Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Kittens: Choosing the Best One!

kitsleep

Springtime often turns a feline lover's fancy toward thoughts of bringing a new kitten into their home.  Kittens are adorable balls of fluff that look at you with those trusting eyes, and purr their way into one's heart, however a great deal of consideration must be given to the appropriate age for a kitten to join your household.

I am often asked these questions, "At what age should I adopt or purchase a kitten?", or, "What type of kitten should I get?"

Reputable breeders agree that kittens should not leave their mothers until at least 12 weeks-of-age This extra time allows them to mature sufficently, to bond with humans, and to be fully socialized with their siblings.
mainecoonredwhite
RP Cathouse's classic red and white Maine Coon kitten at almost three months of age.

While 8 week-old kittens are fascinating, they have not been with their siblings or mother long enough to gain the skills that they need to adapt readily into a new household. This additional four weeks allows them to develop appropriate social skills, as they learn  to interact with humans and their litter mates. Additionally kittens' immune systems are still immature and need that extra time to develop more fully.

Read  more at How Young is Too Young?

kittentoy 

Another important thing to consider is the type of kitten that will suit your lifestyle. Do you want an active kitty, or one which is a little more laid back? Longhair or Shorthair? How much time do you have to devote to the care and grooming of this new family member?  If you have children, is this the right breed? If you have other pets in your household, which breed is the most accepting of other species? A cat is not just a cat! The various breeds all have their individual qualities. You can read more about how to find a kitty that will fit into your lifestyle at  Choosing the Right Cat Breed.

catkitten

Most kittens who are for sale or ready for adoption from a respected breeder have received their first vaccines. These first three months are crucial in the kitten's development into a happy and healthy cat.

If you wish to adopt a pure bred cat, rather than purchase, you can find out more information by visiting Cat Purebreed Rescue

Mixed-breed kitties make wonderful pets too. Please consider adopting one from your local shelter or veterinarian's office.

Remember to neuter or spay your kitten. Talk to your veterinarian about the most appropriate time to do this.

If you have adopted or purchased a kitten in the past, what were some of the things that you considered in choosing one? Your experience may help someone in making the best decision. Leave a comment and share.

4 comments:

Rani said...

Every time we've ever adopted a kitten, it's because that kitten seemed to gravitate to us. When we'd told our kids they could each get a kitten, finding the right one was quite foray! Our daughter ended up getting Minx, the runt of several litters born at the same time at a horse farm out in the country. She was a gorgeous fluffy kitten who was the most food-obsessed cat I've ever known, probably from being a runt in a place with some 18-20 other cats. She was beautiful though, you'd never have guessed her for a farm cat. My son had an image of Gizmo in his head and we went out looking for Gizmo, not looking for a kitten to name Gizmo, if you know what I mean. He was from a litter of 4 tabbies born in a little boy's room and they'd never set paw out of that room till the day we adopted him. Minx had been so thrilled to go from one-of-20-cats, all bigger than her, to being The Only Kitten, but then the next day, we brought Giz home! There was a bit of hissing on Day One, chasing on Day Two, and by Day 3, they were practically like littermates. EVERYthing was something-to-be-played-with, including the other one's tail. They both had always been around other cats, so the adjustment was not difficult. Kittens seem to adapt a lot better and faster than older cats.

Now this is about adopting cats from a home, which I am sure is different from buying one from a breeder or getting a rescue cat.

Rani

pamie said...

The pictures are sooo cute...I don't have a cat, but do "kitty sit." My friend, Mrs. Beckham found her little kitty at a gas station...

She has the most beautiful face, and her name is Missy. Now she has a safe, happy home...and me to sit for her...LOL

pamie

Fourhorsegal said...

Who could resist a precious kitten? They have always stolen my heart.

They don't have to have a pedigree, or anything else to prove they can melt your heart.

If I didn't have so many dogs, I would have a slew of them.

Vicki

RP Cathouse said...

When searching for a kitten there are things to watch for and find out. Are they active? Eyes clear, no watery discharge from the inside corners of the eyes. Coat soft and silky, not seperated and oily or dirty looking. Paws free of litter. Ears clean, no black stuff in them. Shy is ok, because not all kittens are outgoing when strangers are around or they are in a strange place. What can they tell you about the parents or where the kittens were raised? What are they eating? Ask to see them clip their nails and comb them out. Ask for the vet records or vet check up.

With shelter and rescue kittens it is hard to find out if their parents and their down the line relatives had any health issues, but if you are getting a purebred kitten, the breeder should tell you if there were any health issues.

There are many things to find out and make sure you want a cat, not just fall in love with a small fur ball who is cute and adorable.

They will grow up and become adults and are you committed to spay and neutering, providing health care, keeping a kitten/cat indoors, providing the love and attention they need as a kitten and an adult.

A cat can live a very long time with all the above. I have known some to live 20 yrs or more and some less. But I have found it is not the length of time they are here but the time they are with us, that matters.

Cats can be and are known to be aloof, but in my years of breeding I can't say that any of mine are aloof. As I sit here typing I have a 4 month old kitten snuggling (Angel) and a 14 month old napping with her (Dancer).

There is nothing sweeter than a kitten or a cat napping together in your lap, at your feet, on the back of the chair, on the desk or anywhere near you.

Stella