There are a number of things to consider when choosing a cat. Like all other animals each cat has its own unique personality and care requirements. However there are a few factors that can significantly affect your cat's behavior and care requirements. Making a careful decision when deciding which cat may be best for you will pay off for years as they can live for well over a decade.
It is hard not to make cuteness the deciding factor when standing over a box of meowing little fur balls. Kittens change and they do it pretty quickly. It's also true that the younger the cat the more initial care it will need. Being as the kitten stage is actually a very small portion of a cat's life it makes a lot of sense to consider things that last a little longer. Yeah we also know that we should eat less fat, less sugar and less salt but "Oh, look at all them kittens!". Now. that being said below are some things to think about before you even go kitten shopping, because you know what is probably going to happen when you do.
Of course its hard to resist a little ball of fur that seems fascinated by everything in its environment but cats mature quickly and even a just weaned kitten will begin acting like a regular cat a few quick months after you bring them home. If you decide on a kitten realize that you are also deciding on additional supervision, cat proofing, training and vet care like shots, worming and spaying or neutering.
All kittens are playful which is what captures a lot of hearts but this is a more a cats way of learning rather than an indication of their personality which may change drastically as they grow, personality is much easier to judge in adult cats. The relatively quick changes that occur as a kitten matures is hard for very young children to understand and can lead to problems when a toddler continues to try pull, poke or lug them around as your pet changes from kitten to cat.
One of the biggest factors in how much care your cat needs is the type of coat it has. Short coarse coats require the least maintenance with little or no additional care above what the cat does for them self. Maintenance primarily brushing and removing mats increase as coats get longer and finer and so do problems with hairballs.
Sure the luxurious coat of a well-groomed Persian is a pleasure to look at as well as touch these cats may require daily combing and brushing to keep them that way. Most allergic reactions to cats are actually caused by residue left behind as a cat licks it coat. A longer coat usually means more self grooming resulting in more residue and more shedding which spreads it around the home.
You might be thinking well if I get a hairless breed like the Sphynx I won't have to worry about grooming but the truth is that these cats may require the most care. Because they don't have the cat skin's natural protector, cat hair. This means you have to concern yourself with things like sensitivity to the sun, temperature, irritants and normal bumps and knocks that the furry cats take in stride.
Purebred cats have the same benefits and drawbacks as purebred dogs. The main benefit is predictability in appearance, size and general behavioral tendencies. A drawback is that along with the strict breeding required to reproduce these desirable traits some undesirable traits or a tendency for health problems may also be passed on. Some breeders breed for quantity rather than quality, which can increase the likelihood of problems.
Since the ancestry of domestic cats is unknown behavior, size and appearance traits are unpredictable. This is especially true of kittens that change considerably as they grow. Selecting a more mature cat allows you to better judge how they will look and act as an adult. If this is your first cat then this might be a consideration especially as far as behavior is concerned because cats tend to define their own personality.
The sex of a neutered or spayed cat has a negligible affect on cat personality although many owners swear that neutered males are the more outgoing of the two. Intact cats however are a whole different story. Intact males tend to be more territorial, less tolerant of other males and more likely to escape and run the neighborhood in search of females. Intact females will pace and yowl when they go in heat.