Wanna kitty! (seeking advice, cat-wise)

My girlfriend and I are considering purchasing a feline of some sort. No tigers, naturally, but a housecat. Any advice, websites, suggested reading, etc. would be most welcome. Some information:

  1. I want a short-haired kitty

  2. Some energy is fine, no complete spazzes

  3. A fairly good-tempered breed

  4. It’ll have to be an indoor cat, though we’d certainly take it outside and let it go onto the balcony.

This was inspired by all those Cat threads all over the place, though I’ve wanted a kitty for quite a while.

Well, if possible, adopt the cat from a shelter. Take in a cat that really needs a home.

When one of my beloved kitties was suddenly taken from me a few years back, I went to the animal pound. I was a basket case; crying and blubbering but I knew I was doing the right thing. I wanted to save a kitty’s life. I found a cute little orange kitty that was one day away from being put to sleep. He had the fattest, cutest face. I asked to hold him. When he was held, he went from a completely depressed (almost grumpy-looking) kitty to a happy kitty. He must have known he was doomed and the attention I gave him made him hopeful. Of course, I had to adopt him!

His name is Tangie. He is still adorable. He does “hump”, though (humps blankets, your leg, etc.). Not so much anymore, and besides, it’s so bizarre it’s amusing. He’s a good kitty. And most importantly of all, he still looks up at all of us with the most grateful look of adoration. Like he knows how close he was to death when we adopted him.

Yeah, yeah, that was corny and maudlin, wasn’t it? But I hope I made my case to you—get a cat from a shelter!

Well, having had dogs most of my life, I know the rule is…pet stores are good for looking, but buy elsewhere. The best dogs I had were shelter dogs, almost like they had something to live for. So I’d apply that to cats as well.

Do start from a kitty. Listen to the soundtrack of Cats.

Where I live the spayed and neuter program has really worked :slight_smile: The Price is Right comes in real good. There’s a waiting list for kitties. Older cats are fine, too, don’t get me wrong. For the first kitty in the household I suggest a kitty who you grow up with :slight_smile: Put the word out that you want a kitty. Check the papers, bulletin boards, eBay, your local radio station. Theres always some that slip through.

A short-haired kitty sheds as much as their counterparts IMHP. You still have to hoover. Cats like to play. Not like puppies. Keeping them indoors is ok as long as you don’t declaw them. Don’t deprive them of their instincts. IMHO

Your cat will love a place that they can call their own. Cats hate change, yet bored quickly. You’ll will love them to death.

Gotcha. I actually found a couple very cool sites where I can browse the metro area shelters for kitties (and puppies!) that need a home and am currently doing that at 3 in the durn am.

I got a kitten from a project that has vet students takes care of orphaned kitties for school credit. Since they are orphans, they are hand fed from a few days old and get constant human attention. Because of this, my cat is the most affectionate thing ever to walk this Earth. At night he sleeps in my arms, like a doll. If you have a program like this around you, I reccomend it.

Go to the shelter and see which kitten (or cat- don’t reject totally the possibility of adopting an adult) seems to have a personality that will go well with yours. Try to have an idea if you’re looking for a cuddly lap-sitter, or an energetic frolicker, or a fierce mouser. Spend some time with a few cats at the shelter. See how they react to being picked up, held, and played with. Bring a small toy along to see how they react to stimuli.

I’m going to second the not going to the pet store. They’re both expensive and sometimes not as well socialized, from spending their kittenhood in those glass boxes. You’ll get a nicer moggy from the shelter, or if you really want a purebred, directly from a good breeder.

Let me add some things, based on my reading and what I’ve found out here…

I’m leaning more towards a more-grown cat, to avoid some of the kitten problems, get a better idea of their personality, and because so darn many of em need a home. Probably 1-2 years, roughly guessing, etc.

I also have some time. I want to do some research (this is part of it!), figure out what would work for the apartment/our free time and abilities/the space we have available/etc.

We don’t have much of a rodent problem. I’ve never actually seen one. Though a cat that could take the squirrel that tried to come through our wall would be nice.

I’d probably go through a rescue/shelter type organization, just because they seem to do pretty good screening and tend to take care of the shots, spaying/neutering/testing, and so forth.

One of the turnoffs is potential health costs. I’d feel awful getting a kitty, then Potential Kitty (hereafter referred to as PK) gets very sick and requires thousands of dollars (which I don’t have) worth of medicine and surgery. I have seen pet health insurance, though, and wondered whether anyone has experience with that.

Over to you, Dopers.

I will put in another vote for the shelter. I have 3 shelter kitties a shelter doggie and am on my 3rd shelter hamster. (poor hamsters… not long term pets!)

ALL kittens are complete spazzes but eventually they calm down and you get something in the range of spaz to lump. If you want to know your cat’s adult temperament get an adult cat.

The best kind of cat is an indoor cat. Being an outdoor cat drops their life expectancy from about 19 years to about 6 years.

Once you get kitty home please be careful on that balcony. I doubt it is completely enclosed and kitties can spook (especially in unfamiliar territory) and go off the balcony. Unless you’re spider man it will be tough to catch the kitty right away and she could get injured or lost or both. (When we were in our apartment with balcony both cats completely freaked whenever they got out there and we didn’t repeat the experiment many times before accepting they’d rather just watch from the window.)

Good luck in your quest for the perfect kitty!

Good to see you’re really doing your homework :slight_smile: You and the kitty will appreciate it.

Pet health insurance (with the volume of pets we have) is expensive. We’ve only had one expensive illness ($900) in the last 7 years. Our kitty is better now and the vet let us pay on the installment plan.

Find a good vet with a kind staff, decent price scheme, reasonably convenient hours/location, affiliation with some kind of 24 hour emergency center, and that allows payment plans.

What do you guys think of PetSmart? They have vets and, from what I read, they showcase pets from local shelters in store. But I’m curious to hear opinions.

My sis-in-law volunteers for our local petsmart’s adopt a cat center. They work in conjunction with the merrimack river feline rescue society home. If there is a petsmart near you see what shelter they are affiliated with and check them out. The adoption process is similar to the mspca one (at least in this instance) and the fees are a bit less. They have great cats too and you’re still adopting from a shelter and not supporting a kitty farm!

You guys rock. I hope you all know that. :smiley:

I’ll hafta post pictures when I get a kitty. We may venture down to the PetSmart today and have a look around.

You asked how you could ensure your future cat has a certain personality?

I wanted a kitty that would be satisfied living indoors and alone. I read someplace that some races of pedigree cats would ensure a happy, content character.
So I started to do some serious reading, I went to kittyshows, asked breeders etc.

I found out that only two kinds of pedigree cats come with a certain personality. Everyone agrees Siamese cats are loud, active, extreme in everything, “crazy”, they ask & give a great deal of attention. Persian cats are rather quiet, happy just to sit on the sill. Some people call them even a bit sluggish.
All other claims to a certain cat-character that is supposed to go with a certain breed is pure bogus. Pedigree cats are bred for looks, the character is accidental.

So the bad news is you won’t know what type of personality your cat will have. Unless you get an adult cat from the shelter and ask about its personality.
The good news, though, is that every cat will turn out to be the best cat ever, if you just open up to his charms. And you will!

Good reading online about cat & character: here

Not control so much…

But I’m going for a little older cat anyway, just so a bit more of its personality is formed, rather than rolling the dice on the kitten.

Maastricht what about Ragdoll cats? Everything I’ve heard about them indicates they’e specifically bred to act like… well… rag dolls. They sounds wonderful.

[kitty boast] We got our cat from Mr. Lissar’s brother when it was almost full-grown. He’s so docile and trusting that we can carry him head-downwards and he just purrs. [/kitty boast]

Just my opinion: please don’t get a Ragdoll! For one, they are very expensive - anywhere from $500 to $1,500+. And when there are so so many beautiful, loving, sweet adult cats in shelters, just waiting for the perfect person to love them, it seems a shame to get a purebred. Ragdolls are beautiful and have beautiful temperments . . . I just don’t believe in buying purebreds. Just my opinion!

And thank you GMRyujin for considering an adult. Kittens are wonderful but adult cats are the ones who have a hard time getting adopted.

-signed, missbunny, cat-shelter worker

P.S. I don’t suppose you are in eastern MA? If so, I can tell you a few good shelters to visit, where they truly care where their animals end up and don’t adopt to just anyone who walks in.

That’s the best kind of shelter missbunny. :slight_smile:

Which shelter do you work in? (I’m in northeastern MA and am looking for a new shelter to call home since we moved too far from our old one that I volunteered at)

I am at the Ellen Gifford Sheltering Home, but it’s probably too far for you - it’s in Brighton, right near Boston College.

Have you looked into the Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society? They have a great spay/neuter program - they do clinics all over the state, also in NH I think - and they always need volunteers to help out at those. It’s particularly good for people who can’t commit to a specific time each week - if you are able to volunteer at a clinic, great, and if you can’t do the next one, that’s okay too. They always need people to set up the cages, carry cats back and forth from surgery, etc. And when you see the number of people who spend so much of their own time and money trapping ferals, getting them neutered, keeping them to recuperate, and then managing the colony, sometimes for years and years . . . well, it’s humbling. And sad . . . for all the cats they trap, there are hundreds of thousands of homeless ones still out there. :frowning:

Spay/neuter your pets! It’s the BEST possible thing you can do for them.

My sister in law volunteers at that shelter through petsmart. I used to volunteer at the MSPCA in Brockton. My specialty was keeping their bake sales successful :slight_smile: I’m still learning the area so I’m not sure how to get too far away but I need to expand my horizons!

What I didn’t realize until I started volunteering is in peak summer months when the shelters get overloaded with cats/kittens exactly how many are euthanized, it broke my heart. They end up euthanizing kittens as well as older cats. Spay and Neuter can’t be said often enough! Another reason I favor shelter adoptions is they often spay/neuter the animal before it even leaves the shelter.