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.
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?
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.
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.