When choosing a kitten, think ahead to the type of cat your kitten will become. Some cats grow larger than others, some need more grooming than others, and all cat breeds have individual temperaments. Make sure the kitten fits in with your lifestyle. If you are out a lot, you may decide to have two kittens to keep each other company. If you decide on a pedigree, use a reputable breeder. If you prefer a moggie, get it from someone you know.
When choosing a kitten, select one that has been raised in a domestic environment and is used to family life. A kitten brought up in a cattery will have had less human contact and may take a while to adapt.
Kittens are prone to infection, so examine a kitten carefully before you take him home. Check that his coat is smooth and glossy. His ears should be clean, his eyes clear and bright and his nose damp. Check inside his mouth – the gums should be pink and the teeth white. The anal area should be clean, and the tummy soft. Check that the kitten walks without a limp. Finally, make sure the kitten has been inoculated against feline enteritis and feline ‘flu. First injections are due at 8-9 weeks. Ask for the certificate of inoculation.
Although kittens are adorable, they are a handful. Owning a cat is a big commitment since cats on average live for 13 years. You should ask yourself: What kind of cat do I want? Will it suit my lifestyle? Can I meet any vet’s bills? Will holidays pose problems?
Once you have decided on the type of kitten you prefer, the next step is to find a litter. If you want a pedigree, you need to contact a professional breeder. There should be specialist cat clubs in your area. Research the breed. Remember, a pedigree kitten is expensive and they need a lot more care and attention than non-pedigrees. Are you prepared for this? If the answer is yes, then arrange to view the litter. Ask as many questions as you like – the owner will want the kitten to go to a good home too. If, however, you simply want a kitten to be a companion, then a non-pedigree, or moggie, is the ideal choice. In this case it is always best to get your kitten from a recommended source. Pet rescue centres and veterinary surgeries always know of kittens in need of good homes. Again, ask questions.
POINTS TO WATCH
When choosing a kitten from a litter, go for the outgoing, friendly individual that comes to you When choosing a kitten, it’s helpful to see the litter with the mother. Her temperament and health will give some indication of the kind of cats her offspring will become.You call and does not mind being handled. Think twice if you feel compelled to give a home to that timid kitten in the corner. He may just be shy and demand lots of attention and reassurance. On the other hand, his behaviour may signal that he is unwell. Either way, he will need extra care.
All kittens are born with blue eyes, although these will change to their final colour at about 12 weeks.
Cats that are brought up together from the same litter will often play, fight and behave as if they were still litter mates.