People looking to adopt a feline seem to fall into four categories: they want a kitten, they want a more settled adult cat, they want to help a senior or special needs cat or they are willing to work to find the purrfect match no matter the age of the feline.
There are always orphaned kittens looking for a forever home, especially during kitten season. And it is a joyful moment when a kitten – or two – finds that home. But we also see a lot of people who seem misguided in their reasons for wanting to adopt a kitten. And these misguided reasons can often turn against the kitten quickly or in the future as they mature.
The top 5 reasons given for adopting a kitten are:
- Kittens are SO cute.
- Kittens are constant entertainment.
- I want a fresh start with a brand new kitten.
- I want a cat that has no history or baggage.
- I want a kitten to make my older cat more active.
Kittens are so cute
Kittens are cuddly and kittens are cute – anyone who loves cats will agree with that. They are small, helpless and innocent balls of fluff and humans seem to be drawn to those characteristics. But, the kitten stage only lasts so long. Kittens grown into adult cats and lose that kitten cuteness and sadly, many people lose interest once they grow up.
You need to be realistic about the fact they will grow up to be adult cats. Albeit, they may be beautiful full grown and many will retain some playfulness, but they will not keep that kittenish look that you may be basing your decision on.
Kittens are constant entertainment
Kittens have a lot of energy and consider almost anything to be a toy. They love to run, pounce, jump and climb; providing endless hours of entertainment.
Entertainment value aside, there are a few things to consider here… a kitten’s energy will settle down and they will not always be that constant source of entertainment for you. They mature and become less naive and more dignified and stop acting kittenish.
On the flip side, all of that exuberance coupled with a kitten’s naïve view of the world means that they need to be taught boundaries and what’s okay and what is not okay and the difference between right and wrong. It is extremely important that you teach a kitten these things so that they will behave well in your home, and to protect them from getting hurt or putting themselves in harm’s way. This can be a lot to contend with and for some people it is too much.
I want a fresh start with a brand new kitten
I guess we all like fresh starts and as long as the kitten is a good match for you, your home and lifestyle this reason is one of the most understandable ones. You and your new kitten embark on a journey of discovery, trust, companionship and love.
But don’t think just because you are adopting a kitten that it is a blank slate whose personality you can create from scratch. From birth we can see basic personality traits in kittens. In some ways you are not sure of what you are getting. That is why there are many people who think that you are better off adopting an adult cat whose personality and temperament are already known.
I want a cat that has no history or baggage
Everyone comes from somewhere and that includes kittens. Many kittens available for adoption through shelters and rescue organizations were found as strays. Some litters are found with their momma cat, while others are all by themselves with no momma cat in sight. There are also times when a single kitten is found all by itself – they may have come from a single kitten birth or they may have wandered off from the litter.
Once a kitten is rescued, it may be initially raised in a foster home or in a shelter environment. It may be bottle fed or spend enough time with its other to be weaned.
Whatever its early experiences, they make their mark on the kitten and its personality. Granted it may not be as long of a history, but it could very well be more traumatic than an adult cat that was cared for in a loving home its entire life.
I want a kitten to make my older cat more active
In very few cases, an older cat will accept and bond with a kitten – depending on the personalities of each of them.
Usually, the older cat wants nothing to do with the pesky little ball of energy and may even resent it and develop behavior issues and personality changes.
Given time, the two may become buddies or at least tolerate each other. But you do not want the new kitten to be a hardship for your adult cat.
It is important that an adopter understands their reasons for wanting to adopt a kitten and the responsibilities and lifetime commitment that go along with adopting a young feline.
Taking care of a kitten is hard work. Those naïve, energetic bundles of fur get into a lot of mischief. As they mature, they go through many changes - some of which require a helping hand from their human caregivers.
Closely consider the reasons why you want to adopt a kitten and as with all pet adoptions, choose the feline that is a good match for you, your family, your home and your lifestyle.
Kittens can bring a lot of joy into your life, so if you decide that a kitten (or two) is a good choice for you and the kitten, congratulations! And thank you for saving a life ;-)