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Deciding to bring a cat home is a thrilling time – so exciting, in fact, that it can be hard to do the research when you’re anxious for that furry bundle to be in your arms. We get it, and we’ve been there! As hard as it is, taking the time to think through the process will be worth it in the long run. Here’s what to consider…

Purebred: If you have your heart on a specific breed, make sure to do the research beforehand – not only about the breed, but the breeder as well. A reputable cat breeder will have references on hand and be able to answer all your questions (don’t be afraid to show up with lots of them!).

Special-needs cats are always looking for their furever homes. They might require special medication, have an impairment like blindness or deafness, or suffer from neurological problems. Says cat photographer Josh Norem in this touching article. “Cats are experts at not letting life get them down, so I’ve met a lot of cats with significant injuries, yet they still chase a string if you drag it by them. It’s quite remarkable.”

Adopting or rescuing: There are many cats in shelters that would make wonderful pets. Your best bet to get to know the cat before you bring him home. Look for cues in his personality that will help you decide whether or not he’s the right match for you and your family. There are thousands of homeless cats around the country – your local shelter is a great place to start!

Before you get another cat: Looking to expand your furry family? If you have a young and social kitty that seems lonely and would benefit from another feline’s presence, bringing home a four-legged friend could be a great idea. Just make sure you prepare for the meeting and take it slow. We like these tips (http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/cats/tips/introducing_new_cat.html)

A quick note on short-haired vs. long-haired: we recommend reading this article, which addresses the main differences between the two. And whatever the length, we encourage cat owners to invest in professional grooming services like Pampered Pets, which will keep your furry friend’s coat shiny and excess shedding at a minimum.

Good luck!