Most people know some common dog breeds and their differing personalities, traits and needs. Less people are aware of cat breeds and how they differ. However there are clearly some of you out there who are interested as we’ve been asked “what is the best cat breed for people who work?” Today we will try and answer this question so you can be better informed when choosing a new feline friend.
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What Are the Cat Breeds?
As with dogs, all domestic cats (with the rare exception of wild-crossed cats) are the same species, Felis catus. Various organisations, similar to the Kennel Club for dogs, register and define breeds of cat. There are between 40-60 breeds of cat depending which organisation is asked. Some more well-known ones include Maine coons, British blues, ragdolls, Birmans, Persians, Siamese, Tonkingese and the hairless sphynx cat. To be a registered pedigree cat, a cat must have proven lineage within a single breed. Cats can be bought and sold as a particular breed with no proven history. Do some research if cat breeds are important to you.
However, the most common kind of cat in the UK, and the one most people think of when they imagine ‘cat’, is the domestic shorthaired cat (DSH) or the domestic longhair (DLH) if you prefer longer fur. These cat types are not recognised breeds but are instead the equivalent of mixed or mongrel dogs. They are commonly called ‘mogs’ or ‘house cats’. In this article we will refer to them as a breed for simplicity’s sake.
So What’s the Best Cat Breed for a 9 to 5?
As you have probably guessed, it is impossible to answer this question in its entirety. There are many factors that come into play. The type of job, where you live, your neighbourhood, and a cat’s individual personality. Though we will try our best to give you some general advice, it may be better to recommend what ISN’T a good cat breed to have if you are busy at work.
Though there are exceptions, ‘fancy’ breed cats are anecdotally considered to be higher maintenance than common DSH/DLH cats.
The reasons for this include owner unfamiliarity, veterinary unfamiliarity (we don’t see too many of these cats, unless you find a feline-specific practice!), and the specific needs of each breed. For example, longhaired breeds such as Birmans need a lot of grooming. This may not suit someone with little time after work. However sphynx cats are quite sociable and do not like long periods of being home alone. Some larger breeds like Maine coons may struggle being stuck indoors in small houses all day. Though others are associated with health issues that might require more time and effort to manage.
On the contrary, DSH and DLH cats are incredibly common, so most people and their vets are more familiar with their care.
A normal healthy DSH/DLH should not need any special care or management. They often have personalities suited to all kinds of lifestyles.
No doubt many dedicated exotic cat owners are already typing in the comments about their cats, and how they are great breeds for a working lifestyle.
Certainly, some of these breeds, such as Persians, like their own company and could suit a busy lifestyle. In general, we hope that you can see we cannot recommend one cat breed over the other as a working person’s cat because the breeds are just too diverse. What we would recommend instead to prospective cat owners is to do some research on particular breeds. Just so you have a better idea of what to expect. Which cat may fit your lifestyle best. The charmingly named Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) has a great list of recognised cat breeds with information on each. They would be a good place to start.
Other Things to Avoid?
Breeds are important, but are there any other things to consider when getting a cat if you work a lot? Any cat can be a challenge depending on its nature and specific needs.
For example, kittens need a lot of input. Particularly when newborn and are definitely not suited for being left alone for long periods of time. On the other hand older cats often have age-related conditions you have to manage. One extreme but common example are diabetic cats that can need insulin injections two or more times a day! Individual cats may struggle being left alone, because of separation anxiety, toileting issues or destruction. Finally cats that must remain indoors will require more attention (such as emptying their litter tray). Compared to cats that can venture outdoors.
So What’s The Verdict?
Once again, it is important to emphasise how every cat is an individual, and regardless of breed, may or may not be suited to someone with a busy lifestyle. Always do your research on the specific breed and the individual animal.
If you can, talk to the cattery/charity/breeder/etc. before taking your new cat home, to ascertain if they will suit your lifestyle. Though you may think you have found the perfect pet, do not be disheartened if they aren’t suitable – the right one will come along soon.
If you have some experience with cats, exotic breeds may not be a big leap, so talk to owners of exotic breeds and research them to decide if they are for you. However, if you are a first-time owner then definitely start with a domestic short hair as they are generally friendly, happy to be indoors or outdoors, relatively easy to care for, and often can remain alone for long periods of the day – 92% of UK cat owners can’t be wrong!