What Cat?

Pedigree Cats

It is said that pedigree cats are more affectionate and friendlier than non-pedigrees, but there are millions of owners of crossbreeds who would beg to differ! What is true is that a particularly docile or couch potato cat is likely to be a pedigree, as they have been selectively bred for desirable traits (although not always – sometimes good looks were the aim, not user-friendliness!)

The downside to pedigree cats is cost. But once you’ve made the outlay, that cat isn’t going to cost you more in food and vet bills than a free kitten or adopted crossbreed cat.

Sphinx breed
The Sphinx breed is hairless - great for allergy sufferers

Crossbreed Cats

These come in such a wide variety of colours and coat patterns that it is impossible to tell, from the litter’s parents, how the kittens will turn out. Single colour, blotches of ginger, tabby stripes, tortoiseshell – unless they’re completely black or white, each one is pretty much unique.

Crossbreeds tend to be healthier, more long-lived, and – dare we say it – more intelligent than their pedigree cousins. Some will be unlucky, of course, while many some purebreds will be healthy throughout their lives; but on average the risk of disease is reduced in non-pedigree cats.

crossbreed kittens
Crossbreed cats - each one unique and wonderful

Crossbreeds tend to settle into an outdoor life better than pedigree cats. It’s something to do with being more intelligent, a bit stronger, and more in touch with the ancestral feline instincts than some pedigree cats. What we’re talking about here is independence. A crossbreed will, generally speaking, be happy to hunt and play outside for much of the day.

This independence and wide gene pool makes it hard to predict how a crossbreed will turn out. Kittens from the same litter may have completely different temperaments.

Should I Get A Kitten?

Kittens are cute, but they also require a lot of your time and a certain amount of training. The transition from kitten to cat takes about six months, and even after that she will still be more vulnerable than a streetwise older cat. If you have the time to look after her, clean up after her, and keep her away from danger (other cats, dogs, well-meaning but clumsy children, various other indoor and outdoor hazards), there’s certainly no cuter animal on the planet. But if you need a pet that’s a bit more independent from the beginning, it’s best to go for an older cat.

Should I Get An Older Cat?

The great thing about an older cat is that it's already house-trained and pretty self-sufficient. Adopting a cat that has been orphaned is a great thing to do, giving the animal a new home and new lease of life. Cat rescue centres are always full, so you're never going to be short of choice.

Most rescue cats will be cross-breeds, but you never know what’s going to turn up. If you’re considering keeping an adult cat, checking out the local rescue centre should be your first move. Remember that cats live well into their teens, even into their 20s, so you’ll usually have many happy years ahead with your new pet.

Taking in a cat in need will also free up space in the rescue home, so everyone wins!

Should I Get Two Cats?

Cat couple
Cats are loners... but not all the time!

They may love you, but cats don’t necessarily need the love of another cat. By instinct they are loners. But there are still advantages in having two around, and the key thing is to get them used to each other, sharing a space while maintaining their own independence. See the Should I Get Two Cats part of the Choosing a Cat section of this guide for more information.

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