It’s the big day: you’ve decided to adopt a cat! Before taking action, it is essential to ask yourself a certain number of questions about your desires and expectations regarding your future little companion: which breed to choose, at which age, of which sex…
Once these points have been clarified, you will be able to go to a shelter, a breeder’s house, a pet store or a private home to acquire your kitten. Observation will be your best asset when choosing it, because it should not only be based on appearance but also on the animal’s personality. Here are 10 tips that can help you make your choice.
Kitten or adult cat?
This option is often not considered when adopting a cat, but it is quite possible to welcome an adult cat rather than a kitten. Even if the kittens are crunchy, considering turning to an adult can have advantages and sometimes better match your situation: if you don’t have much time, if you have young children (older cats are calmer and less fragile than kittens), if you want a cat that is already clean… Moreover, since the adult cat’s personality is already acquired, it is easier to predict his attitude and behaviour. Finally, the shelters are full of adult cats waiting for a new home.
If alley cats are the most common, cheapest and easiest to find, you may be tempted by a pedigree cat. It should be noted that the latter are standardized and, in addition to their physique, can have race-specific character traits, which allows you to target according to your expectations: do you want a playful and active, calm and cuddly, discreet or present cat? Some races are known to be sentimental and close to their master, while others will be more independent or even distant. The health criterion is also important, in fact, some breeds have a more or less robust health, gouttière cats being often the most resistant.
If you adopt an adult, you can of course do so at any age because the problem of withdrawal will not arise. On the other hand, if you are leaning towards a kitten, be careful not to adopt her too soon: she should not be separated prematurely from her mother and siblings, otherwise emotional, social and behavioural consequences could occur. A kitten is generally not weaned until she is 8 weeks old, so it is not recommended to adopt before that age. Kittens weaned too early often have a difficult character, as they have not been raised by the mother, and may suffer from poorer health and behavioural problems, especially on the clean side.
In terms of personality, sex is not so important in cats, but some details can be important. For example, at puberty (around 6 months of age), the male cat will start marking its territory by urinating and may fight with other cats. It is therefore advisable to have it sterilized to avoid these disadvantages. In addition, the heat of the cat can be difficult to bear and it will surely be necessary to consider having it sterilized if you do not want young. The price of oophorectomy for the female is about twice as expensive as that of castration.
Short coat or long coat?
This criterion is of course aesthetic but will have repercussions on your daily life: indeed, long-haired cats of the Persian or Maine Coon type lose a lot of hair, and if you are not a fan of the vacuum cleaner, this could be a problem. In addition, frequent brushing is necessary in these cats, so if you are short of time and/or simply don’t want an animal that requires so much maintenance, a long-haired cat is certainly not the best option. Short-haired cats, on the other hand, lose their hair moderately and do not need very regular brushing.
A healthy cat
When choosing your cat, take the time to examine it to make sure it does not show any signs of disease: the eyes must be clean and without scabs, as must the ears, which should not contain excess wax or dark colour. The cat should not shake or tilt his head or scratch his ears frequently. He should not sneeze too often and his nose should not show any secretions. His breathing must be fluid, without coughing. Observe the skin and fur for lesions or scabs, check that the cat does not have fleas or ticks. Finally, look at his butt to make sure he doesn’t have worms or traces of diarrhea.
Choose from a Scope
Faced with a litter of adorable kittens, it is advisable to observe the behaviour of each one and not to choose in haste! Ask to hug the one you are interested in: it is important to choose a kitten that accepts caresses and handling. Your future kitten should also be active and playful, even if you are not necessarily looking for this type of behaviour, it is quite normal for a small cat and a guarantee of good health. A “normal” kitten should be curious, try to play and follow you when you put her down, or sit in your arms and purr. On the other hand, a sick kitten will not be dynamic and will not tend to come to you.
Types of kittens
There are three main types of behaviour in kittens and even if it may seem simplistic, observing them is already an indication of their future personality. A well-balanced kitten who is comfortable in her skin will come to you, let herself be carried away, accept handling and caressing. The shy kitten, on the other hand, will not come to you, but will be kindly caught and will tend to hide; he may be difficult to socialize with children or other animals, but may be suitable for a single person. Finally, the aggressive kitten should be avoided: she spits, lowers her ears and claws when you reach out.
Dialogue with the seller
When you go to meet your cat, ask questions about her history, behaviour, preferences… This makes it possible to better understand his personality because the seller knows him well and has been able to observe him since his birth. He can also have information about the kitten’s behaviour towards other animals and household members, such as a history of health or suspicions. Ask if the kitten has already seen the veterinarian, if she has been vaccinated or will be vaccinated for sale, and if she regularly associates with humans, which will facilitate her socialization.
Check the Papers
An adult cat should not be adopted without identification papers and health records, as these documents contain her health history and show that her vaccinations are up to date. Age and race are also indicated on the papers, as well as the microchip or tattoo number. If you adopt a kitten, chances are he doesn’t have any papers yet if he hasn’t seen a vet yet. If necessary, this will be the first step to be taken after the adoption, in order to establish the cat’s papers, the primary vaccination and the implantation of the electronic chip.