Ready to get a cat? Here’s how to adopt one that’s right for you!
Published January 24, 2019.
When we adopt a cat, it’s usually for the rest of their lives. Therefore, it’s normal to take the time to choose carefully. The majority of adopters will rely on the cat’s looks, colour, or gender, or will make a choice based on “whichever one comes to me first”. Yet, it’s best to choose a cat based on their character.
But how do you assess the character of a cat you are meeting for the first time, and know that their personality suits your family? Let us guide you through the process!
Choosing your cat based on their particular character
For starters, contrary to popular belief, a cat’s character does not depend on their colour any more than a human’s hair colour determines their personality. As for their gender, you should know that there is hardly any difference in a cat’s character once they have been sterilized, and there is no magic answer as to what gender you should choose based on the cat you may already have.
There are basically three types of personalities in cats:
- The adventurous cat
- The curious cat
- The shy cat
The adventurous cat is quite fearless. These are very curious and does not scare easily. They are usually the first in the litter to explore, and like to crawl around, do a balancing act on the railing, or make mistakes and suffer the consequences. Typically, these cats are very active and need lots of stimulation.
The curious cat, while usually not the first to experiment, will often follow the adventurer around. The curious cats play it safe, but when the coast is clear, they don’t hesitate to forge ahead. They are active, yet careful.
The shy cat is a little more fearful, and will hesitate before taking action. Shy cats are likely to retreat and to not take any unnecessary risks. They spend a lot of time around individuals they consider to be calming and reassuring.
For every character, there’s an ideal family
For every type of cat, there’s a type of family that suits them perfectly. Mismatches should be avoided at all costs.
If you have three kids, three dogs and three parrots, it’s safe to say your household is fairly active. As such, it’s best not to adopt a shy cat, because they are likely to be unhappy and constantly want to run and hide. Your best bet in this case would be to adopt an adventurous cat, who will thrive and work off their energy properly.
On the other hand, if you are an elderly lady who doesn’t often have guests and would like a calmer, quieter pet, stay away from adventurous cats: they’ll always find creative ways to amuse themselves, and you’ll likely become very exhausted, very quickly. It would be wiser to adopt a shy cat, who will feel reassured in this soothing environment.
The curious cat is ideal for a professional couple with one child and a stable routine, for example.
How to assess a cat’s character
Breeders, shelter staff, foster families, Mondou Adoption Zones specialists and others who may be taking care of a cat at the time of adoption, are in the best position to tell you how the animal behaves under their care. If you are able to spend some time with the cat roaming freely in a room for about 20 minutes, you’ll immediately notice certain patterns.
Having said that, 15 minutes is hardly enough time to get a real sense of a cat’s character. Every cat’s capacity to adapt differs according to their environment and social training. Give them time to get used to their environment, and keep an eye on them as they explore. After all, cats are territorial, and most of them need to explore their environment before focusing on humans.
Speaking of which, let’s address the myth that you should choose the first cat that comes to you given that, because of their sharp instincts, cats are more likely than you to make the right choice. Based on what you have read so far, you should know that the first cat to come to you will most likely be the adventurous type. Ask yourself, Is this really the kind of cat I want? Consider this carefully.
Bring along an unbiased friend
A good tip is to bring a friend along who is aware of your selection criteria. Too often, people allow themselves to be charmed by a cat’s looks or colour, forget all about their selection criteria, and end up choosing a cat which is the total opposite of what they had in mind.
Having a friend along who is not emotionally attached to your choice means you’ll have someone to remind you of your selection criteria. If you fall for a beautiful cat and forget all about your criteria, you might end up with a pet that doesn’t meet your needs, and vice-versa, for the next 10, 15 or 20 years.
Remember, behaviour can change over time
A cat’s behaviour can change drastically in the first 14 weeks, which is the minimum amount of time kittens should remain with their mothers. Generally speaking, the situation should be reassessed during this timeframe. Adopting a kitten may be very attractive to you, but they can often be exhausting in the first year, and their personality may vary over time. If you go for an adult cat, you’ll know exactly what type of cat you’re dealing with, and may notice that they are often calmer.
Lastly, choosing a cat responsibly and whose behaviour meets your needs is a responsible choice that will pay off in the long run, both for you and for your furry friend, who will be purring the years away in the comfort of your home!
Now, you just need to get to the nearest shelter or visit Mondou Adoption Zones.