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If you’ve never owned a cat before, you’ll soon wonder how you ever managed without one. Our feline friends make fur-bulous companions and your life just changed for the better.
However, cats are individuals and some breeds are more of a handful than others. If you plan on keeping an indoor cat then a sparky, inquisitive, and mischievous breed such as a Sphynx could mean you bite off more than you can chew.
You want your new pet to lead a happy and contented life, and this means meeting all their behavioural needs, such as play, exercising their claws, and exploration. For the newbie cat person it’s a good idea to start with a cat whose main need is for a lap and love, rather than curtain climbing and aerobic exercise. The purr-fect first cat should be:
- Easy going and gentle
- Enjoy attention and like people
- Have an easy care coat
- Be healthy
- Be fun to be around
Ok, so let’s look at a few suitable breeds:
- Maine Coon: A physically large cat with an even bigger personality, the Maine Coon has many devoted admirers. This is one of the largest cat breeds — they are totally into people, adaptable, and get along with just about everyone including other cats and dogs. The downside of this is that they do love company and so aren’t happy when kept as a lone pet when the owner is out at work all day. Of course the simple answer is to get two kittens so you have a bonded pair.
- Manx: Whilst the Manx is best known for being a cat without a tail, they are also super companions. They are very sociable and like to keep an eye on what’s going on and even chat to you about it. They are an inquisitive breed and always eager to try out new toys and participate in games such as “Fetch!”
- Somali: If there’s only room for one fur-friend in your home then the Somali could be the answer. These active cats love to be sole centre of attention and so fit in well as a loner. They love solving puzzles and playing, and can be trained to take part in agility activities. So for the prospective pet parent, who wants an interactive cat, consider the Somali.
- Persian: This stunning looking cat may be placid and non-destructive, but they also have big characters. They may be quiet but they are intelligent, and will quickly learn tricks when you take the time to teach them. It seems they can even tell the time, with a built in clock that alerts them when it’s supper time. However, be prepared to devote half an hour each day to grooming, as that long luxurious coat knots easily and takes a lot of upkeep.
- Chartreux: The Chartreux is an unusual breed with its origins in ancient Persia and then medieval French monasteries. These cats’ facial features give them a permanent smile, which reflects their happy personality and love of people. The Chartreux ‘chirp’ rather than meow and are equally intrigued by a bird on a window ledge as watching TV.
- Adult Rescue Cat: Of course it’s the individual’s personality which is the critical factor, so don’t overlook homing an adult rescue cat. There are so many advantages to this, not least of which is you get to meet the cat and see if they’re a good fit for your family. In addition, the rescue set you up with a healthy animal that is desexed, vaccinated, and up to date with parasite control, which gets the novice owner off to a great start.
Know Your Cat Psychology
You’ve chosen your ideal kitten from a breeder who socialised them well, now the rest is up to you. Understanding the cat’s natural instincts and providing for them is the best way to a contented, well-adjusted feline friend free from behavioural problems.
This means catching up on your cat psychology and knowing that cats have a natural need to claw (so provide plenty of sturdy scratch posts) and prefer privacy in which to toilet (site the litter box in a quiet spot where she won’t be disturbed about her business).
Know that cat’s need mental stimulation so be sure to play with her at least two to three times a day, and provide for her need to climb by providing tall cat towers. And last but not least, respect her space and let her come to you. A cornered cat is more likely to scratch and bite.
Do you have a favourite breed that you think is ideal for the first time cat owner? We’d love to hear your recommendations on the best cat breeds for those who’ve never owned (or been owned) by a cat before.