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How to Find the Perfect Cat for Your Family: 8 Tips & What to Look For

Written by: Elizabeth Gray

Last Updated on May 15, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Girl and woman holding cats

How to Find the Perfect Cat for Your Family: 8 Tips & What to Look For

Cats remain one of the most popular companion animals in the world, and if you’re considering adding a cat to your family, there’s a lot to think about first. Countless cats need loving homes, but which one is right for you?

In this article, we’ll give you eight tips on how to find the perfect cat for your family and what to look for as you search for your forever feline.

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Before You Begin

Before you search for the perfect cat, ensure everyone in your house is prepared for the new responsibility. Cats, like any pet, can be expensive, especially if an unexpected medical situation occurs. Even regular expenses like food and litter can add up over the lifetime of your kitty.

Also, consider if it’s the right time to add a new cat to the family. It’s usually not a good idea to get or give a cat as a gift during the holidays, and they should never be acquired on impulse.

Do you have the space for a cat and all their gear? If you rent your home, are you allowed to have a cat?

Part of responsible pet ownership is taking the time to research what’s required to care for a cat and to find a kitty that fits into your family. That’s where this article comes in.

oriental shorthair kitten hold by owner
Image Credit: SvetMedvedeva, Shutterstock

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The 8 Tips on How to Find the Perfect Cat for Your Family

1. What Age Should Your Cat Be?

Kittens are undeniably adorable but can also be a lot of work. You’ll need to keep them safe by kitten-proofing your home and supervising them carefully. Kittens also need socialization and litter training. They can have more medical expenses than an adult cat, including kitten vaccines and spay or neuter surgery.

Energetic kittens can be a hassle to deal with and may not be the best choice for homes with small children. Adult cats are calmer, and their personality is fully formed. Most are litter-trained, spayed or neutered, and current on their vaccines. They may tolerate children and other pets better, especially if they previously lived with them.

Senior cats can be a good choice, too, especially for older adults. They usually enjoy a quiet lifestyle but may have more medical expenses as they age. Cats can have much different care needs based on their life stage, and it’s important to consider which kitty fits your family the best.

2. Do You Have Other Pets?

If you already have pets at home, you’ll need to consider them when deciding which cat is right for you. Cats who don’t know each other may not get along or take a long time to bond. If your cat has already shown aggression towards other felines, getting a new cat may not be wise. Adult cats may get along better with a kitten, but there’s no guarantee.

Consider their breed and personality before choosing a cat if you have a dog. Some dogs have a high prey drive and may not get along with cats. Others may only tolerate cats who don’t act like prey, such as an adult kitty who’s already been socialized with dogs.

Exotic pet owners should ensure they can keep their small animals safely away from a cat. Most cats have a high prey drive, and even if they don’t, the presence of a predator may be enough to stress many exotic pets.

dog and kitten_Chendongshan_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Chendongshan, Shutterstock

3. Do You Have Kids?

As mentioned earlier, kittens may not be a good choice for families with toddlers or young children who might accidentally injure the baby cat. Not all breeds enjoy the noise and rowdiness that children often bring to a household.

At the same time, some breeds are incredibly tolerant of rough play and even seem to enjoy it. While caring for a cat can be a great way to teach kids responsibility, an adult will still need to supervise them.

4. What Is Your Lifestyle Like?

Do you work from home and have plenty of time to devote to your cat? Or do you work long hours outside the house with minimal free time? Cats may have a reputation for being independent, but the truth is many of them don’t like being left alone frequently.

Some breeds are needier than others, and kittens require more supervision and frequent feeding. The perfect cat for you will be one who can tolerate the amount of attention you have time to give them, whether it’s a lot or a little.

a happy woman using laptop with her cat
Image Credit: Fusso_pics, Shutterstock

5. What Is Your Social Life Like?

Do you prefer to spend your free time on the couch or exploring nature? Do you love to entertain or prefer to stay at home? You’ll want to consider these questions when choosing the perfect cat. Some cats are extroverts who love being the center of attention, while others will get anxious at the first hint of strangers. Most cats love to snuggle at home, but a select few may enjoy life as “adventure cats,” accompanying you on hikes and camping trips.

6. Purebred or Mixed Breed Cat?

Purebred cats have more predictable traits and temperaments than those of unknown ancestry. However, they’re also prone to more inherited health conditions and can be expensive.

Rescuing a purebred cat may be an option, and most animal shelters are full of loving, mixed-breed cats in need of good homes. Try to spend time with any cat you’re considering for adoption to ensure they’re a good match for your family.

siamese ragdool cat mix lying
Image Credit: Laura Drake Enberg, Shutterstock

7. Two Cats or One?

Adopting two cats (especially kittens) is ideal if you have a busy schedule. Kittens can entertain and exercise each other, taking some of the burden off you. Unrelated adult cats won’t always get along, as we mentioned earlier.

However, you’ll sometimes find bonded adult cats for adoption if you have the space and money to care for them. If you are frequently away from home, adopting two cats can help ease some of the loneliness and separation anxiety your pets could suffer.

8. Does Anyone in Your Family Have Allergies?

Unfortunately, cat allergies are common and one of the main reasons kitties end up in shelters. If you or someone in your family has allergies, it will undoubtedly impact your choice. While no hypoallergenic cat breeds exist, some are more allergy-friendly than others.

Before bringing a cat into a family, try to spend time with them first to ensure they don’t cause an allergic reaction.

Cat Allergy
Image Credit: Cat Box, Shutterstock

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Where Should You Get Your Cat?

The most common ways to get a cat are adopting from a shelter or rescue group and buying from a breeder. Sometimes, a friend, relative, or neighbor may ask if you can re-home their cat. Finally, there’s always the chance you might find a stray cat or kitten who needs a home.

If you buy from a breeder, make sure to research the health conditions common in your chosen cat. Responsible breeders will screen for these conditions and provide health histories and guarantees for your new pet.

No matter where you get your new cat, take them to the vet for a checkup as soon as possible. Some signs of bad health are obvious, such as weight loss, poor skin and coat, and lethargy. Others might be harder to detect, and your kitty needs to see a doctor to be safe.

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If you decide to adopt your new cat, remember that many of the homeless kitties you’re considering ended up in the shelter because they weren’t a good match for their families. The best way to ensure your cat enjoys a happy life in your house is to choose the pet that fits your needs and lifestyle. The tips we discussed in this article are a great place to start.

Featured Image Credit: BearFotos, Shutterstock

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