All too frequently, people choose their companion animals without thinking. This also happens when choosing a cat. Some people clearly know that a cat is the animal of their dreams. Many others choose a cat when they consider their circumstances, after realizing how suitable this animal is for our present way of living.
But, what kind of cat? Male or female? Long- or short-haired? Purchased or adopted? Purebred or mixed breed?
A cat is not a second-hand pet, although some people choose cats when they realize that they cannot take care of the special needs of a dog: in many countries close to Spain cats are the first option when choosing a pet.
You can gather the specific characteristics of each breed from specialized sources. But will this information be sufficient if you want to know about a certain individual’s behaviour? Unfortunately not. A cat’s personality not only depends on the standard behaviour of its breed, but also on this specific specimen’s line and on the selection process carried out by the breeder: what he has promoted and what has he tried to avoid during breeding. Certain characteristics are predictable, but again certain types of behaviour may be more influenced by the environment in which young kittens have been raised than by their genetic makeup.
Kittens are more receptive to socializing with other living beings, of their own and other species, when they are between two and seven weeks old. It is thus vital that they receive sufficient exposure and contact with people during their first seven weeks of life. This is a very important guideline for the animal’s future behaviour, and not following it can cause the adult cat to be insufficiently socialized, making it more difficult or even impossible to correct future problems.
Different types of conflicts may appear between cats and humans when they live together, among them the ones related to sexual conduct. These conflicts can make you decide to neuter or spay your pet if you have decided not to breed it. Neutering will reduce the odour of a male cat’s urine so it is no longer unbearable, as well as reduce or eliminate behaviour such as fighting, marking and wandering. In the case of female cats, spaying reduces all of the irritating behaviour related to being in season.
Another important problem is territorial marking carried out with the sweat glands that cats have under their paws. This behaviour leaves visible marks in the form of vertical scratch marks that seriously deface their owner’s furniture. One of the best solutions is to provide vertical cat furniture and accustom the kitten to use it.
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Colegio Oficial de Veterinarios de Alicante
Mendez Nuñez, 38 · 03002 Alicante
Tel.: 96 521 41 11 · correo electrónico