Q: What Should I Look For in a Kitten?

September 7, 2009 | By Kaukab B. | 5 answers | Expired: 1921 days ago

Kaukab B.

When choosing a kitten to bring home, what should I look for? Are there certain health and personality traits in particular that I should watch out for? For example, how to tell if the kitten is showing signs of an illness or mental trauma?

(Just to be clear: We already have a 12 wk old shorthair kitten, and no dogs. We would like a healthy, normal kitten who can BALANCE our hyper one at home, and be a great playmate for her (about her age). Also, it's just my husband and me at the moment. No children yet, we are a young couple. But we would like a kitten who LOVES to be cuddled and spoken to - the one we have now isn't big on laps or being held, she likes to do her own thing! We rarely have people over, and mostly keep to ourselves, so our place is fairly quiet. We live in an apartment, with nothing extravagant displayed around the house. Finally, we both work and go to school. I try and give ample time to my kitten regardless of how busy I get. AND, at the moment, we don't mind fostering a kitten either!)

Update: Thanks for all the great advice and encouragement, guys! We're working on bringing home a foster kitten. Hope we get approved. We're looking for either a female kitten or a male neutered, since our Sophie isn't spayed yet (will do that within the coming 2 months). Thanks again, everyone. Really appreciate it!

Readers' Answers (5)

Sep 12, 2009

y'know, the kitty you already have *could* be fixed already, even at her age. a lot of people wait until their pet is about 6 months old or reaching sexual maturity and get them fixed at that age because for the longest that's what all of the vets would tell you to do, but this isn't absolutely necessary. with kittens, many vets will fix them at as young as 8 weeks of age, or when they reach 2 lbs body weight. the boys can sometimes be fixed a little earlier even, since their surgery isn't as invasive. and getting them fixed early has its advantages. un-neutered male cats are notorious for going around and spraying stuff to scent mark it, but males that are fixed early before they're really old enough to develop the habit are far less likely to start spraying to begin with. i have 4 males who were fixed at 10 weeks of age, and none of them has ever sprayed anything...ever. and as for your little girl...females can go into heat and get pregnany as early as 4 months of age. really...no kidding. and while you're most certainly right to keep her away from fertile males, a female cat in heat is a crazy, crazy thing. all it would take would be her slipping between your feet and getting loose outside once, and next thing you know you've got a litter of kittens on your hands. that happened to a lady i know last year during "kitten season", after a vet told her not to worry about fixing a female kitten until she was 6 months. oops.

good luck with the new kitten!

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Sep 07, 2009

I suggest that you think about what kind of cat would fit into your home. Do you have other cats? Will the kitten be a welcomed playmate or an irritation? Do you want a cat that will ALWAYS be ready to play or one that loves to cuddle? Are there valuable things in the house (like curtains, furniture, paintings) that an active cat can damage? Do you have the time every day to groom a long haired cat? Is your home an active and busy place that would frighten a timid cat? When you able to clearly explain the answers to those questions you will be able to ask the right questions when you go looking. A lot of shelters have people who can help you match the cat to your needs. The more you can tell them the better "fit" you will get.

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Sep 08, 2009

I answered your other question about your kitten being active at night by suggesting that you might consider another kitten for company and I see that you're already doing that. Anyway, I'd suggest a male kitten around the same age. I've owned both male and female cats and in my experience, males have a greater tendency to be mushy lap cats. I currently have two males who are amazing! Just think about a lion pride. The females are the primary hunters while the males just lounge around in the shade waiting for their meal. Kittens usually adjust better to a new housemate than an older cat so now would be the best time if you're going to do it. You'll still have to take it slow with the introduction process until they get used to each other though. Also is your current kitten spayed? If you do consider a male and she is not, you might want to talk to your vet about early spaying and neutering. You wouldn't want any suprise additions. Your current kitten is still young so she should calm down as she gets older but depending on her personality she may never be a lap cat. Obviously you'll want to look for a kitten that has no obvious health issues such as runny eyes or nose. The kitten should have a healthy looking coat, bright eyes, clean ears, a clean bottom and should be alert. The care takers of the kitten should be able to help you with personality. Since you want a people oriented lap cat let them know and the'll probably be able to tell you which kitten may fit the bill. I don't think a timid kitten would be right for you based upon what you're looking for. Good luck.

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