How to Choose the RIGHT Cat for Your Home

Why are There so Many Cats in Shelters, or Roaming Free?

People love kittens. They are furry and fun little packages of wonderful stuff. There is nothing more appealing and cute than a ball of fuzzy looking up at you with big eyes, kneading paws, and no parents to care for them. People are drawn to the idea of having that little life to nurture and raise as their own, something to love and cuddle, to kiss and hold. The problem is, kittens grow up to cats. They lose some of that “kitten charm” as they age and humans, sometime, and that loving feeling is replaced by the reality of the aloof Catitude, smell, shedding and damage a cat can cause.. not to mention the unexpected litter of little replicants they can produce. We humans are fickle creatures with short attention spans and little patience. Some folks use a gut feeling and don’t think all the way through to the end game, and suddenly that “fun and tiny” kitty grows up and becomes an unwanted guest in their home. It’s a small, but real, problem that happens every day, all over the country.

Sadly, some cats end up being unhomed, or rehomed, or turned in, or dumped, or abandoned. The reasons vary, people find out they have allergies, they have kids and don’t want the off chance of that child being hurt or catching “something” from the cat, a cat goes outside and never returns, the owner moves and can’t have the cat at “no pets allowed” new location, the owner finds out an adult cat is just not a good fit for their lifestyle. It’s no harm, no foul… right? WRONG… you wouldn’t just turn on a new born baby when it reaches it’s “Terrible Twos.” You don’t put an infant in a box and drop if off at a local Children’s Home. Society would frown on a parent opening the front door and letting a small child roam free, or driving into the country and dumping a baby on the driveway of a big farm. However, some of us have no issue doing these things to get rid of a cat. Maybe more often than you think.

It’s crazy when you look at the numbers… American citizens currently house 95.6 MILLION cats in our home. From that huge number, over 3.4 MILLION cats enter animal shelters across the USA every year. That giant number doesn’t include cat rescue organizations working hard to save and rehome cats, or “Free to a Good Home” kittens in a box that you see because someone didn’t spay/neuter a cat and they “got busy” doing cat things. Yearly, 1.4 MILLION cats are euthanized, and around 1.3 MILLION are adopted or returned to their homes for a second change and Forever. The number are staggering and increasing yearly. Those are REAL kitty lives that are snuffed out because we keep allowing cats to produce more cats instead of helping to reduce the population to a manageable and controllable level, and we keep making poor choices for kittens, and ourselves.

But How Do I Pick the Right CAT for Me?

First off, if you ask (or have asked) this question to yourself or in a family meeting… bravo and congratulations. Thank you for taking the time to consider all sides of the box before you grab a kitten from one. Cat ownership is a lifetime opportunity and obligation. You are taking a living creature and inserting it into your life, the lives of all those you love, and inserting yourself into the cats life as their parent, guardian, and the one thing they can count on every day. It’s a responsibility, and a true honor, to be loved by a cat… so don’t screw it up by not thinking it through

Here are some tips and things to think about when you’re considering bringing a cat home:

  • Adopt, Don’t Shop: Check your shelters and rescues first. Buying from a breeder or a box isn’t ideal when it comes to a cat. The selection is the same, a cat is a cat is a cat. There are few domestic cat “breeds” like you have with other pets. Buying a breeder, a box, or a “Free to a Good home” cat comes with risks. What is their history, what is their long term health, have they had the basic vaccinations or health check? With a rescue or shelter cat, you are assured of their condition prior to ownership and normally get paperwork to prove it. Be wise, help out the overpopulation, and Adopt, Don’t Shop.

  • Consider your home environment: are you setup to receive and manage a cat at your home? Is it cat friendly, or can you make it that way?

  • How much do you work, and where: are you in a job that requires your full dedication and all your time? Do you travel out of town a lot? Do you work at home and would a cat interfere with your workspace? How many hours a week are you out of home?

  • Don’t grab the first cat you see or are offered: There are a lot of cats in the sea of available felines. Don’t make a knee-jerk reaction and take a cat without fully vetting things. Think with your brain, not your heart.

  • Find a cat that responds to YOU and your family: Just be cause you LOVE the look of a certain cat does not mean they feel the same, or that they fit the mood and vibe of your life. If a cat is wrong for your environment, or doesn’t respond to you in a way that you think they should… MOVE ON. A cat is like your first love interest, it doesn’t always work out and you can’t change them to fit your expectations

  • Make it a “Match.Com” of kitties: It’s a smorgasbord of cats out there, make sure you see the crowd before you choose one to bring home. Don’t feel guilty if you “Swipe Left” of a couple kittens until you find the right one, don’t feel bad, those just weren’t meant to be. You’ll find the right fit if you just keep on searching.

  • Spend some added time with your final selection: Before you give the “Rose of Forever” to a single cat, hang out a bit. Check it out like you were buying a used car… are all the parts in good working order. If you see issues, ask about them… you’re not disqualifying a cat, you’re assuring it is healthy and getting all the help it needs. You could still take that one home and you’ll know all the potential issues or concerns they come with. NO SURPRISES!

  • Figure out a cats personality: If you want a cuddly cat that likes to be held, make sure the one you are choosing likes to be petted and carried around. You can’t force a cat into liking affection, any more than you can force another person to like holding hands or kissing. Again, NO SURPRISES!

  • Ask Questions: Ask about the animal, their health, their parents, what they currently eat, how they interact with other cats or with dogs or with kids. Ask if they try to run or if they are content inside, if they play well with others, if they are the dominate one in the litter, or if they were the runt. Ask and ask until you are empty and void of questions. Again, this is a lifetime commitment and you need to think of it that way. Animals are NOT throwaway items.

Have an idea of what YOU want in a cat and find that animal. Also, be fully aware that cats are not robots, they think and feel. A cat will act out or act up without notice, be prepared to see the unexpected and still love them. It’s a partnership between you and your chosen cat, so don’t put undue expectations or pressure on them to be the image of YOUR perfect cat.

Making Your House a CAT House

Preparing your living space for the incoming feline invasion is important and critical to making the animals transition to the new home seamless (as it can be). From moment one in your house it has to be THEIR house as well. If you setup the space for the kitty, they will adapt faster and learn the house rules (not that they will follow those rule… it’s a cat).

Here are somethings to consider when preparing your home for your new kitty:

  • Make one room your CAT room: Pick a room where you think you can confine your new housemate when you are gone. Having too much space to roam provides too many choices for your cat.

  • Once you’ve picked that space, outfit it for a cat lifestyle: Add in a litter box, food dish, water access, make sure there are ample hiding spaces for those cat aloof and alone times, fix up a comfortable sleeping area (and be prepared for them never to use it).

  • Let them fly solo until they are comfortable: Don’t force immediate meet & greets with other animals, neighbors, or the press for interviews. Let them settle in and EASE them into new introductions of important people in your life. Built the personal bond with the cat and their primary care giver first. Once they are comfortable with that person, then trust is formed. This makes all other introductions easier.

  • Cat Proof your Space: Learn what is toxic to cats and free your space of these items. Here are links to help you recognize what is potentially hazardous to your kitten. Also remember to remove anything breakable or important to you from shelves or high places.

    Common Cat Poisons: Poisonous Foods, Household Items and Plants – DodoWell – The Dodo

    Foods Toxic To Cats? 12 Most Common Foods Revealed! (

  • Create vertical space, places with great views, and get a scratching post: Cat’s love heights and can get to them. After capturing the high ground, they will watch the world and potentially even sleep in their high lofts. Cat’s love to see the outside world, so give them a room with a view. Have that scratching post and “gently correct” them towards it. This will help save wear and tear on your furniture (and legs).

You may go through some growing pains when it comes to behavior… but again, isn’t that the same as any growing human child? Be patient and correct with love, the animal will catch on. Keep in mind, as we’ve said before, this is a CAT with cat personality and attitude. Consider food choices as well. If you’re changing food from what they were fed in the shelter/rescue/box mix in the new food choice with the old, slowly changing the ratios until they are completely on the new food. A change in food can cause loose stool, which is gross and stinky. You may feed a cat the same food for 6 months and they love it… then on day 1 of the 7th month, they won’t touch it. Cats are finicky and fickle… and they are not trying to drive you crazy (or ARE they?)

In our scenario, you’ve considered wisely and made the right choice of the perfect cat, made your home THEIR home, made smart food choices and introduced them to all the new and important people in their family. This only leaves one important detail left… make the appointment to spay/neuter the animal.

Spay is the way, and neuter makes them cuter!

If you’re on the fence about getting your cat “fixed”, please read the first few paragraphs of this blog again. There are so many reasons to help your cat live a longer, healthier, happier, and more responsible life by having them spayed/neutered… and only two to not do it. Here is a list of reasons that are PRO Spay & Neuter; Why Spay or Neuter Your Cat? | Best Friends Animal Society.  Here are the two reasons people don’t…

1) They are going to breed new cats (dumb… read the first couple paragraphs yet again)

2) The owner is a procrastinator or lazy

You could throw a third point of “I can’t afford it.” National averages for a cat spay/neuter run $25 to $350, depending on your location and veterinarian of choice. The ASPCA hosts low-cost spay and neuter services in some cites in the country. Check your local directory for discount or low-cost locations in your area, or contact veterinarians around you for price quotes. The benefits are well worth the cost in this case. It’s just better for the animal, and to do your part to reduce the overpopulation problems.

In the end, a cat is exactly what you make of them. Choosing the RIGHT cat is all about your efforts to assure the choice is on par with your lifestyle and expectations. Cat’s aren’t bad by nature (the vast majority of them, at least), they’re just living their best life in the space you’ve given them. If you do your homework, consider the LIFETIME commitment that any pet ownership brings, and devote yourself to your kitty as much as they devote themselves to your (in their own weird and wacky way), then you’ve got the right formula for a long and happy life together.

That’s Freddie’s Dog Blog for this week. We hope you learned a thing or three and have a better overall feel for making a good choice in cat ownership for both your and the animal. If you like this posting, remember that we have a full and expanding library of all Freddie’s Dog Blogs on various topics. Use this link to access the entire selection; FREDDIE SEZ – Freddie’s Place (

From all of us at Freddie Central, thanks for spending the time with us this week. Come back again next week for another TAIL of wisdom and interest. Until then, we wish you happiness, health and to stay pet friendly! #FreddieSez