The Hippo


May 25, 2020








siamese cat

All kinds of kitties
Finding the perfect feline for you

By Angie Sykeny

 While some prefer purebred cats, mixed breeds are most common, particularly at animal shelters. Here are a few things to consider when choosing a new feline friend. 

Full breed or mixed?
Naomi Stevens, director of operations at the Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire in Bedford, said the most common reason people choose a full breed cat over a mixed breed cat is that they prefer a certain look. 
“They may have had that kind of cat in their past or during their childhood, and that’s what they’re used to,” she said, “or it could be a status thing. Some people are very proud of their purebred animals.” 
Since most cats taken in by shelters are strays or were born outside, most of them are mixed breed, but shelters do occasionally get a full breed cat when the owner, for whatever reason, can no longer care for the cat. 
Most people don’t purposefully seek out a mixed breed cat but get one simply because they want to rescue a homeless cat and mixed breed cats are what the shelter has, Stevens said. In some cases, it may be easier to adopt a mixed breed cat than to buy a full breed one from a breeder because, unlike many shelters, breeders don’t always spay or neuter and microchip the cats before they’re purchased. 
As far as health, Stevens said, mixed breed cats tend to have fewer health problems than full breed cats, but the benefit of getting a full breed cat from a breeder as opposed to adopting is that there is a record of the cat’s genetic history, and you know exactly what you’re getting. 
What’s in a coat?
One of the ways in which cat breeds are classified is by the length of their coat: long-haired, medium-haired, short-haired and hairless. Coat length alone doesn’t contribute to the personality of a cat, but there are some similar personality traits seen between cat breeds of the same coat length. 
Marilyn Conde, Seacoast Cat Club member and publicity coordinator and a breeder of British Shorthair cats, said many long-haired cats tend to be more laid back while short-haired cats tend to be more active. 
“A Siamese cat, for example, is very vocal and likes to talk a lot, and a Burmese cat can be 10 years old and still act like a kitten; they’re all over the place,” she said. “That might not be right for some people. It depends on your personality and what you like.” 
“A Persian cat is one that has a gorgeous long coat, but is more of a pillow cat,” added Sharon Roy, a Cat Fanciers’ Association judge who judges the Seacoast Cat Club’s annual all-breed cat show. “They’ll sit on your lap for hours, but they won’t play for hours.” 
A cat’s coat length can be a significant factor for people with allergies, with long-haired cats having the highest level of allergens and hairless cats, such as a Sphynx, having little to none. 
The biggest thing to consider with a cat’s coat length, Roy said, is the amount of maintenance required. 
“It depends how much work you want to put into grooming,” she said. “If you want a long-haired cat, be prepared to brush it and bathe it regularly.” 
Nature vs. nurture 
While there are certain personality traits associated with certain cat breeds, there are always exceptions, and much of a cat’s personality depends on how it was raised. 
“A lot is formed in the early weeks of socialization,” Stevens said. “If a cat was trapped outside at four months old and didn’t get proper socialization, it may take longer to gain their trust, regardless of the type of cat it is.” 
That’s why it’s important to take the time to interact and familiarize yourself with a cat before buying or adopting, rather than assuming it fits the mold of its breed. The cat’s unique personality and how well the cat will fit your lifestyle should carry the heaviest weight in your decision. 
“Don’t get a playful cat if you just want a cat to sit with you. Don’t get a cat that likes to be around people if you’re gone a lot of the time,” Stevens said. “Get a cat that will thrive in your home. Breed can play a part in your decision, but it shouldn’t be high on the priority list.”

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