What to know before getting a cat

Looking for a furry friend that provides quality cuddles but can maintain a level of independence? A cat might be the perfect fit for you. 

From their cute looks to quirky behaviour, cats are relatively low-maintenance pets and require a lot less upkeep compared to their canine friends. 

While you don’t have to worry about exercising and grooming your feline as much, it’s still important to consider what breed is suitable for your environment and lifestyle. Another thing to consider is what health conditions certain cats are prone to, so you can pick insurance that suits you and your cats needs.

So, whether you’re an experienced cat owner looking for another addition to the family or getting one for the very first time, here are some things you should know about different cat breeds and common conditions.

What to consider when choosing a cat breed

Cats get the wrap of being sassy and solitary creatures, but it’s a common misconception. Many breeds are loving, affectionate and rely heavily on their connection with their owner. If you’re planning on getting a cat because you lead a busy life, remember, cats can get stressed if they’re alone for an extended period of time. 

Before picking a breed, ask yourself these questions: 

  • What does my living situation look like?
    Do you live in a house/apartment/townhouse or rural area?
  • Will I keep my cat permanently indoors or allow it to go outside?
  • Can I afford the ongoing costs? 
    Regular checkups, desexing, food, and entertainment

If you live in a highly-populated area or an apartment, you might want to consider a breed you can keep indoors. Comparatively, if you live somewhere suburban or in a house with a large backyard, you may have more flexibility to let your cat roam outside. Long-haired cats tend to shed, so if your home is carpeted, a short-haired cat may be more suitable and less hassle to clean up after. 

Once you’ve considered these things, it’s time to start looking for your perfect match. Take a look at our guide below to see what kind of cat breed might be best for you.

Popular cat breed characteristics

Cat Breed Features Personality Suits Lifespan

Long-haired coat

Docile, relaxed and enjoys playing

Families with children

12 - 17 years


Short-haired coat and muscular body 

Energetic, loving, and high exercise needs

Suburban area, outdoors with backyard

10 - 16 years


Short-haired, solid, and muscular body

Affectionate and intelligent

Families with children

10 - 16 years


Long-haired, tends to shed

Docile, elegant, and relaxed

Family environment or older, retired single owner

10 - 15 years

Russian Blue


Gentle and calm, but loves to play

Families with children

10 - 15 years



Vocal, playful, and calm

Active family

8 - 15 years

American Shorthair

Short-haired, easy to groom

Intelligent and kid-friendly

Loving household, families, singles or couples

15 - 20 years

Siamese Cat

Short-haired, muscular build 

Affectionate and vocal

Family with children

8 - 15 years


Hairless, medium-sized

Energetic and adventurous

Families, couples, or singles

8 - 14 years



Friendly and affectionate


9 - 15 years


Common conditions in cat breeds

Now you know a little more about characteristics, let’s talk about common conditions that your feline can potentially face. Although it’s not guaranteed your cat will develop an illness over its life, it pays to understand the history and genetics of the breed you choose. 

Regular veterinary checkups, a good diet, and exercise are all things that can help curb or alleviate the challenges of your pet falling sick. Most cats are prone to experiencing ear infections, ringworm, or worms at some point in time,but these conditions are often easily treatable with medication. 

Another common (but more serious) condition that some cats experience is Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. HCM causes thickening in the muscular walls of the heart, leading to a decrease in its efficiency. The condition is prevalent in Ragdoll and Persian breeds, but symptoms can be managed if identified early. 

Take a look at some common conditions that different cat breeds are prone to below. These conditions may be covered by pet insurance.#

Skin conditions

Whether a result of allergies or bacterial infections, they should be treated as early as possible. Mange, ear mites and environmental allergies are common skin conditions seen in cats.

The breeds more prone to these conditions are:

  • Ragdoll
  • Persian
  • Sphynx

Ear conditions

Ear conditions can appear in cats from allergies, bacterial infections, and yeast. Otitis externa and otitis media are common ear conditions seen in cats. 

The breeds more prone to these conditions are:

  • Persian
  • Sphynx

Eye conditions

If your cat’s eyes appear to be red/ irritated, they may have an eye condition. Dry eyes, conjunctivitis and eye inflammation are common eye conditions seen in cats.

The breeds more prone to these conditions are:

  • Persian
  • Exotic
  • Himalayan

Gastrointestinal problems

Digestive problems can occur in cats from hairballs, stress and changes in diet. Diarrhea and worms are common gastrointestinal problems seen in cats.

The breeds more prone to these conditions are:

  • Ragdoll
  • Sphynx

Cat insurance

There are so many great things about owning a pet, from unconditional love to companionship, but the ongoing costs can add up. If your cat unexpectedly falls sick or is injured, you could face vet bills that aren’t manageable. Pet insurance might help alleviate this burden and help keep your feline protected.

Woolworths Pet Insurance offers a range of cover options for cats, such as Basic, Indoor Cat, Standard, Comprehensive and Comprehensive Plus policies. All levels of cover come with free access to VetAssist, a service that connects you with credible vet advice 24/7.

Cover your cat today

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Price Promise a. only available if a Woolworths Pet Insurance policy is purchased by 30 June 2022 b. only applies to competitor products available as at 1 January 2021 that at least cover up to 80% back on eligible vet bills and have a similar excess c. does not apply to quoted renewals, variations, free insurance offers, or quotes that include discounts for other products purchased d. only available if the quote is genuine – written proof of quote may be required. Please note covers provided by insurers will vary.

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† Offer available to new Woolworths Pet Insurance policyholders, and is limited to 1 membership per eligible policy. The free membership offer (valued at $199p.a) is from the date of your policy commencement, provided your Woolworths Pet Insurance policy remains active. You are not eligible to redeem the free membership subscription for cash or credit. VetAssist is a separate subscription based service to the Woolworths Pet Insurance product, and is provided independently by Woolworth’s third party service provider, VetChat Services Pty Ltd (VetChat). Click here for full VetAssist Service terms and conditions. Woolworths reserves the right to withdraw or extend this offer at anytime, without notice.

* Policy Terms and Conditions, limits, waiting periods, exclusions and excesses apply.

Cover is available for the life of your pet provided you renew your policy each year without any break, lapse or change in the level of Cover. This means once your pet is insured with us and as long as we continue to offer the product, you will be able to renew your policy for that pet for life provided you continuously maintain the cover. Cover is subject to the terms and conditions of your renewing policy. See details in your PDS.

Woolworths Pet Insurance is issued by The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd ABN 78 090 584 473, AFSL 241436 (Hollard), is promoted and distributed by Hollard’s Authorised Representative (AR) Woolworths Group Limited ABN 88 000 014 675, AR 245476 and is arranged and administered by PetSure (Australia) Pty Ltd ABN 95 075 949 923, AFSL 420183. Any advice provided is general only and does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. Please consider the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to ensure this product meets your needs before purchasing. PDS and Target Market Determination available at insurance.woolworths.com.au/pet-insurance.