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WHERE CAN YOU GET A PET CAT?
The Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) recognizes 41 breeds of cat and I had only heard of about 2/3 of them by name and have probably only seen half of them in practice over the years. Quick, before you click on the link, see how many cat breeds you can name. This is distinctly different than the situation with dogs, where most people not only can rattle off a dozen breeds and breed mixes (Morkipoos are not really a distinct breed, no offense). The popularity of the domestic short hair cat in all of the color varieties explains why there is much less of a retail sales presence for cats in our area than there is with dogs. Still, there are some things to take into consideration when purchasing or adopting a new feline pet.
For most breeds other than domestic short hairs, you will probably want to purchase a cat from a breeder. While most cats are similar in size, the different breeds have different temperaments and coat qualities. There are big old Maine Coons with big ruffy coats, little Balinese, and the ever intriguing Sphinx. If you are interested in a pure bred cat, the best thing to do is to go to a local cat show and check them all out. See what tickles your fancy. Then you have to start doing your homework. Make sure that you visit the breeder, check them out on line and get references from people that have purchased kittens from them in the past. Some breeds have inherited diseases so if you are interested in one of these breeds, make sure that the appropriate screening tests have been done.
Adoption and Rescue
While I have owned dogs that have come from pet shops (OK Bella is a pet shop rescue), I have never purchased a cat. Most often, it seems that I inherit them. At one point we had six that lived at the hospital, all dumped on our stoop. (Please, do not dump cats on my stoop) I have to assume that if where ever you live, there is at least one rescue group that has kittens and adult cats for adoption. In the spring, there seem to be kittens everywhere. My first kitten came from some kids that had them in a box in front of Waldbaum's supermarket in Stoney Brook. And although a kitten is totally irresistible, consider giving a home to an adult cat. That way you can know a bit more about it's personality and give a chance to a potential terrific pet that needs a break.
What to Look For
Whether you purchase or adopt, there are certain things you need to be aware of, especially if you already have a cat at home. Make sure that the kitten looks healthy, free from discharge from it's eyes, ears, or nose. It should be screened for Feline Leukemia virus, and Feline Immunodeficiency virus, the Virus that causes feline aides. Make sure there are no fleas and that the kitten has been dewormed and checked for ear mites. Finally, patchy hair loss may be a sign of ringworm, a fungus similar to the one that causes athletes foot, and can be contagious to people as well as other pets in the home. If purchasing from a breeder, make sure to ask if they have had problems with Feline Infectious Peritonitis, (FIP), a devastating viral disease of cats. We seem to see it more in purebred cats than in the mixed breeds, but it can be found in either.
When You Get Home
Once you have settled in, make sure to visit your veterinarian. A good physical examination and a fecal test for parasites should be performed at that first visit. In addition, your veterinarian can discuss preventive health care and pediatric vaccination schedules for your new pet. Then, it's time to enjoy. Oh, and post a picture or two on our Facebook page, or Our instagram account (crawforddogandcat)