Getting a cat

Okay, I am going to get a cat finally! Haven’t had one for a long time. I am asking for advice, is the pound the best? Theres a petsmart around here that sells cats also. I won’t get a kitten, because they are too active, but would like advice; are long hairs difficult to keep tangle free? I’ve always ahd shorties.
Male or female? My favorite cat was a female.
Also, best brands of food and litter?
I always wear black pants so I know I am going to go and fall in love with a white cat. :wink:

Go to the shelter, look at all the cats, and ask to handle the first one that totally steals your heart. If it’s a nice cat while being handled, apply to adopt it. If not, find another one that totally steals your heart. I wouldn’t go in with fixed ideas about age or breed or coat or gender. My poor hard-lucky kitty was a one-eyed adult when I adopted her, not at all what I thought I was looking for, and she’s been a complete doll of a cat.

The shelter sent me home with a bag of Science Diet cat food, but I decided Pudding was going to eat regular Purina cat chow. I started by mixing the two kinds of food together… and she picked out all the Purina, leaving the Science Diet behind, hee hee. So I’ve always given her Purina.

I don’t know that brand of litter matters so much as type… the clumping kind is awesome for keeping the box clean, but it does get tracked all over the house. The regular clay-chip kind has to be replaced more often, but the pieces are too big to get tracked around. Your choice.

Cat beds and cat toys have been a waste of money, for us. Pudding wants to sleep on our blankets and chairs, and play with our stuff.

The Petsmart near me does not actually sell cats themselves, but they provide resources for an animal rescue group to provide cats for adoption. There is generally a fee, and a screening process. This is a good place to start, since you will already have a full history. If your Petsmart is the same as ours, you are told why the cat is leaving its prior owner, its immunization and disease history, its personality, etc.

I’ve never gotten an animal directly from the pound, but we have rescued abandoned kittens twice. It is a crap shoot. The first one was covered in fleas, had a respiratory illness and an eye infection. For what we spent getting him healthy we could have bought a purebred Siamese. The second was mostly O.K, but has a herpes infection in her eye that we treat with lysine daily.

We currently have a long-haired domestic rescue cat obtained as a kitten from a rescue agency, and we don’t do any particular amount of grooming. Her fur is very silky, though, and doesn’t seem to mat at all.

If you’re getting an adult cat you should be able to ask about the particulars from whoever has her/him now.

Is the PetSmart selling the cats, or are they providing a space for a local shelter?

PetSmart does not sell cats. The cats that are in the stores are up for adoption through a rescue agency. Each store usually partners with a different agency, so their requirements will vary.

Longer hair usually requires more grooming like daily brushings to keep mats away. I prefer short hair for that reason, although once summer comes, one of my short hairs is truly a shedding machine and she needs to be brushed daily just to keep up with all the fur. The other short hair does not seem to shed all that much.

I use Natural Balance Duck and Pea for my cats. One has digestive issues, so this is the only stuff we have tried that does not make her gassy and have loose stools. For the most part, if you can buy it at the grocery store, it is probably not a high quality food. Look for food that has meat (not meat by-product) as a first ingredient. Cats don’t need a lot of grains, so I would also avoid a food with a lot of grains. You get what you pay for, IMHO.

As for litter, you need to start with whatever the cat is currently using and go from there. I like crystal litter, but it took a while to make the switch from clumping to crystal.

Sex: as long as they are fixed, who cares? In my experience, males are more affectionate, but I think it depends more on the individual personality of the cat.

If you have a Kroger supermarket, (their brand?), Pet Pride, of clumping litter is awesome- kills smells and instantly clumps over any products.

Also I like Fresh Step, you can sign up for their Paw Points program, enter the points from the package and get all kinds of kitty stuff.

You’ll know about the right cat for you. It’s magic.

My experience has been that boy cats are sweeter, and that long hairs are a PIA. Although I’m sure the no grain foods are better, they are also way more expensive. Yes, they probably need to eat less and it probably makes poo smaller and firmer, but it’s not some horrible abuse to not fed that. Allocation of your money is your business, but if money is tight such that you can’t afford good food then you probably don’t need a cat since you have to be able to pay for vet care. Not implying you can’t, just trying to address future posts.

FTR I retired the no grain feed. One cat refused to eat it and the other got farty even with gradual change. For litter the refillable PetCo clay works great. Initial price was higher than comparable with others, but cutting plastic waste and refill price were bonuses.

All the cats I’ve ever had have loved Science Diet kitty kibble. Even as part of an abrupt diet change.

My cat picked me and I think that it always the right way to go.

I didn’t want a cat and was looking at the kittens up for adoption in a local pet store in a ‘aww, aren’t they cute’ way when this little grey hairball looked at me and started meowing. I walked away. I went back. I didn’t want a boy cat so I checked the gender (rats, it was a girl). I walked away. I went back. Fine, I will hold it. It will hate me or bite me or scratch me then I can keep walking away. Little creep looked at me, started purring (loudest purr I had ever heard) and went right to sleep in my hands. I still walked away. I even drove away (an hour’s drive to home). I went back the next day and adopted her. She has been following me around with her little meow and snuggling up to me to sleep ever since. She likes no one else.

I think an older adult cat would be nice. They don’t get picked too often and the shelter can tell you the personality of the cat.

Some cats like attention, and others are happy to be petted once per day and be left alone after that.

I think a pet that demands too much attention at first can be as bad as a standoffish one.

I have heard long hairs have issues with keeping their own fur clean, if not taught properly by their mum.

The real question is how much time do you want to devote to the cat? Do you want a lap cat? If you’re really busy and just want a cat to keep you company but not bug you constantly to be on your lap this can make a huge difference.

How much space do you have? Is this an indoor or outdoor or indoor/outdoor cat?

I like a cat that is not too needy and will be happy with a cuddle or two a day and then we can leave each other alone and just enjoy each other’s company.

I got my female at Petsmart. They are most certainly not selling them. I adopted her from a local Feline Rescue place, and they only use Petsmart’s floor space. Petsmart benefits from all the crap you buy afterwards. These cats only “cost” $50 or whatever, same or similar to the Human Society and SPCA. The majority are your standard Domestic Shorthair/Longhairs, i.e. mutts.

Markxxx, that was a very, very well-written post. You said everything I was going to say but better. OP, his thinking points are very good. Also, for the record, I’ve had two Maine Coons and neither one had much issue with mats - a good brushing a couple of times a week was plenty* - although if they get diarrhea or have other plumbing issues you’ll have to help them get cleaned up. (That usually means a bath, or at least a half-bath where you wet them just from hips to tail.) But Persians, for example, have the type of coat that has to be brushed frequently or it will tangle. So the long-hair/short-hair maintenance thing definitely varies from individual cat to cat.

  • except during the early spring shedding of their substantial winter coats - that’s a whole different thing then!

Pound and petsmart are good ways to let cats look you over. We have had good luck with strays off the street, but you don’t save any money, you have to spend at the vets

I thought so. It’s not common that a pet store would “sell” adult cats.

We have both male and female cats. There’s nothing inherently better about either one that I can see. However, one issue is that if you get a male cat and he wasn’t fixed when he was young, he might end up spraying around your house to mark his territory. This is more likely to happen if you have other cats (which the OP apparently doesn’t have) or if you have an indoor/outdoor cat and he goes outside and encounters other male cats in the area.

Is someone at home during the day? If not then you might want to get 2 cats so they each have some company during the day. A friend of mine has one cat and he works all day, and the cat wants to play all night with him when he gets home since it has been lonely (and probably sleeping) all day without him there.

Our vet (and a lot of things I have read) say that dry cat food is bad, mostly because it can make your cats fat. Our cats love it though, so we give them a small amount of dry food in with their wet food when we feed them. We also feed them 3 times a day on a regular schedule instead of just leaving dry food out in a feeder. A feeder is another good way to make your cat get fat. We give our cats Friskies canned cat food. I don’t know if it is any better or worse than other canned brands though.

We use Fresh Step litter, but again other brands may work just as well for you.

Friendly is always best. We have a rather ugly male but he was a sweetie pie at the shelter so came home with us. He actually walked up to my then nine month old daughter’s carriage, settled in her lap and started to purr. They’re still madly in love with each other seven years later.

FYI, I presently have a Maine Coon as well. We either give her a bath once a month or she looks awful. She will only take brushing in limited doses. I think if you’re going to have a long hair you should find one that tolerates brushing and baths. A kitten is ideal but an older cat can be taught to take a bath if you introduce the concept with kitty treats and tepid water.

That is such a sweet story!

Both of my cats were adopted at PetSmart too.

Ruby’s story: I lived with my dad to take care of him and he hated cats. He was dying from COPD no matter how hard I tried to get him to quit smoking. He always said his dying breath would have a puff of smoke coming from it. I always told him when he died I was getting a cat.

He died sitting at the foot of his bed, smoking a cigarette. I decided since he held to his part of the bargain, I would hold to mine. On the day he died, I went to PetSmart to find a kitten. None of the kittens ‘spoke’ to me, but there was an 18 month old female long haired tabby named Ruby who came right to me. I got her out and she snuggled in, purring. I took her out to the dogs they had for adoption to see her reaction, and she was like… meh. So Ruby came home.

She is the sweetest kitty ever, loved the dogs and loved to snuggle.

Several months later I was back in PetSmart to buy puppy food. No plans to get another cat. I made the mistake of ‘just looking’. In the same cage Ruby had been in was a scrappy looking yellow long haired tom. There was a sheet of paper hanging on his cage, telling his story. They called him Char because he had been rescued by a fireman from an abandoned house that burned. He was burned over half of his body, and the tips of his ears burned off. He was taken to animal control, who’s practice with injured strays is to not give medical care because of the cost, they hold them 5 days and if not claimed, euthanize.

The rescue organization PAWS came in on the day he was to be euthed. His burns were infected and he was too weak to stand. She said they do not normally take the badly hurt either, it’s too cost prohibative. But she reached in to pet him, feeling so sorry for him, and he raised his head and licked her hand. She said she couldn’t leave there without him and PAWS took him. 3 months later he was up for adoption, but no one wanted him because of the scarring on his body.

As I read this, I had my fingers hooked in the cage bars, and was bawling like a baby. ‘Char’ came over and started licking my fingers. I was a goner and Char-renamed Charlie- came home with me.

Like Ruby, he is a love sponge. He follows me like one of the dogs, cuddles close to sleep, and has a purr that never stops.

Follow your heart when choosing a kitty. Never doubt that taking in an adult cat will give you years of happiness.

I hope you find as much love as I did.

You sure you don’t want a kitten? I can get you one wholesale!

Dang it, PapSett…you made me cry.