Tips On Selecting A Healthy Cat Or Kitten
Before bringing home a cat or kitten, you need to look out for certain things to ensure you have a healthy pet. The health of a pet is a very important criterion when deciding which cat or kitten to take home. When you choose a healthy cat, it will save you a lot of effort, money and time over time. Selecting a cat is not very different from selecting a kitten, but there are some differences which you have to take note of. The following information which includes non health tips will give you a good starting point when choosing your next pet.
Decide On A Breed
The breed of your cat is particularly important. Certain breeds have inherent medical issues and certain diseases tend to strike them more than the other breeds. Mixed breed tend to be healthier than purebreds. You have to do your homework and decide which breed to get.
Should you get a longhaired or shorthaired cat? Or what colors do you prefer to have. What about the personality and temperament? All these questions will help you have a better idea of what you want.
Kitten Or Mature Cat
Deciding on a kitten or adult cat can be a tough decision. Kittens are very adorable, full of curiosity and energy and very playful. It is not easy keeping them as they demand a lot of attention to keep them out of trouble.
Adult cats are less demanding, have personalities of their own and less mischievous. However, it can be challenging and tough to get them to change their bad habits, especially for those breeds with stubborn personality. What you see is usually what you get.
If you have kids at home, getting a kitten can be a bad choice as kids and kittens don’t really get together. Small children do not know the proper way to handle the kittens. This results in a lot of rough handling leading to injuries to the kittens. For those with kids at home, getting an older cat may be a better option.
Decide On The Sex
Getting a male or female is another factor you have to consider carefully. However, if you intend to neuter or spay your cat, then there is not much difference in terms of personality or temperament.
Buy Direct From Breeders
Not all breeders are the same. A good and experienced breeder will know how to breed healthy stock, so this is the best route to take. To play safe, ask around for recommendations. Your vet may be able to recommend a couple of good breeders to you. Also, check out reviews online.
Ask your breeder questions, even if they are referred to you. Do your homework and know as much about the breed that you are choosing as possible. Depending on your breed, the type of questions and how they answered you, you can have a good idea whether your breeder can be trusted.
Make sure the living conditions provide by your chosen breeder is clean and not messy. It should also be free of pungent animal odor. This will generally give you a good idea how healthy your cat or kitten.
Another point you should consider when getting a purebred is to buy from a private, small volume breeder. Most of the time, these breeders are not in for the money and they tend to provide better care to their litters. This in turn translates to a more robust stock and healthier kittens that need less medical issues.
You will also be able to meet the parents, giving you a good idea how your little kitten is going to turn out to be in the future. You will also be able to establish a relationship with your breeder who can then share his experiences in raising and showing that particular cat breed.
Do Not Buy From Pet Stores
Try not to go to pet stores for your pet. While this is not a fast and hard rule, buying from a pet store posed a number of problems. Many times you do not know who the breeder is, how experienced he is or the living conditions of the litter. You also don’t know how long the cat or kitten has been there. This may lead to issues down the road.
Adopt A Cat From A Shelter Or Humane Society
Adoption is an option you can consider. Many cats are abandoned by their owners, but it does not mean that they are not healthy. In fact, most of these cats have no medical issues at all. You can check notes left by the former owners that will give you clues to a cat’s personality and temperament. However, do note the information may not be accurate. It is best to talk to the staff and observe the chosen cat first.
If you are going to a shelter, try going as early as possible to get a feel of a cat’s real personality. After a long hard day, many cats will be too exhausted or irritable to display their true selves.
Buy Kittens At Least 3 to 4 Months Old
If you are getting a kitten, make sure you get one that is at least 3 to 4 months or older. That is when kittens are more socialized. Compared to puppies, kittens are much slower in integrating and socializing with others. Also, they will have most of their vaccinations by then.
You also need to ensure that the kitten you are bringing home is fully weaned and litter-trained. IT should be feeding on solid food by this time. The most ideal time for a kitten to leave its original environment is around 8 to 16 weeks. For many purebred breeds, they only release their kittens when they are at least 12 to 16 weeks old.
First Impressions Lasted
Sometimes, just like love, you can fall in love at first sight. If a particular cat or kitten leaves a big impression on you, you may just want to bring it home immediately. Many times, people say it is their cats that choose them not they choose their cats.
Depending on your requirements, there are many cat breeds to suit your lifestyle and personality. You can test each cat’s personality by playing with it with a feather or ribbon and notice how it reacts. Choose one that suits you and your family.
You can choose to observer your chosen kitten in its litter to observe how it interacts with its siblings. Kittens by nature are interactive and playful. If it is reserve and hides a lot, this may indicate that it is not well socialized and may have some issues adjusting to a new home with kids or other pets. Otherwise, if it is inquisitive. The kitten may prove to be a good addition to your home.
Before making the final decision, make sure you look out for the following:
- Must be alert with a curious or playful attitude.
- Good bone structure and muscle tone.
- Eyes must be clear with no discharge at the corners.
- Ears should be clean and free of dark, crusty wax.
- Check for signs of mite or other infections of the ears.
- Check for the signs of diarrhea at the anus.
- The coat must be free of fleas and clean. To check for fleas, rub your hand against the fur and look for fine specks of black dirt. This black dirt is actually known as flea dirt which is dried flea excrement. Look for fleas in problem areas such as behind the ears, on the back and at the tail base where the cat cannot reach to lick clean.
Check Its Medical Records
Check the medical records of the cat or kitten which you have selected. Also check the type of vaccinations it has taken so far. If it is not tested yet, you may want to send it for a medical check up to ensure it is free of any disease before you bring it home. Reputable breeders will not refuse your request. It is only the dodgy ones with things to hide that will reject your request. If it happens, go to another one instead. It is better to be safe than sorry later.
The tips above will give you a good idea on how to go about selecting a healthy cat or kitten. Make sure you do your part by reading up more information on your selected breed and become a responsible and knowledgeable owner. Bringing home a pet is easy, the hard part is in keeping your pet happy and healthy.
Photo by Paul Reynolds - CC BY 2.0