How to select the ‘purr-fect’ cat

By Vera Lawlor for (201) Family    
Every cat has its own personality. Be sure to learn which cat best fits your family and lifestyle before taking one home.
Every cat has its own personality. Be sure to learn which cat best fits your family and lifestyle before taking one home.

Kristen Plumley and Jeff Summerville knew exactly what they were looking for when they set out to adopt two cats. The Ridgewood couple wanted cat siblings younger than a year old who would get along with their 6-year-old twins, Annie and Henry. The ideal candidates would be playful and energetic but also happy to curl up and snooze on a welcoming lap.

Collin and Carly, 8-month-old domestic shorthairs available for adoption through Save the Animals Rescue Team II (START II) in Englewood, turned out to be the perfect match. "We were so used to geriatric cats, so it was fun to see how flexible and agile these kittens were," Plumley says.

Choosing the right cat for the family is important because caring for a cat is a commitment that can last up to 20 years.

When matching cats with families, Chris Zabielski, an adoption counselor with START II, begins by asking the family what they are looking for. Do they want a younger or older cat? Will the cat be around children, dogs or other cats? She also suggests that family members spend time around a friend's or neighbor's cat to see if they enjoy the experience or if they have any allergic reactions.

"If there are children under 6 in the home – unless they are really well behaved – we recommend that those families get kittens that are a little older and more self assured," Zabielski says. Young kittens, she adds, are typically scared of children and will hide, afraid of the noise and quick movements.


Choosing the Right Cat

Here are tips from the Humane Society of the United States:

Kitten or cat: Kittens are adorable, curious, playful and full of energy. They can also be exasperating and demand a lot of supervision. Adult cats are usually calmer, less bouncy and less mischievous. With an adult, what you see is usually what you get.

Family matters: When choosing a cat, keep your family in mind. Kittens and very young children usually don't mix well. If you do choose a kitten, always supervise any interaction between your cat and your child. If you are adopting from a shelter, staff members often know which cats have personalities suitable for children.

Temperament: No two cats are exactly alike, whether they're from the same breed or the same litter. Temperament can vary widely by breed, too. Persians, for example, are typically laid back and sedentary, while Bengals and other "exotic" breeds tend to be extremely active. Siamese have the reputation of being talkative.

Short fur or long: Long-haired cats require frequent grooming to prevent matting. Short-haired cats don't require as much brushing, but it helps to remove loose fur, stimulate the skin and distribute oils through the coat.



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