General Feline Care and Health - Frequently Asked Questions
1. My cat isn't feeling well. Can you help me determine what is wrong with him?
We are sorry to hear that your cat is not feeling well. However, the Cat Fanciers' Association is not staffed to provide veterinary information or assistance on an individual basis. Visiting your own veterinarian is your best course of action.
2. Which breed of cat do you recommend for someone who has allergies?
Unfortunately, there is not one breed of cat that has a 100% guarantee not to cause reactions in an individual who is sensitive to cat allergens. Some people find that several of the shorthair breeds are less aggravating to people with allergies, especially if the cat is given a bath every other week or so. A great deal would depend on the severity of the allergy and what one is willing to put up with just for the pleasure of having a cat.
3. My cat is a male, but he is a calico. Is he valuable, or just extraordinary?
While it is fairly rare, occasionally there are male cats who exhibit the female colors such as tortoiseshell and calico. Male cats of these colors have no significant value in a breeding program and are often sterile. While they are unique, they are not considered to be of an exceptional monetary value.
If he is a pedigreed cat, you will be able to register him as a male; however, it is our policy to register males of a female color as "not for breeding." Once registered, he would be eligible to be shown only in the AOV category of his breed.
If he is unregistered, male domestic cats exhibiting these female colors can be shown in the Household Pet Class.
4. Can you tell me which breed my cat is?
Unless the kitten/cat you have was purchased from a breeder, it is most likely that the cat is not of any one specific breed. Random-bred cats exhibit their own unique features and are often found in beautiful color combinations. Your cat is most likely a random-bred cat who exhibits a combination of different gene pools. While there are many random-bred cats that exhibit certain qualities and features of pedigreed breeds, it is almost impossible to tell if a cat is truly of a certain breed without the availability of a pedigree or registration papers.
5. My cat has FIP. Can I do anything to save him?
Unfortunately, FIP is a devastating disease and it is almost always fatal. As always, your veterinarian is your best source for information and will work with you to keep your cat comfortable as long as possible.
6. I'd like to give my daughter a kitten as a present. What do you recommend?
Many breeders make it a standard practice not to sell their kittens as "presents." Most breeders prefer that a new kitten not be introduced into a strange household during the rush and excitement of Christmas, a birthday, Mother's Day, or other major holiday. Many breeders will also require that the recipient of the kitten picks out his/her own kitten so that they get the treasured companion that they are seeking.
Sometimes, a photo of a specific breed with a gift certificate for a kitten would be a better way to go. A book about a specific breed and their care is always a good first step. A surprise trip to a breeder's home for a pre-arranged visit to choose a kitten could be another way to handle this gift. If preference in breed and color is unknown, an appropriate alternative would be to include a gift certificate for a "kitten of your choosing" with the card.
As the recipient is ultimately going to be the responsible care-giver for this cat for several years, it is important that s/he is a part of the original decision process.
7. Why do cats always land on their feet?
The ability of cats to land on their feet is a result of their fine sense of balance and body position. These characteristics give them a real advantage because they can use their legs to cushion the fall and are then in a position to immediately run, jump, or move in any direction that might be necessary.
8. I need to move across country with my cat. Any advice?
When moving your household long distances, you may find that traveling by car with your cat(s) is the only option.
When traveling by car, your cat should be confined to a carrier at all times. You will want to strap the carrier into a seat belt for added safety.
The majority of cats will curl up and sleep after a period of meowing to let you know that they are there. If their favorite cat bed is in the carrier, they will most likely be much happier. If your cat does have a known aversion to traveling by car, you can talk to your veterinarian about ways to make your cat safe and comfortable.
If a hotel stay is required, you must check with your hotel property/chain to be sure that pets are welcome in their rooms. Hotel etiquette is always important when traveling with a pet. You must also be fully prepared with a litter pan, litter, food, dishes, garbage bags and toys.
If traveling by car is not an option, cats in carriers are allowed as carry-on baggage in the cabin of aircraft with a pre-purchased ticket. The rules and regulations for taking a cat as excess baggage (in the luggage area of the plane) have recently changed and if you are considering this option, you must check with the airline for current regulations. Direct flights are always recommended when traveling with pets.
Another alternative is to leave your cat with friends who can ship the cat via air cargo to you once you have arrived at your new destination. This again requires pre-planning and is subject to airline restrictions which include weather conditions at both the departing and arrival cities. If you choose this option, a direct flight is always the best choice.
Note that whether you are taking your cat in cabin or shipping the cat, the airline will require a current health certificate. Check with the airline for any other required paperwork.
If you and your cat are traveling to an overseas destination, you must be aware of the import regulations of the countries you will be entering. Some countries require quarantine for a period of time, while others merely require certain vaccinations and health certificates.
9. Is my cat considered special because he has extra toes on each paw?
Extra toes on a cat are a genetic anomoly known as "Polydactyl." A cat that is a polydactyl is not a special breed. Often, these types of cats are known as a "hemingway" cat because the cats on the Ernest Hemingway estate in Florida exhibit this trait.