if you are able to provide them with the best life possible.

How do I pick a breed of cat?

If you do decide to choose a pedigree chum there are a number of things you should consider. There are many different breeds and all of them have different characteristics, both in appearance and with regards to their personalities. Some cats have long hair, some have short, some need a lot of attention, and some don’t need much at all. Some cats can be left alone for a night and others will need someone to sleepover, some will be friendly and others more independent. So, to conclude, when choosing a cat, you should take into account all of its physical and personal characteristics and make sure that you are the right owner for your new fuzzballer.

sneezing man holding his hand up

I suffer from allergies – are there any breeds that are better for me?

People commonly believe that it is a cat’s hair that causes allergic reactions. This, however, is not the case. An allergy to cats is caused by a protein called Fd1 that is found in a cat’s saliva, because cats groom themselves very regularly this saliva is present all over their coats. When the cat moves around or rubs against something, the hairs that carry the allergen are spread. People who are allergic to cats often think that by choosing a cat with less hair they can avoid a reaction, this is not true as the allergen is in the saliva. Less hair may mean less grooming which could reduce the amount of allergen that gets spread around the house.

If you do suffer from an allergic reaction to cats, think carefully before owning one and discuss with your doctor. There is now also a diet available that can be fed to cats which reduces some people’s reactions to the saliva.

Personally, I find that you’re more likely to be allergic to a human than they are to you and let’s not even start talking about who sheds the most hair around here.