Choosing your cat

Choosing your cat

    There are many options when choosing  a cat: kitten or adult, long-haired or short-haired, pure bred or moggie, male or female. Remember that the type of cat you desire may not suit your lifestyle, budget, family or environment.

    Kittens

    Factors to consider before choosing a kitten:
    Kittens can be cute and irresistible, but they also demand a lot of attention, are full of energy, and can be very mischievous.
    Kittens do not know the difference between their toys and your furniture or belongings; they will play with both.
    Kittens need regular exercise and playtime with their human family.
    Kittens need to be trained. This includes toilet training and appropriate play training.
    Young kittens can adapt more easily to children, busy households and other pets, but also require more protection to keep them safe.
    Kittens should be at least eight weeks old and fully weaned from their mothers before separation.

    Adult cats

    For some people an adult cat is a good option.
    Adult cats:
    do not require constant supervision and tend not to be as destructive on household items as kittens
    are often more predictable than kittens
    are just as likely to form a bond with you as a kitten.
    Adult cats may have existing behavioural or health problems. However, if your cat is acquired from a reputable shelter, rescue group or
    breeder, these should be fully disclosed and possible solutions offered.
    All cats should be desexed between three and six months of age, checked by a vet, vaccinated and regularly checked/treated for worms/fleas. Kittens should be lively and playful with bright, clear eyes and a soft, clean coat. Older kittens and adult cats may be less active but should be alert, well nourished and agreeable to being handled.
    Adopting a kitten or a cat from a local animal shelter is a responsible way to obtain a pet. Alternatively, if you would like a pedigree cat, a registered breeder can assist you. The SA Feline Association and the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy of SA can help you find a breeder.

    Desexing

    If you are not intending to become a breeder it is absolutely essential that you have your cat desexed.
    What is desexing?
    Desexing refers to the process of surgical sterilisation. It can also be known
    as spaying, castrating or neutering (depending on the gender of your cat).
    The desexing process involves the removal of the ovaries and uterus (in a female cat) or the testicles (in a male cat). Desexing is a quick and humane surgical procedure performed under general anaesthetic by a veterinarian. There is generally very little post- operative discomfort and your cat is usually ready to come home within
    24 hours of the surgery.
    When should my cat be desexed?
    It is strongly recommended that your cat be desexed before it reaches sexual maturity, which can be as early as four months of age. Traditionally, cats were desexed between six and nine months of age. However, by five months of age, female cats can become pregnant and males may begin to display aggression and spray urine.
    ‘Early-age desexing’, refers to the desexing of kittens between two to three months of age, and is endorsed  by  RSPCA  Australia. It is practised by most large Australian animal shelters and an increasing number of veterinarians. Many registered purebred cat breeders follow  this  practice  and desex kittens before they leave their care.
    Early-age desexing is also associated with positive behavioural changes and health benefits.
    Why should my cat be desexed? There are many reasons why your cat should be desexed:
    There is a serious overpopulation of cats in Australia. Cats are prolific breeders and every year South Australian shelters euthanase
    thousands of healthy kittens and cats because there are simply not enough homes for them.
    Male cats that are not desexed (known as ‘toms’ or ‘tomcats’)
    are more likely to exhibit territorial behaviour, including urine spraying, roaming, aggression, fighting
    and yowling.
    Female cats that are not desexed (known as ‘queens’) can ‘come into season’ every two weeks from spring to autumn and often yowl and roam as they search for a mating partner. Although less commonly than males, queens can also exhibit territorial urine spraying in a bid to attract a mating partner.
    Desexed cats (both male and female) make better companions. They are less likely to bother your neighbours with yowling and fighting, have a reduced risk of developing certain types of cancer, and tend
    to be happier staying at home than roaming the neighbourhood.

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