Introduction

You have just acquired a cat, or you plan to acquire one. Perhaps a friend or neighbor has an extra kitten (or cat) and you have decided to take it, or you have chosen to buy one from a store or breeder. If you buy one, chances are you will make a more considered choice. In any event, you should think about several factors. Many of us, at one time or another, have lived with a cat, and we know what to expect.

We recognize that a cat may be loving and affectionate as well as independent, that it may be companionable and playful as well as withdrawn. Cats as individuals and as breeds differ from one another. We tend to speak in generalities, and we say that dogs are companions, whereas cats provide a different kind of experience. But such generalities lose sight of one important fact: your own cat. It is an individual. It has had a unique experience as a kitten, and each cat reacts to the household in which it grows up and lives. If your cat is an individual, then, what can you expect of it? A lot, of course, depends on what you are looking for. Have you defined your needs? Do you want a female for breeding purposes? Do you even want a bred cat, or do you simply want a cat a regular domestic house cat? Do you want a male? If so, do you know that about 95 percent of them have to be neutered when they reach sexual maturity? Are you looking for companionship? Or do you really only want something vital and vibrant around your house or apartment?