Acquired: Other (stray, given cat by friend etc.),
Rescue / shelter organization
New Hampshire, United States
Posted Apr 02, 2013
We've had "generic" American shorthairs for years - I had them when growing up, in addition to now as an adult. Our prior two cats passed away in 2010/11 (in their teens), and we got a pair of kittens a little over a year ago. They are now cats and doing very well.
American shorthair personalities do vary, so it's important to be a little flexible. If you don't currently have cats, I would strongly suggest getting a pair of bonded young cats, rather than a single cat. It will be much better for them to have company when you are away from the home. Our cats have ranged from not very smart but exceedingly snuggly, to very smart and somewhat aloof. The new pair of cats we got when our daughters were very young, so we were careful to supervise ALL interaction with our daughters until cats and kids learned to coexist well. Some rescues do not permit young kittens to go to homes with very young children, and almost all recommend an older cat for a home with small kids. I was prepared to handle everything since I have worked with animals my whole life.
If you are getting an older cat, such as a rescue, it is important to take some time to match the cat to your home situation. Most rescues will have information such as if the cat gets along with children, dogs, or other cats; you can then meet the cat in person.
All of our cats have been indoor, fully clawed. As a result, we do have some wear signs on couches and chairs. I have found though that the need to scratch recedes as the cats get older so we plan to do a furniture update in a few years after our new cats are a little older.
Also, cats do go through a few years toward the end of their lives when peeing outside the box may become an issue - it's almost always health related at any age. When they are older, it's best to be prepared for it, and there are some really great products to deal with that. I won't mention them here but feel free to ask directly if you are in need of a recommendation.
As an aside, I've read that some think the perfect family cat is an orange male tabby. They tend to be mellow, and love food - so if you go for one, don't let them overeat! Ours is living up to this billing so far...