Are you thinking of getting a new cat in 2017?

If you're thinking of getting a new feline friend this year, then take a look at our advice to ensure you get the purrfect companion.

If you've decided that 2017 is the year that you're going to take the plunge and get a new cat or kitten then you've got a very exciting year ahead of you, however there may be a few things worth considering beforehand.

Firstly are you looking to get a cat or kitten? This is a decision that will very much depend on your lifestyle and how often you're are going to be around for your pet. If you're considering a kitten then you need to ensure that you've got the time to train and socialize with him. So if you're going to be out a lot of the day then it is perhaps better to think about getting an older cat, or consider getting two cats so that they have company.

The breed of cat is also a very important factor and so it is important to do your research first as cats all have very different characteristics and require varied levels of attention. For example Birman cats aren't suitable to be left alone as well as British shorthair will quite happily snooze around the house all day. It is advisable that you talk to the breeder of your chosen type of cat and talk it through with them and they'll be able to advise you on whether they think their breed of cat would be suitable for you and your household.

If you're thinking of getting an older cat then don't rule out the option of adopting one from a rescue centre, even if you have your heart set on a particular breed then adoption can still be an option as many rescue centres have seen an increase in pedigree cats coming into their care.

If you don't have any preference of breed then rescuing a cat or kitten is probably your best option as there are so many felines out there looking for homes. Staff at the shelter will be happy to advise and match you to one of there residents depending on your circumstances. If you own a dog, have young children, go away frequently these are all things you need to make the centre aware of.

However if you have decided that you want a specific breed of kitten from a breeder then take your time as you want to ensure that you choose a happy and healthy one, don't expect just to be able to take him home straight away. Make sure that the breeder you choose is reputable and that you visit them first. Their premises should be clean and well organised and you should ask to see the kittens with their mum or any other relatives to get an idea of their temperament.

Warning signs you should look for in a kitten is any sickness, weepy eyes, runny nose or diarrhoea. Don't choose a kitten because they are weak or you feel sorry for them. You don't want a poorly kittens on your hands.

You should not pick up your kitten from the breeder until he is 13 weeks old, at this point he should have all his required vaccinations such as cat flu, enteritis and feline leukaemia. It is also a good idea to take your new kitten to a vet so you can be confident he is happy and healthy.