Source: from a new blog – Animal Shelter Pet Tip (Likely a US-based shelter)
(Paragraphing mine to facilitate reading)
November 18th, 2006
Cats do not normally perform any tricks, and they certainly do not guard your house while you are away. In fact, the only thing you can be guaranteed of by having a cat is that a mouse won’t last long if they creep into your home.
Most people love cats because of their independence. Cats have a life of their own so to speak. Most cats will not follow you around the house with their tongues hanging out of their mouths begging for your attention. While they do love their owners, cats will not grovel like a dog and worship their owners. Cats are perfectly content simply being themselves–and they do not seem to need constant reassurance, unlike dogs. However this does not mean that cats do not need your love and affection, it simply means cats are not “fragile” characters. In fact, cats can even exude a self assurance which can often be misunderstood as aloofness or coldness, which they are not. If a cat comes to sit on your lap, you know you are truly loved. Cats are mysterious animals, which is part of the draw to them.
Even when cats have been brought into the home, their instincts still remain. Cats adopt their owners and will even go out and provide “dinner.” Many cat owners including myself have stepped out on the stoop to find a dead mouse, opossum, or mole waiting for them. Now, that is love and loyalty!
If you are planning on bringing a new cat into your home, you should look at it as a life long commitment. Cats can live to be twenty years or longer. You should also understand that as cats get older, they will often sleep and lay around your home.
If you are wanting a pet to entertain you throughout her life, you should seriously think about whether a cat is the right pet for you. Kittens are very entertaining and young cats are always curious and up for a challenge. However, older cats aren’t easily excitable and usually prefer to watch the antics in the home from a distance.
When you have made the decision to bring a new cat into your home, you will have to decide between a domestic or purebred cat. We at the shelter recommend a domestic cat adopted of course. There are more than 40 breeds to choose from, so do your homework. Domestic cats come in all colors and shapes. When you look at any cat, there are some things you should consider. For instance, while all cats are fairly in proportion to each other, there are some cats which are more lanky and lean than others. These cats will be the ones who may be more interested in running and exploration. The chunkier, heavier cat will probably be more laid.
The two types of domestic cats are a domestic long hair or domestic short hair cat. When picking out your cat, you should understand that cats should not have an odor. While puppies do tend to have a smell about them, kittens do not. You may feel that a rowdy, rambunctious kitten will fit the best into your lively home. Or, you may decide that a laid back kitten is more your speed, especially if you have a quiet home.
Once you have made your decision and chosen your kitten, you should have a kennel waiting for travel, if you do not own one they an be purchased at any pet supply store, or Wal-Mart. You should never try to ride in a car with a cat unless they are restrained or in a kennel.
While most dogs love car rides, cats tend to scare more easily. They can cower under your feet preventing you from accelerating or braking and this can lead to a wreck.
When you bring your new cat into your home, you should immediately show her where the litter box, food and water are located. You should also have a supply of cat toys on hand keep him or her entertained.
Lavishing attention on a new kitten will do wonders in the transition to her new family. You should expect your new cat or kitten to explore every nook and cranny in your home. This is a necessary part of a cat’s disposition. (Even older cats seem to perk up when a new piece of furniture is brought into a home they have lived in for years.)
You will want to cat proof your home. You should keep the lids down on the toilet, and you may want to remove potted plants and the like until your new cat learns the rules of the house. Cats are social creatures, and they can learn the rules of their new environment with consistency. While you may think they do not understand what you are saying, this is not true. If you have a new kitten who wants to walk across the kitchen counter or dining room table, simply rattling a newspaper at her and saying “down” will help to teach her to stay off. Be patient and with time you will be able to put the newspaper away and simply speak the command.
Kittens can add joy to any home. Part of the fun is knowing the kitten is oblivious to the fact that she is the center of attention. She is not trying to gain your attention by performing. She is simply being a cat. Don’t worry if your cat is not interested in being a lap cat. While she may be content for a few moments on your lap, kittens have to roam, play and explore. As your cat matures she will be more inclined to take it easy curled up on your lap. Until then, just make her feel loved and you will have a feline that will adore you and her new home.
Check out our cat parent checklist for more info and references.
(Created: 31 Dec 2006)