Domestic Cats (Mixed Breed) Moggies

...a little bit of everything!

There are many beautiful pedigree breeds of cat, but most cat owners end up with a Moggie - a cat of very mixed parentage.

Moggies are prolific because cats wander and breed indiscriminately and in any litter of kittens there can be a variety of colours, making it impossible to know for sure which neighbour's cat is the father! Also, a female cat can reproduce from around 6 months of age, so, left unsterilised, there will be rapid interbreeding with generations of cats being produced every year. If one litter of 6 kittens born in January has 3 females and each of these reproduce in July and produce 3 females each there will be 18 new cats of which 9 will female. When those 9 reproduce in a similar way there will be 27 more females born and 27 males. Within a few years one cat becomes one hundred or more and the gene pool is perpetually mixed! This is a good reason for sterilisation.

So, what does the average Moggie need? When you bring your kitten home its needs are simple - a nice soft place to sleep, a litter tray and a food and water supply. Spend time playing with your kitten, buy it some toys to pounce on and paw at and spend some more time just patting and stroking it.

Cats are very social, so the more you touch them and interact with them when they are young, the friendlier they will be as adults. Encourage visitors to also interact with your kitten so that it doesn't become frightened of strangers.

Children need to be encouraged not only to play with the new household addition, but also to give it some space. Cats need to sleep a lot and rest is important for a growing cat. Try to establish a regular inside place for your cat to sleep at night (for example, in the laundry) but expect that in the daytime your cat will sleep wherever it is - on the floor, the chair or your bed.

It will be necessary to 'kitten proof' your house to make sure there are not valuable ornaments that can be easily knocked down. A cat's natural instinct is to climb and jump, so some things might need to be put away or moved while your cat is learning its way around your house. Cats like their independence and to move around freely.

Introduce a flea collar and put a bell on it! The bell will ensure the safety of native birds and the flea collar will stop household infestations. Remember also to regularly deworm your cat and spend the money on yearly immunisations and desexing.

Grooming is dependent on the length of the Moggie's fur, but all cats appreciate a regular soft brush and this helps remove dead fur and reduce shedding. With a little love, a cat will bring joy to your family for at least 12 years and some are known to live into their 20s.

<ul> <li>Variety of colours and hair length</li> <li>Very affectionate but independent</li> <li>Should be indoors at night</li> <li>Will kill wildlife</li> </ul>