This is more basic information on how to pick out, live with, and enjoy a cat -- not for medical advice or advice about problems -- I'll just try to help you avoid the problems.
I'll give a few links at the bottom for more information about cats, including medical advice.
Note that dogs are forced by their pack mentality to form some relationship with you, and since you are bigger they will be subordinate. Don't confuse this with affection.
Your cat was on nature's path to leading an almost solitary life. If kittens are raised in the wild, they become "feral" cats, and will never let a human get near to them, no matter anything you do, no matter how long. Mom tosses them out, and they become loaners.
We trick them while being around when Mom losses interest, and we become their new Mom. They get stuck in this kitten mode for the rest of their lives. However, they are prepared and quite capable of going off on their own and taking care of themselves. A cat stays around and shares your company because it likes you -- not some pack mentality.
Make sure you're really into the whole purebred breading scene before you get a purebred. If not, you'll waste money and likely get a cat with a poorer disposition. My favorite type of "mongrel" is a Calico cat -- any cat with three fur colors. The are beautiful and almost always female. (Looking for three-colors is easier than looking at a kitten's backside and trying to sex it.)
Please, leave their claws alone, especially if you have the wisdom to let them go outside. If they go out, they likely won't want to claw that much in the house. Vet's do not just remove their claws -- the cut off the end of each "finger", just like if he chopped off each of your fingers at the first joint.
Do get or make them a scratching post. Carpeted posts are junk and do not work. A nice piece of soft pine (such as a furring strip) tacked up somewhere so that the cat can stretch out full length when clawing is ideal. If they claw anywhere else, gently pick them up and bring them to the post while talking kindly and affectionately, gently drag their claws on the post. Wjem they scratych the post, praise them. They will actually get a kick out of it if you approve of them scratching, they are not only sharpening their claws, it involves some sort of territory marking.
Then give it one of those small tins of wet food once a day as its "special treat". A good time for this is whenever they are due back in in the evening. One of my cats would get it when she came in at 11:00 PM -- nothing if even a minute late. She'd pop in each night somewhere between 10:55 and 10:59 each night. Make the amount small enough that it is a snack -- make sure they still eat a lot of dry food too, or cut the treat back.
Cats eat grass all summer long if they are outdoor cats. It's actually very good for them. During the Winter months in the North when all the grass is gone, a cat will crave greens. It will chew on your house plants, sometimes will eat them. If you have one of those inside herb gardens, they will eat it whole. There are "kitty greens" available that you water and they grow green, tender wheat or alfalfa sprouts the cat will love -- and will leave the plants alone. Just keep it watered and the cat will keep it trimmed. Also note that some house plants are poisonous to cats and should be kept out of their reach.
The first thing in the morning an outdoor cat would like to do is tour his/her territory, There is a specific boundary and they have a certain route that they like to follow in order to look it all over. There will be certain trees that they will claw each time, places females will rub their cheeks on to mark with scent, males will pee on to mark. They'll take there tour, remark all the boundaries, and then sit and soak in some nature for a bit. Then they'll come in, get a snack, groom for a bit and go back to sleep. A tough life. They'll do the same before they turn in for the night.
A cat just loves to run around outside and get an appetite worked up, come in, eat a good meal, lay down and groom for a while (preferably in your lap), then fall asleep -- they just love it. This makes the 11:00 PM special treat (above) work out very well.
The average life span for a neutered cat who is housed inside is estimated to be from 12 to 14 years. The maximum life span is said to be 35 years.
One place they will insist on jumping to is on top of each lampshade. They won't find out it is open on top till they jump. They will likely break a few lamps, or at least knock them over. It's simple enough top show them the top of each lamp at some point, try to put them there -- they will wiggle and not want to go. This will save your lamps. (I'm 100% serious about this).
When you bring the cat to its new home, or bring a cat home for the first time, try to have the place quiet and peaceful. Perhaps even just you and the cat. Bring it in and sit it down, let it look for a little bit. Then walk around and give it a quick tour of the house, all the rooms, It will follow you around, perhaps with a bit of encouragement, room by room. Just stop for about 15 seconds, then on to the new room. Make sure you go by the litter box -- stop and draw the cat's paw in the litter. It will likely go right away. Then end the tour wherever the cat's bowls will be, give it some water and nice food. If the cat didn't use the litter box 1st pass, try bringing it back to it every now and then and gently pawing the litter with its paw. Once it uses it, that will be set for life.
Make cats talk to you too. The way to ask to go out is to walk over to the door and give you a meow, not by scratching. They should walk over to the door and meow. You say "wanna-go-out?" and they'll meow again -- open the door for them.
With my current cat I was successful with something many parents think is impossible -- I only gave her positive reinforcement, never negative. I praised everything she did that was desirable, ignored any action that I didn't want her doing. For a tiny little mind, cats can do the very sophisticated action of knowing they are being praised or approved of, and they seek it out. I think it how mother cats train kittens. They love the approval -- and look quite puzzled when they don't get it.
So using just the positive I have one of the most well mannered cats with high self confidence. People are fascinated when they meet her, she has such poise and confidence (parents take note). But, if you must use "discipline", I'd suggest saying "No" in a firm voice and giving them a gentle tap, perhaps one finger on the top of their nose. Now, this little brain that understood praise of of what it was doing -- it will have no idea why you swatted it. It will never associate being swatted when it jumps up on the kitchen counter as you are saying keep off the counter. After a while, they will figure out that if you are in the room and they jump on the counter, they get swatted. They will just wait till you are not around.
Some cats go totally nuts over Catnip --
some don't. Give it a try, nothing quite as silly as a cat "stoned"
Always pet a cat's fur in the direction
of from head to tail. This is extra important in short-hairs that
are really long-hairs with fur laid down flat. All cats love to have
their necks massaged, reminds them of when Mom would pick them up.
They love to have their cheeks and chin stroked, but try to avoid the whiskers,
they rarely want them touched. Some cats don't like to have their
tail touched -- some love it. When laying on their side, none
want their upper rear-leg touched, they are protecting their soft
tummy with it. (You can see how relaxed a cat is by how much of its
tummy is exposed or guarded -- laying on their back with four paws in the
air is 100% relaxed.) In general they don't want paws or ears
touched -- but my current cat loves for me to play "piggies" with her toes.
Normally a wagging tail shows disapproval.
You can even get one swat of the tail every time you make a sound and disturb
its sleep. When a cat is outside, its tail will likely wag as sits.
This is not disapproval -- it is a lure to any predator that might attack
from the rear, a lure to attack a non-vital part.
Purina CatChow has a nice site at www.CatChow.com
to Tell if Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You?