cats

Cats

Thousands of years ago, cats domesticated themselves, rather than humans putting them in cages. They originally began to live next to, rather than with, humans in a mutually beneficial role. 

The humans had food that attracted rodents. The cats came around to hunt for the rodents. After many years, the cats and humans formed bonds that allowed them to live together in domestic relationships.

Today, there are many breeds of cat that would be suitable for household pets. If you are considering owning a cat to complement your domestic situation, you will want to study the various breeds to find the most suitable house-mate. Some things to consider are:

  • The size of the breed, as this informs the amount of space required
  • How much attention the cat needs and how long/how often it will be left alone
  • The amount of equipment required, e.g., beds, toys, food/water bowls 
  • The cost to purchase the cat and required licenses
  • Care and feeding requirements — veterinary fees, grooming/bathing schedule
  • Activity level and compatibility with the owner’s/family’s activities
  • Training – if desired, whether at home or professionally
  • Lifespan – some breeds tend to live longer than others

Following is a guide to some of the most popular cat breeds and their associated costs and care requirements:

Abyssinian

The Abyssinian cat, also known as Aby, is a fun-loving, affectionate, and friendly breed. They are very active and very intelligent. You will find your cat to be both entertaining and energetic. They will often climb to the highest available spot to survey their surroundings. 

Plan to spend a lot of time with your Abyssinian, as they enjoy playing with adults, children, strangers and other pets. They do require a fair amount of brain stimulation as well as attention several times per day. This breed will also play fetch, so having toys available for them to play with is important.

The training of an Aby requires patience and persistence. They thrive on praise and will come to understand the desired behavior. The use of scratching posts around the home will aid in your cat being able to satisfy their need to scratch and could save some wear and tear on your furniture. Be sure to remind your pet to use them. 

This breed is not cold tolerant, but does love to sunbathe. They will need your help to ensure that they do not spend too long in direct sunlight as they can get sunburned.

  • Weight: 7 – 14 pounds
  • Price: $500 – $700
  • Activity Level: Very playful
  • Lifespan: 9 – 15 years
Abyssinian
sphynx

Sphynx

Sphynx is the name of this breed that appears to be naked, not sporting the typical fur coat of other breeds. This hairlessness was originally a genetic mutation and then the cat was bred to consistently produce hairless offspring. 

Interestingly, the lack of fur does not make them hypoallergenic, as it is the skin dander that causes a reaction in some people. Note that this cat will not require brushing, but a weekly bath is instead required. Overall, its needs are few, having medium exercise requirements.

This is a highly energetic and social breed. Your cat will constantly be doing things to attract your attention as it does enjoy giving and receiving affection. Sphynx are loyal and enjoy spending time with adults, children, families, strangers and other pets. 

They do not like to be left alone for long periods of time. This breed does well as indoor cats, as they do not have fur to protect them from extreme temperatures. In fact, they do like to have moderate to warm temperatures year-round.

  • Weight: 8 – 12 pounds
  • Price: $900 – $1200
  • Activity Level: Highly energetic cat breed
  • Lifespan: 9 – 15 years

American Shorthairs

The American Shorthair is an independent breed and does not require a great deal of attention. They are considered to be an easygoing type of cat. Although they do love to spend time with their owners and enjoy family time, they are comfortable staying alone for long periods. 

American Shorthairs are considered to be a low-maintenance breed that has medium energy and moderate grooming needs, requiring brushing twice per week. Therefore, American Shorthairs would be excellent pets for busy individuals or active families.

When considering an American Shorthair, you will find that the classic silver tabby is the most popular coloring. This color pattern is marked by a white undercoat with silver fur and black markings. Their traits of calmness and little vocal activity would provide a quiet and steadfast companion. 

Your American Shorthair is an indoor cat who does well in moderate temperatures.

  • Weight: 11 – 15 pounds
  • Price: $1000 – $1500
  • Activity Level: Very playful cats
  • Lifespan: 15-20 years
american shorthair
ragdoll

Ragdolls

Ragdoll cats get their name from their tendency to go limp when picked up. They do, however, enjoy being picked up and cuddled often. These cats are very good with adults, children, families and other pets. 

Desiring attention, the breed is known to follow their owners around the house, looking for affection. The Ragdoll is a large breed with a sweet and gentle disposition.

The Ragdoll is a very attractive breed with striking blue eyes, pleasing coloring and a docile temperament. It is important to know that this breed does have a relatively short (10 years) lifespan. 

Best suited to living indoors, this breed is not tolerant to extreme temperatures. Their grooming and exercise needs are considered to be in the low range. With these characteristics, Ragdolls would be very suitable for seniors or those wanting a therapy animal.

  • Weight: 8 – 20 pounds
  • Price: $400 – $1100
  • Activity Level: A very calm and quiet cat
  • Lifespan: 12 – 15 years

Exotics

While many people use the term “exotic” to mean something that originates or has the characteristics of a foreign country, Exotic Shorthairs, also known as Exotics, is an official cat breed. 

This breed was developed in the 1950s by crossing Persians with American Shorthairs and other shorthair breeds. This resulted in the Exotic Shorthair, a breed that shares its features and personality with the Persian, yet sports a short, easy-to-care-for coat.

In addition to moderate care needs (weekly nail clipping and twice-weekly brushing), Exotics have medium exercise requirements and high attention needs. They do require companionship in the form of playtime and cuddles much of the time. They do not like to be left alone, so this should be avoided whenever possible. 

The Exotics make very suitable family pets, but it will be important to dedicate time to being at home with them. Your cat will vocalize to let you know when it needs more attention. They are calm, friendly and obedient as a rule, easily getting along with the family and other pets.

  • Weight: 10 – 20 pounds
  • Price: $1200 – $2200
  • Activity Level: Low energy cat breed.
  • Lifespan: 10 – 15 years
exotic
Domestic Shorthair

Domestic Shorthairs

Almost 95% of all cats in North America are considered as belonging to the Domestic Shorthair breed. They were originally thought of as working cats, as they were known for their rat-catching abilities. This breed falls into the Household Pet category and is prized for their unusual markings, pleasing appearance and gentle disposition. 

Domestic Shorthairs have low grooming and moderate attention requirements. Though they are a mix of various breeds, most of them are of medium size and rather muscular while fewer are smaller or larger, depending on their particular genetic composition.

The Domestic Shorthair is a social breed, exhibiting traits of playfulness, affection, calmness, sometimes quietness, and at other times, vocally. This is not an aggressive cat, making for a good companion for children, seniors and other pets. The playful side of their personality can be seen as skillful endurance, balancing/leaping and a strong hunting instinct. 

This breed appreciates the opportunity to play with toys and to use scratching posts. Regular grooming is important for Domestic Shorthairs which includes brushing, claw trimming and tooth brushing. Your cat may live up to twenty years old, providing loving companionship for their lifetime.

  • Weight: 8 – 10 pounds
  • Price: Free – $200
  • Activity Level: Highly energetic cats
  • Lifespan: 12 – 16 years

Domestic Longhairs

The Domestic Longhair is not a breed for the faint of heart! They have long, fluffy fur that requires daily brushing. Nail trimming will also be needed on a weekly basis. In addition, as the cat ages, shampooing may be required. In short, this breed has high grooming needs, yet moderate attention requirements. 

Their temperament can vary from cat to cat and each has its own personality, the variability stemming from a diverse gene pool. Your Domestic Longhair may be affectionate or independent, quiet or vocal, and relaxed or energetic.

All of them, however, are quite intelligent and affectionate and will get along with both family and strangers. This is an indoor breed with a requirement for special care being paid to ensure proper hydration. These cats are relatives of the Domestic Shorthair and do not hold a purebred status. Rather, they fall into the Household Pet category. 

The breed is suitable for adults, children, and families.

  • Weight: 8 – 10 pounds
  • Price: Free – $200
  • Activity Level: Highly energetic cats
  • Lifespan: 12 – 16 years
Domestic Longhair
Himalayan

Himalayans

The Himalayan cat, often called Himmy, is a sweet and fun-loving cat that will enjoy spending time with their owners. The breed is the result of crossbreeding the Persian and Siamese breeds. 

Himmy cats have friendly and outgoing personalities, making them suitable for living with one owner, a couple, or families. This could be considered to be an indoor cat, who requires protection from both extreme temperatures and loud noises.

Looking at a Himalayan cat, you will see bright blue eyes and a long, thick coat similar to a Siamese’s coloring. Note that this breed does have high grooming needs, but medium exercise needs. 

Due to the thick coat, Himalayans are fairly cold tolerant. This same trait does not protect them from the heat, so care must be taken to ensure proper shade and hydration in the summer months. This breed is known to be quite affectionate and will follow family members around, looking to receive attention.

  • Weight: 7 – 12 pounds
  • Price: $300 – $500
  • Activity Level: A bit calm but have a playful nature
  • Lifespan: Usually more than 15 years

Maine Coons

Maine Coons originated in the New England area of the United States. The “Coon” part of their name refers to the resemblance to racoons’ brown tabby coat and ringed tail. 

They were known as mousers, farm cats and ship’s cats in the 19th century. Today’s Maine Coons are more likely to be found as family pets than working cats. This popular breed is friendly with adults, children, families and strangers.

These are very large cats who, surprisingly, need very little space to live comfortably. With medium exercise and grooming requirements, Maine Coons would make excellent pets for people who want a relaxed pet for a relaxed atmosphere. 

This cat will not likely jump, but will climb to find a perch for sleeping. Your Maine Coon will be an indoor cat, as it does not adapt to extremes in temperature.

  • Weight: 13 – 18 pounds
  • Price: $1500 – $4000
  • Activity Level: Low with bouts of playfulness
  • Lifespan: 12 – 17 years
Maine Coon
Cost of Buying a Cat

Bringing home a new cat either from a reputable breeder or from the shelter is an exciting experience. However, just like a small baby, you will need to have several things in preparation for your new family member. Items will cost different amounts depending on your location and the quality of the product(s) you choose.

You can usually buy a cat for less than $100 but some breeds will cost more than $1,000. If you get your cat from a shelter, you could cut down on most of the costs, including spaying and neutering. Cats from shelters usually have already performed an initial medical examination.  This will save you from an extra trip to the vet.

Just like their canine friends, cats are susceptible to injury and infections.  And just like dogs, they will require regular medical checkups. However, you can always get pet insurance for your pet to help mitigate the costs of a vet visit.  This is usually a good idea if you’ve taken in a stray and don’t know how healthy it will be in the future.

Before bringing home a new cat, you may need to buy some items for it such as bowls, toys, beds, food, and treats. 

Here is a list showing some of the costs of equipment and the initial cost of buying a cat. It’s also worth noting that some of the listed items are optional.

 

Item Cost
Cat $0- $1,000
Bowl $10-$30
Toys $25 per year
Kennel $30-$100
Food $120-$500 annually
Cat bed $60-$150
Litter box $6-$85
Cat scratching post $22-$110
Veterinary charges $90-$200 per year excluding emergencies

Common cat breeds in the US

Some of the most common breeds in the US include the Exotic, the Ragdoll, and the Abyssinian. However, the Domestic Shorthair or Longhair remain a favorite cat for most Americans.

What is the Ideal Habitat for a cat?

Cats are intelligent pets that prefer living areas free from cold or dampness. A cat is susceptible to illness if left to live in a cold place.

The comfort of a cat’s living space depends on the type of bed available, ease of access to the litter box, and availability of toys.

A cat loves a private place to use the litter box. It should be in a place where you will smell it if you forget to clean it, but not in an open place.  Just like you, cats don’t like to be watched as they do their business.  If the cat does not feel it has privacy and security in the place where the litter box is, they will let you know by finding another place to use the toilet.

Litter boxes exist in various designs. The standard litter box requires the most work to empty and clean it. However, the litter box remains the cheapest in the market, and for the most part cats love them.  Depending on the litter you buy it can really make cleaning the box much easier than some of the cheaper types.

In the last 15 years different companies have come out with self-cleaning litter boxes. However, most cats don’t like the mechanism the box uses to self-clean because it scares them.

There are also hooded litter boxes that some cats love for privacy while others won’t use them. The hooded litter boxes cover the cat as it goes about its business. However, some cats fear being in enclosed spaces as they use the toilet, especially if your home has multiple cats.

If you have an indoor cat, offer them enough space and toys to play with because they can easily get bored. Cat toys are readily available in pet shops and are usually priced very reasonably.

Cats have a natural need to scratch their paws against things as a way of stretching or as a way of trimming their nails. As such, cat owners should provide a scratch post for the well-being of their cats. In addition to getting a scratching post, you can protect your furniture by regularly cutting your cat’s nails. 

Does Your Cat Need a Kennel?

Cats don’t necessarily require crating at night. However, here are some instances you may want to cage your cat during the night.

  •         If your cat is taking medication or needs its own space
  •         If your cat is new in the home
  •         If you’re training the cat to use a litter box

If you need a kennel for more than short term transportation you will want a bigger kennel for it.  The ideal kennel size of a cat is one that can fit a medium to large-sized dog. The reason for having a large kennel for your cat is so that it can accommodate the bed, food and water bowls, toys, and a litter box.

Even though cats don’t need a kennel, some cats love their own space to relax. Most families don’t buy a kennel for a cat unless they have a specific need for one.  After you’ve had the cat for some time, buy a kennel if you think that there is a need for one.

Cat carriers are really a necessity for the days you need to take your pet to the vet.  Its really nice to have something small to transport them around in, and to make sure they don’t run away the second you open the car door at the vet.

They are not really a good replacement option for a kennel however as they tend to be quite a bit smaller than kennels are.  Most cats would hate to spend much time in a cat carrier as they don’t allow for much movement.  They’re also not big enough to store items like a litter box and food bowls with a blanket.

Bedding Requirements

It’s advisable to buy your cat a comfortable bed and place it where they like to sleep. A cozy bed prevents your cat from developing bone problems over time, but for most cats it should not be a problem.  

Cats generally will find an article of your clothes to sleep on if you don’t have a bed for them. Older cats tend to enjoy them because the beds are easy on their joints.

Cat beds exist in all shapes and sizes, and you can find one that meets the needs of your cat.

As you buy a bed, it’s always wise to buy one with removable bedding for easier cleaning. Remember, most cats are furry, and their fur sheds.

Food Preferences for Cats

Just like humans, cats require a low carbohydrate diet to avoid becoming obese. Research shows that more than half of cats in the world suffer from obesity.

Dry food and wet canned foods are the main types of cat foods. Most vets will tell pet owners to feed their cats dry food unless they are not eating enough or have some health issues. Dry food is better for their teeth, and much less expensive than wet food.  Feeding your cat with well balanced and high quality food goes a long way towards keeping them healthy. 

When buying cat food, check the label to see the ingredients label.  Whenever possible avoid buying foods with fillers and opt for a more natural food.  It will cost more, but it will be much better at extending their health into old age. 

Experts recommend that cat food should contain Taurine which is an essential amino acid to help with keeping your cat’s eyes and heart healthy. 

You can easily make healthy treats for your cat using organic products such as fish and liver. However, avoid the temptation of giving your cat raw fish because it could easily lead to food poisoning.  However, most families will like the convenience of buying cat treats from the store because they don’t expire nearly as fast.

Cats need a lot of water to remain hydrated. Expert veterinarians recommend about 3.5-4.5 ounces of water for every 5 pounds of cat weight. If they do not get enough water from drinking you can add a little to their food bowl.  Just be careful not to add too much or it could overfill their stomach leading to vomiting.

Before you give your cat any amount of milk you should check for any signs of lactose intolerance on your cat. Otherwise, your cat could become ill.  Most cats will be fine, but in this case it is much better to be safe than sorry.

Obedience Training in Cats

Are you scared of having shredded couches or the smell of urine all over the house? Then cat obedience training can help.  Cats are intelligent pets and they learn fast. 

To avoid scratched furniture, train your cat how to use a scratch post and place it where the cat can easily access it. Cats scratch surfaces as a way to sharpen their claws, and the urge comes naturally.

Some cats will take simple instructions such as “stop,” or ‘come”. However, cats being cats, they will usually do whatever they want to do no matter what you ask them to do.

Experts recommend that cat training takes place just before a treat so that it acts as a reward for good behavior.

Obedience training for cats could take several days to weeks or even months. You will need to have extreme patience to not give up before you see any results.

Can Cats Become Aggressive?

Aggression in non feral cats can occur, although rare. However, several reasons trigger aggressive behavior in cats. Aggression in cats could be either directed to the human owner, prey, or other family pets. Here are some of the reasons.

  •         Fear and anxiety
  •         Sickness
  •         Overstimulation
Basic Cat Care and Grooming

Cats are clean animals and a grooming session once in a while would go a long way to keeping your cat healthy and happy. Here are some basic cat care tips from nail trimming to brushing.

  •   Bathing

Cats clean their bodies using saliva and don’t require regular baths. Some cats are also not open to bathing and may become aggressive if you attempt to bathe them.  Unless your cat is not properly grooming itself you generally only will need to brush your cat to keep them looking their best.

You may have witnessed your cat licking their bodies and paws or a group of cats grooming each other. Well, cats groom each other as a sign of affection.

When a cat licks its body and paws, the act allows the cat to eliminate any scent so as to distract predators. It’s also common for cats to lick their owners, and experts say that it is a tactic of marking their territory.

  •        Brushing

A cat’s fur is always neat but they should be brushed at least twice a week. Brushing helps to remove dead skin, distribute natural oils, and maintain regular blood flow on the skin, not to mention reduce the amount of shedding they will do.

As you brush the fur, check for naked skin because it could indicate an infection that would require a visit to your veterinarian.

  •       Nail Trimming

An indoor cat requires regular nail trimming to avoid injuring the people in contact with them, or your furniture. You can trim the cat yourself if you have prior experience. If not, you can take your pet to your local cat groomer.  Special tools exist, but for cats a regular set of nail clippers will do.

  •      Ear Care

As you groom your pet, check their ears for any infections, excess wax, or presence of mites. The ears should be free from any unpleasant smells. A little wax is healthy, but if there is considerable buildup you should schedule a visit to the veterinarian.

  • Eye Check up 

Most cats clean their eyes using paws often. However, checking on their eyes doesn’t hurt. Look for any signs of tearing, inflammation or clouding of the eyes. Remember a cat’s eyesight is vital for it’s well-being. 

If your cat has any gunk on their eyes, clean them using a soft cloth dipped in warm water. Most cats that have gunk on their eyes are older or those with fur covering their eyes. 

However, excess gunk on a cat’s eyes could mean a possible infection that would require a veterinarian checkup. 

  • Paw Care 

Cats could easily hurt their feet especially with all the crazy jumps they make, or if they land on something sharp. If you see any limping or signs of pain you should check their paws for any type of injury or anything that could be causing their pain. 

  • Teeth Cleaning 

A regular check up of your cat’s teeth is also vital to ensuring dental health. The teeth should be white and sharp. You should also clean any buildup plaque on your cat’s teeth and tongue.

You can use the old-fashioned way of using a toothbrush. However, not all cats are open to this method of cleaning.  However for most cats, you will just take them to the veterinarian for proper teeth cleaning. 

In conclusion, cats are the most adorable pets and easy to maintain. Cats exist in different sizes and appearances, but the most common cats in the US are the Exotic, Ragdoll, and the Domestic shorthair cats. However, if you plan on buying a cat from the shelter or a breeder, use this guide to help you take care of your pet’s nutritional, grooming, and bedding requirements. 

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