Finding a purebred match
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Some people go into the cat-buying process with a specific breed in mind, willing to dish out the extra dough for, say, a Siamese or a Persian or a burly Maine Coon. While this is almost certainly the more expensive option, it may not always be the wisest. "There are some breeds – at least in the pet hospital – that we expect to be bad cats. I've never met an aggressive Persian, for example, but I always have to think twice about how a Bengal is going to behave," says Dr. Chan.

As with dogs, the breed of a cat doesn't simply determine its physical characteristics (the length and color of its coat, for one) but also the personality traits, good and bad, that it's likely to possess, such as aggressiveness or excessive meowing. "If someone really has their eye on a particular breed, they need to do their research, rather than pick a breed because they like the look of it," says Chan. Besides hours of googling, cut to the chase and speak with a veterinarian who might offer insights you won't get from a breeder or a pet store employee.