A Kitten Or A Cat? Which Should You Adopt?

It’s always exciting to adopt a new feline into your family. The act of adoption not only gives a kitten or cat a new lease on life, it also gives you a cuddle buddy and dedicated friend. When you adopt, you want to provide the new cat with the best possible life and environment. Your home and lifestyle has to be able to mesh well with your specific cat’s needs and personality.

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Image Source: Doug McCaughan via Flickr.com

When it comes to cats and kittens, we might as well be talking about apples and oranges– everything from their energy levels to the amount of attention they require is different. Taking these factors into consideration when choosing whether to adopt a cat or a kitten can help you make a decision that’s best for everyone.

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Image Source: James Dean via Flickr.com

Should you adopt a kitten?
Kittens rarely last long in shelters because they are so dang adorable. Who can resist them? A lot of people default to adopting a kitten when they want to add a new kitty to their family. Unfortunately, many of these people don’t think about how much attention a kitten requires and whether or not their lifestyle can sustain it. Here are some things to consider about kittens:

  • They have an incredible amount of energy. Kittens want to play almost all of the time. They will climb, wrestle, and attack. Do you have the time and energy to put into playing with a rowdy kitten?
  • It’s great to adopt kittens in sets of twos. Since they’re so playful, your kitten will be excited and thankful to have a built-in playmate. This won’t get you out of the need to engage in playtime, but it’ll sure help keep her distracted and stimulated when you’re busy.

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Image Source: Jennifer C. via Flickr.com

  • Kittens need to be trained. Do you have the time and energy to devote to litter training and curbing undesirable behavior like biting and scratching the couch?
  • You’ll need to kitten-proof your home. Kittens can and will find their way into all sorts of dangerous situations. It’s natural for them to want to explore the world, so you’ll need to make sure she doesn’t have access to anything dangerous or toxic to eat, chew, or play with (electric cords, toxic plants or cleaning products, string, etc.)
  • It’s fun to watch a kitten grow into a cat while your bond strengthens.
  • If you have the time and energy to devote to raising a happy and healthy kitten, they can add an amazing amount of playfulness and sweetness to your home.

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Image Source: Magnus Brath via Flickr.com

Should you adopt a cat?
Adult cats are often looked over by potential adopters who are swooned by the tiny mewing kittens, but they can be a great match for many families. Here are some things to consider about adult cats:

  • Adult cats are generally calmer than kittens, but they still enjoy playtime.
  • When you adopt an adult cat you can see very clearly who you’re welcoming into your family. Not only will the shelter be able to give you first-hand knowledge of her specific personality, but they may also have records of her history before she entered the shelter. You can potentially go into an adoption of an adult cat with knowledge about whether she’s shy or bold, or whether she has experience living with other cats, dogs, or children. Having access to this information can help you determine whether she’s a good fit for your home and lifestyle.

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Image Source: Pete Slater via Flickr.com

  • An adult cat will require very little, if any, training. Everything should fall into place once she’s had a few days to explore your home and get comfortable.
  • An adult cat will do exceptionally well in a home with elderly folks (because they are less wild than kittens) or with small children (because they are less fragile than kittens).
  • Adult cats require far less attention than kittens and can be left alone for longer stretches of time without causing stress and anxiety.

Only you can decide whether a cat or a kitten would be the best match for your own specific circumstances. As someone who has adopted both at different times in my life, I can say confidently that both are total blessings as long as you are prepared and know what you’e getting into.

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