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Should You Get a Moggy or a Pedigree Cat?
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Should You Get a Moggy or a Pedigree Cat?

Cats
General
Breed Facts

So you have decided that you want to get a cat. But perhaps you don’t really want an ordinary cat or kitten, a ‘moggy’ or non-pedigree such as you can find offered for free in your local paper, or at a rescue organisation or pet shop for a very small charge. Maybe you’ve always hankered after an ‘aristocat’, or a cat of a particular breed. Is this a good idea? How do you go about obtaining one? And which breed should you get?

Is a Pedigree Cat a Good Idea?

There are dozens of cat breeds, including some you may never have heard of. But do think carefully about this. Pedigree cats are expensive. You can expect to pay around £400 upwards for a pedigree pet kitten from a reputable breeder, perhaps more than this for an unusual or a new breed, or if you want to show your new cat. Also some pedigree cats need special care and attention. The classic case is the beautiful long-haired Persian cat. Every year, a large number of people fall in love with gorgeous fluffy Persian kittens, only to find out later on that caring for a Persian is too much for them. These cats need daily grooming, in some cases twice a day. If you don’t keep up with the brushing and combing and their fur becomes too matted, you will need to make a trip to the vet – with the corresponding expense - to get the matted fur shaved off. Some of them also need attention to their eyes, for their flat faces means they have a tendency to blocked tear ducts. Persians are really not for everyone.

Then there is the elegant Siamese, a favourite with many people. But these cats, and their cousins the Burmese, need lots of human company, so they aren’t suitable if everyone in the household is out at work all day. And they have very loud voices, which drive some owners mad. I have had Siamese cats in the past, but I don’t think I’d do so again; they demand constant attention, and can become destructive if they don’t get it.

So do think long and hard before you get a pedigree cat. On the other hand, you do have some definite idea of the personality of an aristocat, whereas with a moggy you take pot luck to a certain extent. And they are definitely lovely cats.

How do You Obtain a Pedigree Cat?

Perhaps you have decided that despite the cost and difficulties, a pedigree cat is what you want. Firstly, you will need to find a breeder. You can find these online without too much difficulty. However, it might be a good idea to visit a cat show, ask around, and try to find out which breeders are good. Most breeders love and take care of their cats, but there are always a few who simply do it for the money – the feline equivalent of the notorious 'Puppy Farms'. Steer well clear of people like this, or you may find yourself with a kitten which has health problems or hasn't been properly socialised. If you do go to a good breeder, expect to be asked some searching questions about how you will care for the kitten, whether you intend to let it go outside – some breeders insist that their kittens remain indoors – and so on. Good breeders love their kittens, and can be particular, often extremely particular, about who they sell them to. I was turned down twice when looking for a Maine Coon kitten as I intended to let him go outside, even though I lived in a safe, traffic-free area in the depths of the country. It should be noted that most pedigree kittens will come fully vaccinated, but you will probably have to spay or neuter them yourself when they are old enough.

You can sometimes find pedigree kittens advertised in newspapers or on websites. Getting a kitten in this way may be fine, but research carefully, and ask to see all the relevant papers, pedigree certificates etc. it is not unknown for moggies to be advertised as particular breeds and sold in this way. Be careful, and if a kitten appears too cheap, there is probably a good reason for it.

Which Breed Should You Get?

Ultimately it is up to you. But, as explained above, some breeds are a lot of work, and others may not suit some people or households. So research the breed you want carefully. Again, it would be a good idea to visit a cat show and ask owners what a particular breed is like, and how it should be cared for. You might find that you change your mind; for instance, you decide to get a Birman, Ragdoll, or some other long haired cat in preference to a Persian, as the semi-longhairs involve far less work.

Should You Have a Moggy After All?

You might want to bear in mind that many non-pedigree cats, especially older ones, are in need of homes, whereas pedigree cats are always in demand. Indeed, there can be a shortage of some breeds. So if you want to be doing a cat a good turn, and easing the constant strain on animal rescue organisations, a moggy is what you should get. There will be more choice, it will cost much less, and non-pedigree cats can be just as beautiful and lovable as the pedigrees.

Furthermore, it is sometimes said that that moggies are longer lived and stronger, owing to a certain amount of inbreeding among pedigree cats. There may be a certain amount of truth in this. However, I have known pedigree cats that have lived into their late teens and even longer (my two Siamese lived to be over 17), so I’m not sure if this is really the case all the time.

Hopefully, you now have a better idea of what kind of cat to get. But remember, whichever one it is, it is sure to turn out to be the best cat in the world for you, and that is how it should be.

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