Choosing a kitten
For many, the perfect cat means having a particular breed, and choosing to get a kitten rather than an adult cat from a shelter may be the best way to ensure you get what you want.
There are many different breeds of cat, all of which have their own distinct physical and behavioral characteristics. So it's important to do your research and choose a breed that suits your lifestyle.
Most responsible breeders prefer not to let their pedigree kittens leave home and their mother until they are over 12 weeks old so they can make sure they are ready for separation and have been properly vaccinated. The key socialization period for kittens also happens in that time frame, so it's crucial to talk with the breeder and ask what measures have been taken to support the kitten's development.
Kittens may also be acquired from a shelter. In these cases it may be a little harder to be certain of their parentage. That being said, workers at the shelter may be able to recognize personality traits in the kittens and help you choose the one which will be best suited to your home environment. While they may be able to spot some defining characteristics in kittens, a lot may be up to chance, but as many fans of mixed-breed cats will say, this is all part of their charm.
Pros to acquiring a kitten
- Kittens are very playful and lively, making them entertaining additions to the home
- You can often choose the breed you want
- You can get a full medical background from the breeder
Challenges acquiring a kitten
- Kittens will initially be a lot more dependent than an adult cat
- With a kitten you will need to take the time to house train it
Where to acquire a kitten
There are a lot of places where you can acquire kittens, whether they are from a registered breeder, a shelter, or a family who have had an accidental litter. The important thing is to make sure the kittens and their mother are healthy and well looked after before you take one home.
It is strongly recommended that you go to a reputable breeder or seller. You may choose to ask your vet for advice about breeders or shelters in the local area.
- If you have chosen a breed and identified a breeder, visit them to observe the environment that the kittens are raised in
- Kittens born into homes with lots of people around, and where they experience the usual day-to-day household happenings such as visitors, vacuum cleaners, washing machines, and other pets, will adapt to your household much more easily than those kittens raised outside of the house or isolated from people
- If possible, ask about the temperament of the tom and queen, and what measures they take to ensure their kittens are well-socialized, as well as their attention to hygiene, healthcare, well-being, and good nutrition
Whether you choose a kitten or an adult cat, active research will help to ensure your pet will be happy with you and that you will be a caring, responsible owner.