We typically fall in love with most kittens the minute that we see them, but is this the wisest way to make a decision on something that will have a major impact on your life for, hopefully, many years to come? After all – a kitten is for life!
There are many things to consider before choosing:
- Will kitty come from friend or family members – in which case you probably know or have seen the mother and have some history of the temperament of the kitten and how it will look and behave when it gets older.
- Buying from a pet shop, breeder, seller – Much more to consider here. Do your research (there are many books and websites to peruse). Look at the natural characteristics and behaviour of the animal – short hair, long hair, colour, habits. Is it haughty, child friendly, dog friendly, independent? Does it make you sneeze? Indeed, consider if it is likely to have any negative impact at all on your home life. It is far better to spend time thinking along these lines before choosing your pet to ensure there are no upcoming surprises.
- Once you have chosen the type most suitable to your lifestyle, the next step is where to get it. If at all possible, try to buy from a source that allows you to see the mother and siblings. Ascertain if the group are human friendly or showing signs of irascibility. What size will it become and how it will look as an adult. You should also consider the impact it will have on your home – will it drop hair, scratch chairs, destroy your cushions?
- Cost is likely to be the first thing you consider. The price varies greatly from seller to seller, area to area and current desirability. Of course, you can take pot luck and visit a cat refuge where the staff should be able to give you good advice with some background on the kitten’s development stages. If there is a cat rescue centre near, you could always just visit but, be warned, you will want to take them all home and that may be the end of your search.
- Please also be aware that there are charlatans and illegal breeders out there that “kitten and puppy farm” strictly for profit. More and more, this despicable practice is being revealed but, still, there are families who pay good money for their animal only to lose it to ill health. Believe me, this is truly heart breaking especially if there are children involved. Please go with your gut feeling and look out for any peculiar signs. A reputable breeder will be able to give you a complete history and, very often, will interview YOU before selling your family a kitten to ensure that you can provide all the needs necessary for a quality kitten. See this as a good sign and indicative of a caring professional set up.
Or, you can just fall for the first kitten you see, take it home and prepare yourself for the unexpected.