Gary Powell: Hi! I am Garry Powell from the Cat Fanciers' Association. I am talking about what to look for and some questions to ask when you are selecting your next pet cat. You may be sure of your dream cat or kitten when you go off to the shelter or to a breeder's home but be flexible and allow the cat to be part of the selection process. Some shelters have background on cats for adoption and others have methods for evaluating temperament. Posted cage cards will give you the cat's age, spay and neuter status, any medical conditions and weather he is a stray or relinquished from a previous owner.
Shelters typically have rooms that allow you to get to spent time and become familiar with the cat. Cats are normally cautious but also curious. Don't try to pick up the cat at first, cats often intrepid this as clutching or confinement. Let the cat look you over and decide when to approach. Cats like to smell first, so extend a finger for sniffing. When you go to a shelter or a breeder's home, here are some tips on what to look for and a few questions to ask. First, do the kittens or cats look friendly and happy? Look for good weight and a shiny coat. Breeder's prefer to place kittens in new homes between the age of 12 to 16 weeks so they have time for socialization and experiences only their mother and little mates can provide. A kitten should have the basic inoculations and physical maturity for transporting and entering a new home. Shelters often receive kittens very young without socialization. Take home two kittens if under 12 weeks so they can play and learn from each other. Check for good health; are the eye's bright, ears clean? Look for good gums and nose sneezing. Ask for a vaccination record and if there have been any prior illnesses, is there any known defect that may need veterinary care later? Many breeders provide a 60-day introductory health insurance coverage for their kittens. Have a new cat or kitten examined by your veterinarian within a few days. Do not allow a new cat to come in contact with your existing cats without a veterinary check.
Spaying or neutering is important for pet cats. In some states, shelters can only place altered cats; others will require an agreement. Breeders will have altered the cat or withhold the registration slip to be sure your cat is altered later. When buying a pedigree cat from a breeder, ask to see the kittens mother and if possible, the father. Does the breeder show and know the breed standard? Does the breeder have a registered cattery and current CFA Cattery of Excellence Certificate, which means a voluntary cattery inspection? Does the breeder know of any genetic diseases or disorders in the breed? Ask for the name of the breeder's veterinarian and for references of other pet priors. So, those are just some of the things to consider when selecting your next cat.