Feeling like a cuddly-but-aloof feline could complete your happy home? We get it: Cats offer plenty of companionship without the substantial hassles of dog walking, dog barking, and dog pooping. All of this makes kitties particularly ideal for small apartments or urban environments, right?
Sometimes! While cats may seem like perfect indoor pets in comparison to their sloppier and larger canine frenemies, not all cats thrive in small spaces. Certain breeds have off-the-charts (aka "bouncing off the walls") energy levels; some have an intense need for interaction that veers toward feline stalker territory; some protect their turf within your home with a near feral ferocity (ever get your hand clawed when you dare open your own closet?).
So before you scoop up any old fur ball and bring it home, take a moment to consider which breed might be best for your place and lifestyle. One word of warning: Just about all cats like to sharpen their nails on (aka scratch to shreds) furniture and other oft-precious objects.
"Unfortunately they haven't developed a scratchless cat yet," says Cyndy Bolte, senior scientist at Nestl Purina PetCare. And the once-common practice of declawing cats is now widely considered inhumane and even banned in some areas.
Don't panic! With some work on your part, you should be able to avoid a disaster with that prized Louis XV chair. This is what it boils down to: "Keeping your cat's nails short and providing ample scratching posts," Bolte says, adding that they should be placed in both horizontal and vertical positions just in case your feline has a strong preference for one or the other.
Yesterday, we highlighted the best dog breeds for apartment living. So today we're diving into some cat love. Let the cattiness begin, in a good way!
Do you secretly pine for a dog's friendly personality rather than an antisocial cat who'll ignore you all day? Then a Siamese may be the perfect cat companion. According to Bolte, this breed is "doglike" in its need for company -- it'll likely want to hang out with you wherever you go. And also similar to dogs, it has a lot of energy and loves to play. No, a sustained game of fetch may not be in the cards, but go ahead and break out your laser pointer for a lively evening within the comfort of your own home. Fun!
If a long-haired looker with a squished face and zero energy is more your thing, Persians are, well, purrfect. Nicknamed "furniture with fur," this breed will curl up on a favorite pillow and sleep away the day. Just be sure to give that coat a regular brushing or it will end up a knotty mess.
According to Bolte, this "large, laid-back" breed actually goes limp when you pick it up -- thus its name. This type is not only "more passive," Bolte says, but it's also very social. These little heartbreakers will meet you at the door and follow you from room to room. A ragdoll is a great choice if you have young kids who might not yet grasp a typical cat's prickly sense of boundaries.
Another case where personality wins over size: The social and beautiful breed with a long, bushy tail is one of the largest -- it weighs between 10 to 20 pounds -- and most popular. Despite their imposing image, they're lovers, not fighters, even earning the nickname "gentle giant."
Bolte agrees: "They're surprisingly docile." That may be news to any rodents who thought they could shack up in your space: These pussycats will patrol and hunt down any unwelcome guests.
Love leopard print? This kitty will match the decor. The stylish hybrid has been bred to look like a big cat, with those dark, spotlike markings. But there's no trace of the fierce hunter: Its personality is gentle yet playful. Still, "they're very active," Bolte says. Be prepared to install a "cat tree" or two for this little lord of the jungle.
Remember Mr. Bigglesworth, Dr. Evil's lap pet of choice in the "Austin Powers" movies? He's a breed called a sphynx, and it's not relegated to evil masterminds. In fact, for allergy sufferers -- and those who prefer their place free of fuzz -- this breed is ideal. And in spite of their crazy look, these felines still have a velvety pelt that feels nice rather than creepy to pet. They're also surprisingly friendly and playful, as well as being easy to keep clean. The only downside? They can get cold without a coat, but then again, that's what cat sweaters are for. Or so we're told.