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Cats: Self-reliant and loving

Cats are independent and easy pets to care for. And, as long as you aren't buying a purebred, they are economical pets, too.

Cats require little actual day-to-day care. They clean and groom themselves, tend to be self reliant and happy to stay out of your way. They'd be just as content finding their own food as they are when you provide it. But, don't interpret their behavior as being antisocial. Our feline friends can be cuddly, playful creatures when you're ready for them to be -- and if they are interested.

An abundance of cats makes finding a kitten extremely easy and often free. You can adopt one at any animal shelter across the country. Or, check your local newspaper classifieds to find kittens free.

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Buying a purebred is much more expensive. Depending on the breed, purebreds can cost from $200 on up. If you are not sure of what breed would blend best in your household, check out CatFanciers.com. This site lists dozens of cat breeds from the Persian to Maine Coon to the Himalayan, with descriptions of each feline's temperament and appearance.

After you decide on the type of cat for your household and budget, you'll want to consider another factor that can be pricey -- neutering. If you don't plan to breed, find out if your purchase includes the cost of spaying or neutering. These costs can range from a low of $35 to $100, depending on who does the procedure.

Other expenses to consider for kitty include a litter box and fresh litter daily, regular visits to the veterinarian, toys and food. To get an idea of the essential kitty-care products, check out The ferret store.com. There you will find all sorts of goodies to make your pet's life comfortable (and yours, too), including an automatic pet feeder ($5.64 to the super-duper $99.97), refillable cat-nip mice toys ($3.94) and cat beds ($14.95).

For those of you who may go all-out with pampering, you could spend thousands of dollars to entertain your cat. Or, if you prefer the simpler life, annual visits to the vet, a clean litter box and daily fresh food and water should keep your little one a contented family member at a very reasonable price.

 
 
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