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Well.... the title pretty much sums it up. I'm thinking about getting a cat in the next 1-3 months and registered here to get some information. I'm thinking about several possibilities including: Maine Coon, Norwegian Forest Cat, Siberian, Ragdoll, or Turkish Van. Hoping to get some feedback from experienced owners as to the pros and cons of these breeds.
 

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They're all a bit different, try something like the Animal Planet app Animal Planet :: New breeds . At the end it gives you a good description of the breeds and has basic information. Each cat is very different, and while people can tell you what is expected of a certain breed, you could end up with one completely different.

I will say that having a Maine Coon is like having a pet hairball that sheds every couple hours. :)
 

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A purebred description can look like everything you want in a cat, but reality is every single cat is different and basing a cat on breed description, or on looks, can be a pretty fatal mismatch that you get stuck with for ~15 years. Getting a kitten also is not what I would suggest for a first time cat owner, they are full of energy and their true personality has not yet developed -- a sweet kitten can grow into a standoffish cat, although not often it certainly happens! When you get an adult their personality is already set.

I would instead visit your local shelter(s) and continue visiting until you find a cat you connect with on a personal level.

Another important thing here is if you're thinking of getting a cat in 1-3 months, you are not likely going to have enough time to properly research out the breed you want, and after all of that comes finding a cattery that is acceptable. A lot of breeders may sound great online but in person it's a different story, so you will want to visit the cattery. Backyard breeders for the popular breeds like the Ragdoll are all over the place but you do not want to support them! Meanwhile, a breed like the Turkish Van you likely will not find anywhere close to where you live, meaning you will need to pay for airfare and also you will never get to meet the kitten before owning it or be able to access the cattery by going and visiting them.

A purebred should cost 800+ dollars meaning they're health tested, the parents are health tested often for any known genetic conditions, they have papers from an official organization, they come with a health guarantee etc. ... so it's not something you just want to jump into, if you're paying that kind of money you want to make sure you aren't funding an irresponsible person. Like I said, most people here will likely say it's a better, and cheaper, option to go out and save a life from a shelter, most members here do not have a purebred.

PS: You'd be surprised by the number of purebreds (or so close to purebred that they must be very close) you might find in a shelter. I have seen Bengals and Burmese locally.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I appreciate the feedback thus far. This actually won't be the first cat I've owned. The last one was a stray that we trapped. In terms of temperament he was pretty much perfect except when we had to give him a bath. Despite living the first year and a half or so of his life outside he had no desire to go back out. My now ex-wife would sometimes open the door to let him out and he would just look at her like she was nuts and turn around and walk back in. He was my study buddy and insomnia companion. Unfortunately I just was not in a position to have any kind of pet when the marriage crashed and the ex wound up giving him away.

I am not dead set against getting a more or less full grown cat or a shelter cat, but I'm leery of shelter cats. I visit the local shelter fairly regularly and have seen some kind of bizarre behaviors from their cats. The last time that I was in there things seemed to be going swimmingly with a large longhair- very affectionate, purring, then turned around out of the blue and hissed and clawed me. I understand that breed characteristics are not guaranteed, and that the Maine Coon kitten you are expecting to be large, friendly, and tolerant of kids can wind up being small mean and skittish. But it just seems that you will have more of a chance of getting the temperament and size that you want when you select a breed that has been bred for those characteristics.

The price range that you mention is about where I had placed them from earlier research. My main concern is knowing how to tell a good breeder from a bad one should I go the purebred route. I'm not totally sold on anything yet, but I do have a set of physical and temperamental characteristics that I'd like. In my mind I have sort of the ideal cat checklist- it looks a lot like Fluffy(last cat), but I can't have him now. Most of the breeds that I mentioned in my first post were chosen because they are known to have some similar characteristics to Fluff.

Large, friendly, long haired, not overly talkative, affectionate but not demanding. Fluff would come to me whenever I wanted him to but kind of kept his distance unless I called him. He wasn't declawed, but seemed to be content to concentrate solely on our old, ratty couch to sharpen his claws on. He hated spiders. If he found one it was the only time he got talkative. He'd keep an eye on it and stay close to it while constantly meowing, but never attack them. He seemed content to let us get rid of them.

It occurs to me now that I miss him more than I realized.
 

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Any rescues in your area? We got our kittens from a rescue. All of the cats/kittens are in foster homes until they are ready to be adopted...then moved to an adopt-shop. The rescues do a great job of getting them socialized and would know a lot about temperament and if a certain cat is a match for you. There may be a cat out there in a similar situation to your former cat that just needs to be placed in a new home because of family situations...good cats ready for a home. Just a thought. Have you looked into petfinder.com? Just throwing out this option.
 

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I am not dead set against getting a more or less full grown cat or a shelter cat, but I'm leery of shelter cats. I visit the local shelter fairly regularly and have seen some kind of bizarre behaviors from their cats.
Please don't allow your experience with one shelter to taint your view of all shelter cats. If you see negative behavior from their cats on a regular basis, my guess it's because they don't do much socialization training, but not all shelters have that issue.

I would suggest that you check other shelters nearby, or local rescues, or Petfinder.com. Finding a pleasant, well-behaved cat at an animal shelter is really not that difficult - but not all shelters are created equal, and unfortunately some hinder their pets socially rather than helping them learn better social behaviors.
 

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I would just like to add that depending on breed characteristics don't always work out as I have a Tonkinese (Sylvie) who are known for their friendliness with their humans. Sylvie is a friendly cat but in small doses as she prefers to sleep on a bed or her cat bed - ten minutes tops for lap sitting/sleeping. I love her dearly so it doesn't matter to me but to someone who wanted a lap cat she would be a disappointment.
 

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I am not dead set against getting a more or less full grown cat or a shelter cat, but I'm leery of shelter cats. I visit the local shelter fairly regularly and have seen some kind of bizarre behaviors from their cats. The last time that I was in there things seemed to be going swimmingly with a large longhair- very affectionate, purring, then turned around out of the blue and hissed and clawed me.
This kind of reaction can happen from any cat. :dis Shelter cats are normally frightened, lonely, and have lost trust. You have to EARN their trust enough for them to feel comfortable with you. Every cat I've adopted except one has been a senior or adult that I needed to win over. Love, patience, understanding and patience, and did I mention patience?? will win them over.

For me the fun is in the chase. I vow to make them love me and they always do - eventually. We learn how to know each other much like a human dating process. There are days we get grumpy with each other and days we are head over heels in love. Days we hiss and swat and days we kiss and make up. Did it occur to you that maybe you touched a sore spot? Lacey's shoulder was sore for days after her chip was implanted. Or a sensitive spot like a tummy? Some cats can be super sensitive and it takes patience (did I mention that?).

You may find the physical attributes of the cat of your dreams only to find out he is aloof or skittish. Our Maine Coon was like that. There are no guarantees that you will get beauty AND a great personality. Best of luck in your search. I say all this to say please don't discount a shelter cat. There could be your new BFF right there under your nose. Give hissing kitty a second chance. Ask the shelter workers if this is normal for her, but my gut tells me she is nervous and just needs some time to fall in love.
 

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I am not dead set against getting a more or less full grown cat or a shelter cat, but I'm leery of shelter cats. I visit the local shelter fairly regularly and have seen some kind of bizarre behaviors from their cats. The last time that I was in there things seemed to be going swimmingly with a large longhair- very affectionate, purring, then turned around out of the blue and hissed and clawed me.

...

It occurs to me now that I miss him more than I realized.
I think there's a bit of a problem here. If your measuring stick is a cat you've lost and miss, no other cat is going to pass. You really need to view the new cat on its own merits, you aren't going to find Fluff in the body of another cat. What you can find is a cat you're willing give a chance to, to give it time to learn from you and to trust you, and for you to learn its own unique mannerisms -- I can almost guarantee you will fall in love with those characteristics just as much.

Cats at shelters are often kept in cages, in a strange environment and with constant commotion around them. That doesn't mean they should be discredited, and I think you should look around multiple shelters until you find the cat you want.

As for what to look for in a good cattery, here's a post I made recently in another thread:
http://www.catforum.com/forum/39-breeding/231577-adopting-retired-breeder.html#post1467673
 

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I so agree, don't base your decision on shelter cats being the way you have seen them, they are afraid, in cages, lost or abandoned and confused, and so sad. Cats take time to really show their true personality, and you just can't determine it in the cage. This is why I always think an older cat is easier to learn more about their personality, they are usually more calm and often times, the shelter workers know enough about them to give you an idea of what you are looking at. They want it to work out, so they are not going to talk you into taking a cat that has crazy behaviour issues if you are looking to avoid that, they want the best outcome for the cat too.

I have a cat that my vet is fairly certain is a main coon, probably just a mix, but has the look and characteristics of one, and he is the sweetest cat I've ever owned. He is my avatar picture. They are pretty quiet, laid back cats, he is pretty shy with people he does not know, he has this very distinct little meow that is common in maine coons. He is such a sweetheart. All 3 of mine are strays, they all found me and I can't imagine my life without any of them. My biggest snuggler and lap cat is Stephano, a solid black little boy that we found int he woods behind my work a year ago. We believe he was dumped, along with his brother, and we were lucky enough to find a home for brother and I took him. Most lovable cat I have ever had, he appreciates his home so much, he was just so relieved when we saved him, he literally did not leave my lap or my arms for the first 3 days he was so exhausted and relieved to be loved.

I always believe the cat chooses the person. That's the way it has always been for me, always, every cat I have ever had. I would go around to places that have rescue cats on the weekend, like the Petsmarts and Petcos around me have rescue groups that bring their animals there on the weekends to try to find them homes, and start holding some of them and checking them out. Every one I know that is always on the lookout for a cat, they seem to find their cat this way, they may hold 100 different cats, and it just takes that one to know that it is a fit, you just feel it. They just relax in your arms, and lick your face and melt, and then they melt your heart, and it's done! You've been picked!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I hadn't heard of Petfinder. That looks quite promising. I do agree that animals tend to choose the person. Fluff chose me. Looking back it's kind of funny. My now ex wanted a cat and there was a stray around my in laws. I told her that he would be her cat and I wasn't picking up after him or anything. Fluff had other plans. He gravitated towards me from day one. I'd ignore him, he'd hop on the couch and lie down next to me. If I left the room, he'd wait a couple of seconds then saunter after me- either watch me if I was doing something or lie down next to me if I was seated. At some point I pretty much just crumbled and acknowledged that I was his human.

Well, I'll give rescue/shelter a shot. It's still going to be at least a month until I can bring one home- maybe more. Petfinder was kind of a revelation. I found numerous cats that, at least in descriptions, seemed to match perfectly the temperament I am looking for. Just might have to drive a few hundred miles.
 

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Glad Petfinder helped. Not all cats are listed there, so be sure and visit the individual rescue website for a complete list of cats. Just remember that a shelter is a temporary place that cats go to when no longer wanted, are strays or can't be cared for any longer due to whatever, sometimes lame, reason people can think of. All of my cats have been adopted from shelters. As a matter of fact I make it a point of adopting from high kill shelters. I've yet to find a cat that wasn't appreciative. They may not know they were in a kill shelter, but they seem to know they've been rescued and given a safe loving home. I'm VERY glad you are keeping an open mind about this. Thank you. Also, don't forget Craigslist. People rehome cats there all the time. Might be saving someone from going to a shelter.
 

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