This is another area where myths and rumors seem to run wild. If you know someone who has only had male cats, they’ll be able to rattle off all of the great qualities of a male and numerous shortcomings of females. They’ll tell you how much smarter and outgoing males are. Longtime owners of females will quickly dispute that and add how territorial males are.

 Here’s the truth. Once a cat is spayed or neutered, it doesn’t matter if you choose a male or a female. Hormones are what usually drive undesirable behavior such as a spraying male or a yowling female in heat. Simply by having the cat spayed or neutered, you can control that. Left intact, I don’t care whether you choose a male or female, you’ll be one unhappy cat owner. Intact males are territorial and they will spray. If allowed outdoors, they’ll roam and get into countless fights that could lead to injury or death. Intact females, when in heat call relentlessly in search of a male and will try to sneak outdoors every chance they get. Neutered and spayed cats make much better companions. They won’t spend their lives in frustration,

their risk of certain types of cancers will be reduced, and you won’t spend your days pulling your hair out.

Purebred Cats

Although most cat owners choose non-pedigreed cats, you may have your heart set on a purebred.

Lovers of purebred cats will argue that there are hundreds of reasons to go that route versus mixed-breed, but I’m going to assume you’re a novice in the cat world and focus on what I feel would be of the most important to a new cat owner.

When considering a purebred, make certain you’re aware of any possible genetic health concerns prone to that particular breed. Do your homework before deciding on a purebred. Read breed-specific books and check cat registry Web sites. Talk to your veterinarian, breeders, and owners of the breed you’re considering. Visit cat shows in your area to get a closer look. Talk with the breeders who are there to show their cats.

In the dog world, you find big dogs, bigger dogs, small dogs, even smaller dogs, hunting dogs, herding dogs, sporting dogs, guard dogs, long-haired, short-haired, floppy eared, perky-eared, long-nosed, pug-nosed, vocal dogs, and quiet dogs. Such variety! In the cat world, the greatest variety exists mainly within the purebreds. Let’s take size, for example: if you want a very large cat, you’d probably be interested in the Maine Coon Cat. If an athletic cat is more to your liking, there are several breeds to choose from, for example, the Abyssinian. So, if you like specific physical traits or a certain personality type, purebreds can be more predictable. This could be an important factor in your decision-making process. Within the world of purebreds, you’ll find cats with folded ears, bobbed tails, no tails, kinked fur, no fur, or colors that could only exist in nature; cats who are talkers or known for being couch potatoes.

 Some breeds require special attention that you may not have the time, desire, or ability to provide. For example, several of the

long-haired breeds—such as Persians and Himalayans—require daily brushing or their hair will mat. Do you have the time required to care properly for this kind of cat?

Use the Internet for research when considering a purebred because there are many cat-related groups and lists. You can get lots of information from other owners of the type of cat in which you’re interested. Finally, there’s money. A purebred will cost you. Some are much more expensive than others but be prepared to pay.