|The New Kitten|
Choosing your cat:The choice of a cat for your family is relatively simple. It is basically one of pedigree or non-pedigree, shorthaired or longhaired and male or female. But as there are over 50 varieties of pedigree cats there is plenty of room for decision making on your part. If you are attracted to the longhaired breeds you must appreciate that they involve frequent grooming, especially during moulting, in order to avoid knots and matting of the coat.
All cats need regular supplies of food and drink and if you live in a flat or in a situation where the cat cannot gain access to the outside world, you may have to cope with the effects of feeding and watering as well, by servicing the litter tray.
Where to obtain your cat:
The less contact a kitten has with other cats outside the family, the better. It is sensible, therefore, to avoid some pet shops, where frequent arrivals of litters from various sources may encourage the spread of disease and distribution of potentially sick kittens. The ideal, therefore, is to obtain your kitten direct from the breeder or from a private home.
If you are looking for a moggy rather than an aristocat, local branches of the welfare societies such as the RSPCA and CP (Cats Protection), as well as your local Veterinary Surgeon, are often in a position to tell you where there are kittens and adult cats needing a good home. It is well worth calling at the surgery to enquire. Mixed breeds make excellent pets, and if from a Shelter, you'll have the joy of saving a cats life.
Male or female?
Unless you want a cat for breeding, there is little to choose between the male and female. Both can be loving and gentle creatures - or either can exhibit the temperament of a tiger - it depends on their nature and, possibly, their treatment during rearing. In either case, it may be best to have them neutered. However, if you particularly want a tortoiseshell cat, you will almost certainly have to opt for a female, as male tortoiseshells are extremely rare.
What to look for:
When selecting a cat, be it kitten or adult; look for a friendly, fearless, outgoing animal with clean, bright eyes and a healthy coat. Turn down cats with a discharge from eyes or nose, signs of Diarrhoea or those that lack vitality.
Diarrhoea: Excessive and frequent evacuation of watery faeces.
If you are buying a pedigree cat for breeding purposes, it is advisable to buy from a breeder who has the cattery regularly blood tested for Feline Leukaemia.
Leukaemia: Any of a group of usually fatal diseases of the Reticuloendothelial System, involving uncontrolled proliferation of Leucocytes, which suppress the production of normal blood cells.
Reticuloendothelial System: The widely diffused bodily system comprising all Phagocytic cells except the Leucocytes.
Leucocytes: Any of the white or colourless nucleated cells occurring in the blood. Also called white blood cells.
Phagocyte: A cell such as a Leucocyte that engulfs and digests cells, microorganisms, or other foreign bodies in the bloodstream and tissues.