Cat breeds

Choosing the Right Cat Breed for You

Adopting a new cat or kitten is an exciting time for every prospective owner. Having a cat is very rewarding but also comes with big responsibility. It’s important to take some time to research the breeds you have in mind. Key aspects to include in your decision making are health and genetic traits, personality, coat length, size, environment, and potential allergies.Continue reading to learn more about the important factors you should consider when choosing a cat that is purr-fect for you!

1. Pedigreed or Non-Pedigreed?

There’s no denying the fact that there are many different types of cats to choose from! The Cat Fanciers’ Association recognizes 45 different pedigreed breeds, as well as the common household mixed breeds like the domestic shorthair (DSH), domestic medium hair (DMH), and domestic longhair (DLH). Just like with dogs, it’s important to be aware of typical breed characteristics, when looking for your ideal cat.

Generations of natural and selective breeding have produced the variety of breeds we know today. Certain physical and behavioral traits will make some breeds more suitable for your needs than others. Factors to consider are outlined below and include haircoat type, body conformation, and personality.

2. Behavior

Personality traits vary widely among the different cat breeds. Your choice may depend on factors such as your lifestyle, ages of family members, and time spent at home versus away. The nature of cats in the home is a key consideration for people who have young children. Ragdoll and Main Coon breeds, among many others, have a gentle nature and can be a great choice for a family cat. La Perms and American Wirehairs are very people-oriented and sociable, which can also make them a fun choice for a young family.

Most cats are independent, natural hunters. Savannahs and Korat breeds are especially known for this trait. And some breeds are much more active than others, including the Abyssinian and Devon Rex.

Siamese or Tonkinese cats are known for being very vocal or talkative, while British Shorthairs and Turkish Vans have a quiet nature.

Behavioral characteristics of non-pedigreed cats can vary widely, ranging from playful to calm, social to quiet, and independent to affectionate. However, they tend to be very adaptable to their environment and can fit in great with a single person or large family.

3. Appearance

While there are many beautiful combinations of coat color and length to choose from, grooming needs are a significant trait to consider when looking for your ideal breed. While most cats should be brushed routinely, longhaired breeds definitely require more attention. Expect to dedicate some time, at least once a week, to brushing your longhaired cat. Not only will this help prevent the fur from matting (which can be painful and difficult to remove), but it will also reduce loose hair around the home. Whichever coat length you choose, spending quality time attending to your cat’s grooming needs is a perfect way to bond.

The size of some breeds may also influence your choice. Larger cats like the Maine Coon or Norwegian Forest cat are notorious for their strong statures. Alternatively, smaller breeds like the Khao Manee and Ocicat tend to be leaner and more athletic.

Non-pedigreed cats come in all shapes and sizes, depending on their genetic makeup. Finding your perfect pet may be as simple as a trip to your local shelter!

4. Environment

Will your new cat be indoor-only? Or will she have access to the outdoors, and how often? The size and layout of your home and the surrounding environment may heavily influence your decision. Some breeds, like the Scottish Fold and the Sphynx, are well-suited to remain indoors. Other breeds, such as the Bengal or Somali, are much more active and curious in nature. These cats often require the stimulation that an outdoor environment can provide.

Mixed breeds, like the Domestic Shorthair, can be easily adapted to most environments. These cats are often bred as “working breeds”, putting their skills to use hunting mice and other rodents. If kept indoors, your Domestic Shorthair should have an outlet for her energy and athleticism. But don’t be surprised if she’d rather spend the afternoon curled up in your lap.

5. Allergies

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic cat. But allergy sufferers rejoice! You may not have to give up on your dream of owning a cat, after all!

Recent research has found that people with allergies exhibit strong responses to the Fel d 1 protein found in cat saliva, hair, and dander. This study has shown that changing a cat’s diet may reduce the amount of Fel d 1 protein the cat produces. By taking advantage of natural allergen-antibody interactions, the Fel d 1 protein can be neutralized when bound to an anti-Fel d 1 antibody found in chicken eggs. While this antibody does not occur naturally in chicken eggs unless the eggs have been purposely exposed to the Fel d 1 protein, a new diet has been scientifically formulated and is now commercially available. Purina’s Pro Plan LiveClear diet was launched in April 2020. Vets across the world are excited about what this may mean for cat owners with allergies!

While some breeds seem to be slightly less allergenic than others, every person has a different immune system. We recommend spending time with your chosen breed, prior to purchase, to see if they trigger your allergies.

Further Reading

Use the Purina Cat Breed Selector to find your fur-ever friend!

For tips about introducing a new cat or kitten into your family read our related article, and check out the website of The Cat Fanciers’ Association.

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