Acquired: Bred cat myself,
Other (stray, given cat by friend etc.),
Rescue / shelter organization
California, United States
Posted Jan 05, 2012
I've owned many many cats over the years, starting from birth if you count those experiences. All of them have been mixed breed/tabby cats. Most have been what they call "American Shorthair". Some were acquired from a friend who had kittens that they needed to give away. A few were rescued from an animal shelter. But most were strays, or the litters of feral cats, who were rescued, taken in, or otherwise adopted.
Cats, like people, all have different personalities, so it was difficult for me to rate my experience with these kinds of cats when there have been so many over time. Though feral cats tend not to be friendly, or even approachable, most cats (including the ones who started as tiny "feral" kittens) actually are friendly and/or can/will warm up with a little love.
Of the three I currently own - one is quite old, having been a stray that we took in almost 15 years ago. The other two are rescued from an abandoned, formerly feral, litter. All of them are good with my kids, even the destructive, aggressive one-year-old. They are talkative, particularly when they want food, and constantly beg for petting.
As friendly as they are with the people in this house, they do have a tendency to hiss at one another, and they are not big on dogs (though, they weren't raised with dogs from kittenhood, which makes a HUGE difference in that respect).
Cats have a natural desire to bury their waste, and like the feel of sand, dirt, etc. under their paws. So, I've never had much trouble litter training them. In fact, they have generally proven much easier to train than dogs, in my experience.
Though they love attention (most of them anyway. Like all animals - it depends on previous experience of the animal, they way they're treated, and their personality), they are very independent animals. They don't have a tendency to mind if you leave for the day, so long as they have a clean litter box, food, and water.
The litter box can be a negative, when you own an indoor cat. It needs to be cleaned out regularly, but can kick up dust that some may be sensitive to and pregnant women cannot inhale. Indeed, if you are pregnant, you should not be anywhere near cat fecal matter if it is at all avoidable (if a stray poops in your garden, you may not be able to avoid it entirely, but that's why they recommend gloves for pregnant women who garden outside). If the box is not cleaned regularly, the smell can become quite strong - even unbearable - and the cat(s) will look for somewhere else to do their business (would you want to stand on waste while you went potty?).
Overall, even with all the "mutt" cats I've owned, all with their own unique personalities and quirks, I would highly recommend a cat as a family or personal pet. Due mostly to their independence, they're easier to take care of than dogs, in my experience, even though I do love the doggies too. They're extremely friendly, when treated right from day one especially. And they're a generally intelligent creature.