That you will have to deal with cat hair is a given – get a cat and get used to buying lint rollers in bulk. If you get one of the prized long-haired cats such as the Birman, the Himalayan, or the Persian – you would see no end to the maintenance. "Even though all cats groom themselves, a long-haired cat is more likely to get feces or litter stuck on their behind, and hair mats are a problem," says Dr. Chan. She also points out that long hair goes beyond a superficial issue and is a real health threat. "All cats ingest some of their own cat hair, but the longer-haired cats tend to get more hairballs, which can cause digestive problems." So besides the increased likelihood of sinking your foot into a slimy coil of upchucked hair during late-night trips to the bathroom, you may be in for the joy of frequent visits to the vet to deal with hairball management.
Cats are going to shed no matter what, but aside from regular brushing, which reduces the amount of hair a cat sheds on its own, Chan says that healthy cat hair reflects a cat's overall health, and excessive shedding is a sign that things are off. "[Unhealthy cats] tend to have a poor coat quality if there is something metabolically or nutritionally wrong. It's the same as if you or I weren't getting enough vitamins – we'd probably start losing our hair." If you're not up for grooming duty, then consider short-haired breeds like the Siamese and Burmese, which have soft, attractive coats and require relatively less maintenance.