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How Much Does it Cost to Own a Cat?
Compared to the cost of other pets, cat ownership can be relatively low. They are generally less expensive than dogs and considerably less expensive than owning a horse. (Like a Lear jet, if you have to ask how much it costs to own a horse, you probably can't afford one.) Please note that in 2009 there is no such thing as a "free kitten" anymore for responsible pet owners. Knowing about the cost ranges in advance can help make the transition to being a proud cat person much easier.
The initial expense for cat ownership depends on whether you are adopting or purchasing a purebred cat. Obviously the latter is going to cost a great deal more. Purebred, or pedigree cats (i.e. Persian, Siamese, British Shorthair, Sphynx) can range from $500 to $1,000. Purebred kittens are generally more expensive than adult cats.
Adopting a cat is a much more realistic process for the potential cat owner on a budget. Costs for adopting a kitten range from a low of $40-$50 (health exam and shots only), to a high of $150.00 if the shelter requires spaying or neutering. Most reliable animal shelters will insist that the animal be sterilized. It will generally be less expensive to have that service provided by a shelter, than to wait and pay for it on your own at a private veterinary clinic, where the procedure could cost between $100 and $200. Spaying a female cat will cost slightly more than neutering a male.
OK, now you've spent almost a hundred dollars and you haven't even gotten little Cream Puff home yet. That part of this journey to cat ownership will require the purchase of a cat carrier. Most cats dislike car rides immensely and you want to minimize the potential for a kitten to end up clinging to your head or steering wheel while you're driving. A basic plastic cat carrier will run around $35.00. You might spend more for the new wheeled versions, which are similar to rolling backpacks with handles. One way to economize on this expense is to look for items at a big box store. For the frugal potential cat owner, a Wal-Mart or a Target may offer a better deal for cat accessories than your local pet store chain, although you will probably find a wider selection of items at the pet store.
Other Supplies To Purchase Before Bringing Your New Kitty Home
Ongoing veterinary bills for your new addition will include costs for vaccinations, exams, dental procedures and flea control. They can run anywhere from $150 to $300 and generally increase as your cat gets older. Some people are opting for Pet Insurance as a way to manage expensive animal hospital and veterinary clinic costs. If you have several cats, this can b...
Should I Choose Two Cats from the Same Litter?
You've decided to bless your home with a feline but the question is: two cats or one? Adopting two cats has its benefits and its drawbacks. Here are some considerations:
Two Cats or One?
Cats, unlike dogs, don't crave packs. Imagine a cat at a cat park - they'd probably just ignore each other. Some cats do like the companionship another cat offers (especially when they're cold). Other cats prefer to be the only feline of the house.
Cat Breed Selection
When selecting a cat, the breed of a cat can make a difference in this decision. Aloof cats tend to be loners while friendly cats tend to welcome a companion.
Aloof, Introverted Breeds:
Outgoing, Friendly Breeds:
Age of Your Cats
Young cats or kittens are more likely to put up with a housemate than an older cat. Bringing them home together means there won't be a chance for one cat to declare himself ruler of the roost. However, though cats don't live in packs where one feline is the leader, sometimes one cat emerges as the alpha. These cats are natural leaders and are very demanding. They are likely to bully the other cat, at least until the other cat recognizes his place as a subordinate.
Comparing the Benefits and Drawbacks
Benefits of One Cat:
Ease of assimilation: Bringing home one cat makes it much easier to assimilate him into your household, including other pets.
Expense: There is less expense with one cat, including food, toys, bedding, litter boxes, and health care
Training: It is easier to train one cat to stay off furniture, use the litter box, etc.
Drawbacks Of One Cat:
Some cats get lonely: Consider how much time you have to spend with your cat. Will you be able to play with him everyday and cuddle him every night?
Behavior issues: Two cats are often better behaved than one, perhaps because they feel more secure.
Socialization: One cat households tend to have a less socialized pet.
Benefits Of Two Cats:
Company: Though cats aren't pack animals they do live in colonies in the wild.
The buddy system: Any change for a cat is stressful and having a buddy to help adjust to a new house is very helpful.
Indoor cats: It can be especially helpful to have cats in pairs if they are indoors. This helps them not to be bored or too isolated. As playmates, they keep each busy.
Drawbacks Of Two Cats:
Expense: More food, more litter boxes, more toys, higher vet bills
Training: Cats often mimic behavior. If one cat is a bad cat who scratches your furniture and marks your bed, it's possible the other will follow suit.
Noise: There's likely more noise with two cats.
Choosing Cats from the Same Litter
If you decide that two is better than one, adopting two cats from the same litter can make things easier.
Benefits of Cats from the Same Litter:
Kittens: Kitten siblings have been s...
What Should I Look for When Choosing a Kitten?
Adopting a kitten is a life-changing event. The young cat you bring home today will hopefully be with you for the next 18 years. Selecting a cat that's right for you and your home is therefore of the utmost importance.
When selecting a cat or kitten to bring home, you'll need to consider how much time you have to raise a kitten, what you're looking for in terms of personality, and how to balance the needs of other family members and pets in the home.
Choosing kittens can feel like trying to pick your favorite star out of the night sky. At first glance, every adorable face looks to be the perfect match. In fact, your biggest challenge when adopting a kitten will be walking away with just one.
Kittens should be 9-12 weeks of age (12 weeks is ideal) before being adopted. Taking them earlier deprives them of much needed time spent with mom and siblings to learn appropriate feline behaviors. The immune systems of kittens are also stronger after 12 weeks.
There are a few basic questions every would-be cat owner wrestles with when adopting a kitten:
Male Or Female?
This is a matter of preference. So long as you spay/neuter your cat, there is no noticeable difference in personality or temperament between genders.
Longhaired Or Shorthaired?
Again, a matter of preference. Be warned-cat care rule #1 is that all cats shed. However, longhaired cats release more hair and require daily brushing to keep away tangles and knots.
Purebred Or Domestic?
Domestic simply means "mixed breed." Most cats found in shelters or "free to a good home" are domestic cats. If you decide you want a purebred kitten, you'll need to connect with a reputable breeder. One advantage to adopting a purebred cat is knowing ahead of time the personality traits of different breeds. However, domestic cats make wonderful pets and selecting a cat from a shelter means you'll have the satisfaction of knowing you've saved a life.
Although you may have your heart set on adopting a kitten of a specific color, make this your last consideration. Instead, the top ranking concerns when choosing kittens should be personality and health.
Personality (or purr-sonality) as a kitten is the most telling sign of the kind of cat your kitten will grow into. To determine personality you'll want to:
Observe A Litter
Observe how "your" kitten interacts with siblings. Is she the instigator? Is he more reserved? These behaviors are important to note, especially if you already have pets in the home. Shy kittens may not be happy in a house filled with dogs and children but may thrive in a calmer environment.
By nature, kittens should be playful and interactive. Inquisitiveness is a good sign. Hissing and/or hiding indicate a kitten is not well socialized and may have trouble adjusting in the home.
Pick Them Up
Most kittens will purr when held. Some will instantly cuddle into you, others will attempt to wriggle free and still others will ...