The decision to own a pet should involve everyone in your household so that their needs, fears and concerns are considered. This will also allow you to determine how much time each person will be able to spend with your pet and the amount of responsibility that each person is willing to assume. Remember the promises of children may not always be fulfilled!
To be a responsible cat owner, you must first ask yourself whether a cat is suitable for you. Some cats can demand a high level of time from their owners and some can demand little time.
But all cats are a lifelong commitment. The lifespan of a cat can be up to 20 years!
Before you purchase your cat, you should also consider where your cat will go during the day and night. It is strongly recommended that your cat is contained on your property, and this can be done by installing either an outdoor run or enclosure, installing fencing barriers, keeping your cat indoors fulltime or implementing time curfews such as keeping your cat in at night. For more information on confining your cat visit this page.
Once you have decided that a cat is the right pet for you, the next step is choosing the right cat that suits your household and lifestyle.
Some questions you should ask yourself:
Kittens are playful, cute and full of energy, however, they can also require lots of supervision to keep them away from dangers in the home such as electrical cables, cupboards, behind furniture, on top of furniture and around breakables. They may also get under your feet! While most kittens are already trained to go to the toilet in a litter tray, you may have to do this training yourself. Regardless, while the kitten gets use to the location and using the litter tray, you may have to have several litter trays around the house during this training. If you have a young family, kittens and small children may not be a good mix as kittens are quite fragile and children can be rough and they tend to grab at the tail, ears or pull on the fur. Children should be supervised around ALL pets.
Adult cats are usually calmer, not quite as inquisitive, generally litter trained and provide more of an insight to their eventual natural character and their suitability to your lifestyle
All cats should be brushed regularly, however, long haired cats require more frequent brushing to prevent the hair matting. Brushing will remove the loose hair & stimulate the oils in the skin. Not all cats enjoy being brushed so it is recommended you start early in the cats life or introduce slowly and with positive reinforcement if you are getting an older cat.
Pedigree cats come with prior knowledge of what their general character or behaviour is going to be. You will also know if it will have a short, medium or long coat, if they are vocal, lazy, energetic, adapt to indoor or outdoor environment. Some people just prefer a pedigree cat. When choosing a pedigree kitten or cat, ensure you do your research and make enquiries with the relevant organisation for your state such as NSW Cat Fanciers Association.
For further information regarding choosing the right cat for you, you should also speak with The Cat Protection Society, a veterinarian, your friends and family. The Petcare and Information Advisory Service website includes a questionnaire, which can recommend a selection of cat breeds, including the 'moggy', to suit your requirements.
If you decide a cat is for you, please consider visiting an animal shelter such as the Sydney Dogs and Cats Home, Cat Protection Society, Animal Welfare League, RSPCA or a local rescue organisation such as Maggie's Rescue.
Animal shelters receive hundreds of surrendered cats each year. While some of these cats are rehomed, sadly there are not enough homes for the number of cats they receive and the unfortunate reality is that a large number of cats are euthanised.
Cats available at these animal shelters have usually undergone a health and temperament check, are desexed, microchipped and vaccinated, and – most of all – they deserve a second chance.
Never purchase a cat that looks unwell or is housed with cats that look unwell.
If you decide to purchase from a breeder, make sure they are a registered NSW Cat Fancier Association breeder. Registered NSW Cat Fancier Association breeders are bound by a code of ethics covering responsible cat ownership and breeder responsibilities. They are also required to vaccinate and microchip their kittens/cats before they go to a permanent new home.
The Petcare Information and Advisory Service have produced a guide called Pets in the City. This guide helps people decide whether they should have a pet, what the most suitable pet may be and how to enjoy life with a pet. It is for both potential pet owners and for those who already own a pet. Visit www.petsinthecity.net.au to access the guide.