Since cats are predatory animals that hunt alone, it was once believed they preferred to live alone. However, cats left to their own devices do share territory and build long lasting relationships with others, including other cats. When cats are kept as pets, they become attached to their human friends and can be taught to come to a call or wear a leash. Cats in the wild are efficient hunters, which means they are accustomed to spending much of the day relaxing, usually in a sunny, elevated spot. This suits them for life with companions that will be at work all day. Additionally, cats are particular about their elimination habits. This makes it easy to teach them to use a litter box. Very nice qualities in a pet.
Cats can live 12 to 20 years of age if they eat a balanced cat food and are protected from cars, animals and unfriendly neighbors. As predators, cats have specific dietary needs, so they can't be vegetarians. They develop heart and urinary tract problems if they do not eat a balanced diet. If your landlord and family members approve of getting a cat and you know how much it will cost to care for a cat, you are on your way to providing a perfect home for a feline companion.
Should You Get a Kitten?
FCAC admits over 1,000 kittens every year.
If you can spend time entertaining and protecting a growing kitten, you may enjoy watching your kitten grow into an adult. You should keep young kittens in 1 room with a litter pan and scratching post for several days to help establish proper litter box behavior and keep them from getting hurt on household items. If you allow them to run all over the place, they could easily become lost or they could learn to sleep on the stove whenever you are not home!
What About a Purebred?
If you are allergic to some cats you may need to get a breed you know will not aggravate your condition. A purebred cat usually has a birth certificate called his "papers". These papers certify the owner of the kitten's mother knew who the kitten's father was and that is all. Papers don't guarantee your cat will be pretty, friendly or even healthy.
Cats should have a physical examination by a veterinarian when you first bring them home. Annual checkups allow your vet to keep statistics on your cat to better help your cat when he is sick or injured. Early detection and prevention of problems are also likely with regular veterinary care.
Your vet will probably recommend neutering your cat. Neutering reduces behavior problems common in intact cats such as fighting or marking territory. In a time of readily available pet cats, neutering your cat is a responsible decision. All pet cats adopted from FCAC are spayed or neutered before adoption. We also vaccinate and microchip.
Have more questions, please visit ASPCA's Pet Behaviorist