Which cat is right for me? Part 1

welche-katzeYou’ve decided to welcome a cat into your life – but it’s not always that easy. There are lots of questions for people who are new to owning cats.

  • Should it be a young cat or an old cat?
  • Do I want a male or a female cat?
  • Eine oder zwei Katzen – was ist richtig
  • Is a cat a cat – or are there big differences?
  • Do different breeds behave differently?
  • How much does a cat cost – purchase, equipment, maintenance?
  • Longhair or shorthair cat?

In this series I’d like to take a look at the most frequently asked questions, and if you’re not sure, or have a question – I’d be happy to answer your comments.

Male or female cat?

Opinion is never so divided as on this fundamental question: male or female.

Just like people, neither cat gender has purely positive or negative inherited characteristics and behaviours.


The “Pope” of cat research, Prof Leyhausen, writes on the subject in his book, Cat Soul: “Both genders have positive and negatives. Females tend to defend their inherited territory aggressively; males focus on increasing their status – but castration can change this. In my experience, male cats are more prepared to make friends…In general, you have the fewest problems by combining female and male cats.”

Cat Soul (Katzenseele) by Prof Paul Leyhausen

I don’t want to answer the cat gender issue from my own experience. Every cat is a unique individual – and, in my view, many character traits and behaviours can’t be reduced to “female” and “male”. So it’s not just “moody” females and laid-back males – there are just as many cuddly females and shy, retiring males. But I don’t want to name an example.

katze-izzy-kater-oakleyLike most kinds of animals, male and female cats are different in terms of body size and weight.

On the left you can see our calico cat Izzy (with three different colours) and our blue tomcat Oakley – both British Shorthair cats.

You can see the difference in size and weight clearly – and look at the different shapes of their heads. Tomcats tend to develop stronger cheeks – the head is rounder and larger – often called a tomcat head.

And if you can’t decide if you want a boy or a girl – then think about getting both. And we’ll look at this question in the second instalment of our series: One cat or two?