Choosing a Pet Cat
If a small pet such a rodent is not for you then perhaps you would prefer to own a dog or cat. These are not easy pets to look after as they require a lot of time, dedication and love but in return they will reward you with a lifetime of companionship and affection.
Cats can be extremely affectionate and playful and make great pets, not surprisingly then, they are the most popular pet in the UK. They are both sociable and independent which is great if you have a busy life as they are happy to occupy themselves during the day when you are out but at the same time will relish any cuddles or attention when it is on offer.
The average life expectancy of a cat is between 10-15 years although many can live up to 20 years so be prepared for a long-standing commitment. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes with long and short coats, both pedigree and cross breed /moggy. There are approximately 40 different breeds recognised internationally. Different breeds obviously have different temperaments so it is worth bearing this in mind.
The ten most popular cat breeds registered by the Cat Fancier’s Association (CFA) are listed below;
This breed is well know for its flat face, large round eyes, short broad nose and small rounded ears. They have very full long coats and come in a variety of colours. They have a very calm laid back temperament and are well suited to quiet, relaxed homes.
This breed will require lots of regular grooming to prevent hairballs and matting. They are relatively prone to breathing difficulties and weeping eyes due to the shape and size of their faces.
This breed is often described as the gentle giant of cat breeds. An exceptionally large breed with a long heavy coat with tufted ears and a bushy tail. They have a very easy going and adaptable temperament making them an ideal family pet; good with children, dogs and other pets.
They are not really lap cats but enjoy playing and hunting and are even quite fond of water, with many owners reporting that they would happily join them in the bath if given half the chance.
This breed originates from a mix of the American domestic shorthaired cat and the Persian. They can be both long and short hair and have the same facial characteristics as the Persian giving an almost teddy bear look to the short haired variety.
As a breed they are calm and affectionate, similar to the Persian with the addition of the playfulness and inquisitiveness of the American shorthair. However they do suffer from similar medical problems to the Persians.
The Siamese is one of the most recognisable and popular breeds of pedigree cats, often described as being almost dog-like in character. They have a light coloured body with darker points on their face, ears, paws and tail. Their coat is silky to the touch and they have large blue almond shaped eyes.
As a breed they are highly intelligent and friendly however they are renowned for being rather talkative and crave human attention whether it is playing with some toys or curled up on their owner’s lap which is why as a breed they make good house cats. They have several genetic breed faults but these are mainly cosmetic and not medical such has having a kinked tail and being cross-eyed.
It is said that Abyssinian cats are descendants from cats worshipped by the ancient Egyptians. They are natural athletes, slender and muscular in appearance with a lively personality, always on the go and extremely nosey. They have an unusual coat pattern that is referred to as ticked or agouti which is divided up into 3 or more alternating colour bands of light and dark along each hair shafts. They come in a variety of colours but the most popular include fawn, blue, red or ruddy.
They love people and will follow them from room to room although not really lap cats they will happily curl up next to their owners and purr affectionately.
The Ragdoll is a very docile and cuddly breed of cat hence the name as they will often lie limp and floppy in their owner's arms. They are great for families with children as they very rarely show signs of aggression and will tolerate lots of hugs and kisses, and get on well with other cats and dogs.
They are truly beautiful cats with large blue eyes and a semi-long soft, silky coat. Their coat is pointed which means that it is darker on the face, ears, legs and tail. They come in seal, blue, chocolate, lilac, red and cream. They are a relativity large breed with a long muscular body with the males not reaching full size until they are approximately 4 years old.
They are still a very intelligent breed despite their laidback attitude. They can be easily trained, love to play and are always eager to please.
The Birman is the sacred cat of Burma surrounded by numerous myths and legends. It is no coincidence therefore, that in spite of their well natured and loving temperament they are no one's fool and often object to being left on their own and not getting their own way.
They have a very distinctive coat made up of white paws called gloves on all four feet and white on their rear legs which comes to a near point up the back like a gauntlet called laces.
Their coat is long and silky and generally golden fawn in colour with dark points. The advantage of a birman over other long coated breeds is that they do not require as much grooming as the coat does not matt as easily. The birman is a very faithful and devoted breed which loves to play and chat to their owners.
These look a little like domestic tabbies but are actually pureblood. They are a hardy, robust breed with well built muscular stature and powerful jaws making them excellent hunters. They are very independent in character so suit an owner that works or is perhaps away a lot.
They are a medium to large breed with a thick, even coat which comes in over eighty different colours and patterns including the infamous silver tabby.
As a breed the American Shorthair are loving and devoted but they do not like being held and only enjoy a cuddle if it’s their idea! Overall they remain very lively and active well into old age.
This breed is very similar to the Siamese in fact it is a Siamese hybrid, deliberately bred in order to achieve a greater variety of colour and patterns; there are now over 300 available.
The oriental comes in both long and short haired varieties. The short haired variety boasts a very short, soft, silky coat whilst the long hair variety is still relatively rare with what is actually more like a medium length coat.
The temperament of the oriental is again very similar to the Siamese. They are very active and playful; always up to mischief demanding constant affection and attention from their owners and chatting all day long.
The sphinx is a rather odd looking cat which appears to have no hair, it does however have very short hairs giving a peach fuzz texture to its coat. The breed came about naturally due to a recessive gene in its genetic makeup but has since been selectively bred.
Despite having very little or no hair they are still available in a number of different colours due to their skin pigmentation. Examples include; solid, point, van, tabby and tortoiseshell. It may come as a surprise but due to the excessive amounts of oil produced by the sphinx's skin cells they actually require weekly baths in order to keep them in tip top condition.
The sphinx is a very friendly affectionate breed with bundles of energy. They will happily play for hours on end but at the end of the day they like nothing better than a cuddle under a blanket with their owner.