There’s no denying that kittens have many advantages. They’re ridiculously adorable, and you’ll be their first introduction to the big wide world. This means you’ll have the reassurance that your pet cat has been well-treated and is perfectly happy around people, other cats, dogs, or whatever other details and quirks of your home life. Young cats form a bond with their owners can knit you together for 20 years or more.
How cute can you go? These American Curl kittens set the benchmark high
But there are downsides too. Kittens need a lot of attention in their early weeks, require more frequent feeds than an adult cat, and will need house-training. Until she grows up, you are going to have to look after that kitten like a new child.
Kittens are playful, with around eight hyperactive hours a day, balanced by 16 hours asleep. Playful means chasing and wrestling, but can sometimes mean biting and scratching too, which can be upsetting for smaller children, especially ones who have not been around cats before and have their heads full of sweet bundles of fluff charming their way across YouTube and Instagram.
This playfulness will find a natural outlet if you take in two kittens instead of just one. They will play, bite and scratch together.
With all this considered, you may decide you want an older cat.
Kittens need training to use one of these... an adopted cat will usually be toilet-trained already
Adopt a Cat
Bringing home an adult cat has its advantages. You won’t have to give it as much constant attention as a kitten, for one thing. And the cat will be toilet trained (usually!) If your lifestyle means that there’s usually nobody in the house during the day, an adult cat is a good option. She will happily stay indoors – or, later on, outside, if practical – while you’re away.
As there are thousands of cats locked away in cat shelters at any given time you will be giving a previously unwanted animal a loving home.
Cats end up in shelters for a variety of reasons. Unwanted litters of kittens, pets left homeless after the death of an owner, or ones that have outstayed their welcome in a family that was not properly prepared for the effort and money involved in keeping a healthy, happy cat.
An adopted cat is a happy cat
If you choose an adult cat, you can also see exactly what you’re getting in terms of size, colour and temperament. Any adult cat relocated to a new home will be a little shy, taking time to settle in, but you can ask the shelter (or the person getting rid of the cat) what type of personality the animal has. In contrast, an 8 week old kitten has lots of growing up to do and will sometimes change temperament as she matures.
People are put off by the idea that an adopted adult cat will not form a bond with its new owner. This simply isn’t true. Even a cat in its teens will soon settle in – far more quickly than a kitten, in fact.
If your cat will be spending time outdoors, an adult cat will obviously be more streetwise than a novice kitten; although even experienced cats have a bit of a blind spot for busy roads, so don’t assume that an adopted teenage cat will be well versed in road safety! If you're concerned about outside dangers, an outdoor cat enclosure is the perfect solution to keep them safe.
Shatyra, 17 September 2019
I have two sweet kitties. Jack whom I've raised since a kitten and is 3 years old. Gizmo, whom is a rescued and adopted when he was 9 that is now 10 years old. I feel equal love from both. They show it in different ways. Jack's playful but he doesn't like to cuddle often. Gizmo loves to cuddle but he can be clingy at times. Both life stages of cats are absolutely perfect for companionship but you should consider which fuzzy cuties are your potential best friends.