How to choose a kitten or a cat

Posted by Maggie the Moggie. December 14th 2013.

Once you have decided to enter into the world of cat ownership you have the exciting choice of whether to choose a cat or a kitten. Both cats and kittens have points in their favour, so it’s best for you to research and think about it before you make your decision.

Both kittens and cats can be sourced from breeders and rescue organisations. Whilst it is lovely and fun to see kittens grow and become part of your life. It is well worth considering offering a home and the opportunity for a good life to a cat, which through no fault of its own, needs a new loving home.

A new cat, whether young or old, brings the exciting adventure of getting to know each other and all the fun that that entails.

So, how do you decide on the age of the cat to welcome into your home?



kitten is usually ready to leave its mum at around 7 or 8 weeks old. Kittens will arrive into their new homes full of curiosity, fun and playfulness.  The period of kitten-hood is really quite short, up to six months, so you have the chance to take a huge part in developing its habits for life.

You need to be aware that the kitten’s enthusiastic exploration of its environment means it can be messy and accidentally destructive; your furniture, fittings, ornaments , curtains and carpets, can be played with, climbed on, chewed and scratched.

Whilst this behaviour can sometimes be costly, there are also expenses associated with essential vaccinations and optional veterinary attention, such as neutering and microchipping.  It is well worth talking to your local vet to find out their charges.

Kittens also enjoy exploring people and playing with them, so feet and hands are vulnerable to being scratched.  This is particularly important to bear in mind if you have young children or elderly people in the house.

There is great pleasure in watching your kitten mature into a confident, happy friendly cat, whilst filling up your photo album with all its cute expressions and antics along the way.

Ragdoll cat


Whilst kittens have a huge ‘cute’ factor, they don’t stay kittens for very long – just six months out of a potential 14 years or more.

Adult cats can be a lot more sensible than kittens, but once they settle in and their true personality starts to come through you will find they are just as much fun as a kitten however, in a slightly more grown up way! Just like people, cats have different personalities, one will be confident and stroll in as though they have always lived with you, whilst another may take more time and need space and privacy to come out of their shell.

Adopting an older cat means that you have avoided the often challenging and testing time of owning a kitten. The need for discovery and exploration has calmed down and the older cat will generally have a more relaxed outlook on life. They will have developed their own habits, so may take a little time to get used to your routines; however they will tend to be less chaotic and messy than kittens.

Your house is less likely to look like a war zone or require replenishing with new furniture or ornaments. However, even the most aged adult cat can still be seen to have the devil in them on the odd occasion and bring a smile to an owners face with their antics. The acrobatics just tend to be less frequent and less daredevil.

There is a financial advantage in adopting an adult cat in that they are likely to already have been vaccinated, neutered and possibly microchipped. Whilst this will depend where the cat came from, it is worth knowing that many rescue organisations will ensure this is done before the cat is rehomed.

It is important to get a health check of any pet that you are looking to adopt. Well-run rescue centres ensure that their cats are checked out by a vet to make sure they are healthy.

Kittens or cats?

Whilst they both bring fun and pleasure into your life, the time from the small bundle of hyperactive fun to troublesome teenager to adult cat is quite short.

There are many cats, from young to old, in rescue centres looking for a secure and caring home.  It is easy to overlook these cats in favour of having a little kitten only a few weeks old.  You should take time weighing up not only what the pet can give you,  but what you can offer a cat in return.

Whichever choice you make, be sure to obtain the pet from a reputable source, be fully aware of its health history and status, as well as any likely costs.

Whichever you choose, enjoy the experience!

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