How to choose a cat


Consider the following questions:

  • Am I looking for a cuddly cat or an independent feline?
  • How much time do I have in my daily schedule to spend with my
  • Will my cat need to be compatible with children?
  • Do I need a cat that can get along with other pets?
  • How much time and patience do I have for training?
  • What are my expectations or limits for financial and veterinary care?

Choose a Personality
When looking for a feline companion, you should focus on personality and behavior. It is tempting to choose the youngest kitten or the one with the most striking coat, but the initial cuteness may wear off quickly if you and your new friend are not matched well. Do you want a cat to follow you around, sit in your lap, and need a lot of attention? Or, do you want a cat that is independent and can keep busy or remain content without your constant affection?

11045454_10152785840331491_7097258859938883587_nDo You Have Children or Other Pets?
If the human members of your family are young, say under 12, try to avoid cats that are skittish or easily startled by noises and activity. Though kittens are cute and playful, they are not always good matches for households with young children (say under 7). Kittens are fragile physically and need very consistent and gentle handling. Bringing together young animals and kids can be problematic, as kittens exhibit playful nipping and scratching, which can injure or frighten children. And children can inadvertently be too rough with young animals. Adopting a mature pet who interacts well with kids can be the best option.

If you have a dog, you should choose a cat that is confident and has experience with dogs. Avoid cats that are timid, disabled, or declawed. Make sure you have the time and space to introduce the two gradually. You should also be willing to make practical changes to your environment as needed, such as blocking your dog’s access to the litter box, and installing safety gates. If you already have a cat, it is best to match temperament and age group. It is important to realize that no matter who you decide upon, it will take time and space to separate the cats, in order to make gradual introductions. Cats are territorial animals, and often take weeks or months to adjust to another cat in their space.

Are you home a lot, or gone all day? If you are gone all day, a young kitten or a needy cat is not the best match. Behavior problems (such as biting, scratching, and destructive behavior) are common if cats are under-stimulated. Kittens need someone who has enough time each day to spend with them during their important developmental months. A more independent temperament may suit your lifestyle better. You could also think about getting two cats instead of one, so they can provide stimulation and company for each other. An excellent option is to adopt cats that have come into the shelter as a pair, and have a history of getting along well. If you often have company over, you would do well choosing an outgoing cat who will enjoy the extra attention. A shy cat would be overwhelmed by lots of social gatherings, and would likely hide. Young cats require more supervision, training, and visits to the veterinarian. If you have a busy schedule, are an inexperienced pet owner, or have young children, you should consider adopting an adult cat.

Meet with the Sullivan SPCA Staff
The Sullivan SPCA staff can help match you with the right cat. We welcome a shelter visit to discuss the adoption process prior to choosing a cat. We want your adoption to be a success and provide you with a wonderful companion for years to come!