What is it about a tiny, fluffy kitten that makes them so hard to resist? For many, it's their looks. Appearance is one of the primary factors when choosing a feline friend, while dog owners tend to focus on size.
A recent survey revealed that 55 percent of cat owners feel appearance is one of the most important qualities when choosing a cat, while 62 percent of dog owners cite size as most important. However, experts encourage people to first consider the animals' temperament, health and nutritional needs when selecting a pet.
"Matching a dog or cat's personality with that of your family is essential," said Steve Dale, certified animal behavior consultant and host of "Steve Dale's Pet World" radio show. "Before bringing home a new pet, owners should research typical traits of that breed to make sure it matches up with their lifestyle."
When bringing home a new pet, here are some important factors to consider:
* Energy level: Compare your family's activity level to that of the prospective pet. For example, the Labrador is a very active breed that typically needs lots of training, attention and exercise. This breed works best for active families who have the time to give them the exercise and structure they need.
* Temperament: Although a dog might look adorable, its breed can reveal a lot about its potential personality. Yorkies, for example, are typically friendly dogs, but can be very shy around strangers and need to be socialized properly.
* Grooming: Grooming your pet can be an expensive and time consuming chore. For instance, a Persian cat needs to be brushed daily, however a Siamese requires very minimal grooming help from its owner.
* Nutritional needs: Different breeds have different, and sometimes complex, nutritional needs. For example, a Maine Coon cat is at risk for certain types of cardiovascular conditions and needs help maintaining a strong heart.