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Discussion Starter #1
After getting a lot of help here, it appears I am down to picking a cat from one of four breeds.

Any advice or recommendations about which to select or avoid? Any differentiating characteristics that I am neglecting?

So here once again is my original criteria list:
  • Short hair, low grooming needed – I am a bit sensitive to cat, but I just got my cat allergy tests back and they came back NEGATIVE! So I am really excited to move forward wuth this,
  • I don’t want a lot of shedding and prefer a cat that requires minimal owner grooming.
  • Small-ish sizes – I live in a 900 sq ft condo and this will be a strictly indoor cat. I just think that a big cat would not be as happy here. I think I listed my candidates below in order of size.
  • Personality – I want one with an outgoing personality. Affectionate, playful, likes being held and petted, etc. Being vocal is great too.
  • Water – I have heard that some cats even LIKE playing in or with water (or at least tolerate it or can be trained to). I know that’s rare by this would be great. Either a cat that does this naturally (Bengal Cat) or one that could be trained to tolerate baths if started at an early age.
  • Coloring – I prefer lighter colored cats, or tiger or spotted like ones like a tabby or Bengal. I could also like a solid color cat (if it was light-to-medium color). I don’t prefer the ones that are light but have a dark face on them.
At this point I am leaning towards any of these breeds:
  • Singapura
  • Abyssinian
  • Egyptian Mau
  • Ocicat
Any recommendations of differentiating facts I should know about?

Any help with be greatly appreciated.

I just want to make the right selection for myself, and to have a happy cat in a happy home.
 

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All of the breeds you mention are relatively rare and finding a local reputable breeder may be a challenge. I would never buy a cat unseen from a breeder I didn't meet or see their facilities and other cats. So you may be able to whittle this list down just by seeing what choices you have within a distance you're willing to travel.

For me, all the breeds you mention are similar enough, that seeing where they come from would take precedence over the minute differences in breed characteristics.
 

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I'd vote for any cat you can adopt from a shelter. There is tremendous satisfaction knowing that you got a cat out of a cage. Some of them have been there for a year or more, just waiting for someone to notice them. And if our local SPCA is any indication, there are often breed cats in the shelter waiting for adoption, just like the DSHs.
 

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I have never owned any of your suggested breeds, so when it comes to breed, I can't tell you any more than you would read on the web, and I imagine you've already done that. So, I will just make a few points that may or may not pop up in your reading:

a) Shedding/grooming. All of your selected breeds are shorthairs and should require minimal grooming. The extent to which any particular cat (within these breeds) will shed will depend on (a) the cat itself, and is thus a bit unpredictable, and (b) other factors that you can influence once you've adopted your cat, such as a good diet and minimal stress, both of which will promote a healthy coat.

b) Size. I believe you have listed the breeds in order of size (certainly the Singapora is a very small cat). If a small cat is important, then once you have determined which breed, you might consider a female -- since, within any breed females tend to be smaller than males.

c) Personality. The personality of any cat is detemined primarily by three factors (a) breed; (b) upbringing/history/environment; and (c) the cat (i.e., the cat's inherent personality). Breed is likely the least important of these three factors. For that reason, I strongly agree with doodlebug...I would never adopt a cat sight unseen. First, you need to see the facilities and understand how the kittens have been raised: in cages with minimal socialization, or underfoot amongst the breeder's family. In the former case, you could end up with a cat that does not display the "normal" breed personality, due to a lack of early socialization. Second, you also need to interact with the cat (kitten). Admittedly, a kitten's personality is not fully formed, although you can glean certain traits, such as whether kitten seems outgoing or on the shy/skittish side, etc. If you're dealing with a reputable breeder, he or she should also be able to give you information as to the personality of any particular kitten.

As doodlebug mentioned, some of the breeds you have listed are quite rare (particularly the latter two). So, unless you're willing/able to hop on a few planes, you might find your decision is dictated in part by the type of breeders available in your area.
 

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If you want an outgoing cat, a lapsitter, lovely temperament, no grooming, small to medium size, very playful and moderately active (not as active as Aby, EM, or Cornish Rex) did you consider a Devon Rex? :love2 ....course I'm slightly prejudiced. :wink

Breed: Devon Rex
 

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I'd vote for any cat you can adopt from a shelter. There is tremendous satisfaction knowing that you got a cat out of a cage. Some of them have been there for a year or more, just waiting for someone to notice them. And if our local SPCA is any indication, there are often breed cats in the shelter waiting for adoption, just like the DSHs.
I agree! Get a shelter kitty! :)
 

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We went though the shelter kitty thing on his other thread. He's set on a purebred.
 

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I agree, never adopt a cat you can't first meet.

Besides checking out what's avaible in your area (sometimes nothing is!) you can also try and find if any cat shows will be in your area.

For example, I went to a cat show a few months ago where the breeders there had brought cats from all over the country and from America too. Some of them had kittens for sale as well. Sadly, the show didn't have a lot of breeds (rather, about three breeds were in almost every other cage - one of which I remember was the Bengal)... I recall there were Abyssinian kittens for sale and there were Singapura although I can't recall if those were for sale. Anyway, it's worth looking into if there's a cat show coming to your area in the next few months.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
It turns out that there is a cat show coming up like 5 miles from where I live. As much as I don't want to wait (3 weeks), maybe that's a good idea.

http://www.sandiegocat.org/

There is a Singapura available not far from me. I may visit. Of course if I do there's a good chance that I won't leave without getting the cat! LOL

The nearest Egyptian Mau breeder is a 5 hour drive away, so even checking them out initially (before actually getting a cat) is difficult.

A local Aby breeder (which is supposed to be very "reputable") will not allow ANY visitors unless you have put down a deposit and are actually picking up a cat! Is that weird? So I am to just "trust" that they have a good breeding program and good atmosphere for the kittens, instead of a bunch of wire cages in the backyard? I can see them not wanting people to *handle* the kittens at first, but am I asking too much to be able to just go and check out the *breeder's* facility first? This just seems odd to me.
 

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IMO, any reputable breeder of any animal (cats, dogs, horses, etc) will be proud to show off their operation to prospective buyers. Not only does it give the client a chance to observe their operation but it gives a good breeder who cares about their animals a chance to observe the prospedtive owner.

A reputable breeder, again imo, won't sell to just anyone who provides a deposit. They'll want to make sure their animal is going to a great home.

5 hours isn't a far drive for a breeder who shows. If you contact that Singapura breeder they might be attending that show and might be willing to bring the cat along for you to meet.
 

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So here once again is my original criteria list:
  • Short hair, low grooming needed – I am a bit sensitive to cat, but I just got my cat allergy tests back and they came back NEGATIVE! So I am really excited to move forward wuth this,
  • I don’t want a lot of shedding and prefer a cat that requires minimal owner grooming.
Just keep in mind that a short haired cat does not necessarily mean less shedding. Our DSH sheds ALOT more than our DLH.
 

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You may just look at shelters, when i was adopting there were alot of purebreeds that were there, owners couldn't afford the heath care cost associated with pure breeds. I also registered at some pure breed charities. I wanted a ragdol and there are some societies dedicated to rehoming just these breeds. I ended up falling for a DSH tabby boy - but there you go! He is everything on your list lol!! (and sheds alot, we groom everynight!)
 

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A local Aby breeder (which is supposed to be very "reputable") will not allow ANY visitors unless you have put down a deposit and are actually picking up a cat! Is that weird? So I am to just "trust" that they have a good breeding program and good atmosphere for the kittens, instead of a bunch of wire cages in the backyard? I can see them not wanting people to *handle* the kittens at first, but am I asking too much to be able to just go and check out the *breeder's* facility first? This just seems odd to me.
IMO, any reputable breeder of any animal (cats, dogs, horses, etc) will be proud to show off their operation to prospective buyers.
I'd be wary of anyone who refuses to let you see their facility and cats until you are picking up a cat. That gives you no recourse if you don't like what you see. However, I disagree that any breeder would be willing to just show off their operation to anyone who asks.

Breeders are selective about the people they have coming through their homes. First...it's their home, not necessarily a place of business. Second can expose their cats and kittens to various diseases. Third...it can chew up a good portion of their time. Most breeders hold down jobs because breeding and showing cats is an expensive hobby, so their time is limited.

With that in mind, what I've seen on many breeder websites (this is what Holly's breeder did too) is that you email/talk with them, they send you pictures. You give them a deposit to hold the cat, which is fully refundable until you have a chance to visit. Once the kittens receive their first vaccines (about 6 weeks), you can visit and decide whether to go forward. If you back out before the kitten is ready you lose part of your deposit. So be prepared to put some money down to show you're serious before you visit.
 
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