Finding the Right Kitten: What to Consider

Four cute kittens

Firstly, it is important to be clear about what it means to have a cat

Many people have the mistaken opinion that "if I can't have a dog, I can "just" get a cat because it doesn't require so much".  You certainly don't need to walk your cat, although some do, it needs just as much attention as a dog. Cats can be incredibly sociable, and for a cat, like so many other pets, the more time you spend with it, the better.

When you have decided to get a cat, you must also decide whether it should be a house cat and, if so, which breed, as the individual breeds differ in temperament, appearance, fur care, etc. Cat fancier clubs have made a breed description that tells briefly and clearly how their breed differs from other breeds, and if you contact them, they will be happy to send you information.

The best thing you can do is go to a cat show and talk to different breeders or borrow some books on the subject from the library. The advantage of seeing the cats at an exhibition can be that you get a wholesome picture of their temperament.

Perhaps you already know someone with purebred cats, and you can talk to them about it. When you have decided to get a purebred cat, you can contact the individual main clubs that publish a list of kittens once a month and have it/them sent. If you have already decided which breed you want, you can contact the specialist club that probably exists for the breed and have them send you a list of kittens. 

Once you have found the breed you would like to get a kitten from, it is a good idea to reach out to as many breeders as possible. You shouldn't feel that compelled to adopt from the first breeder. Bear in mind that you will have the kitten you adopt for many years, so it is important that you choose the right kitten from the right breeder. As a rule, there are always some questions along the way, and so it is important that you have a good relationship with the breeder and that you trust him. Most breeders also want to follow "their offspring" until they reach a certain age, so again it is important to have good chemistry with the breeder.

When you have to choose a kitten, it is wise if you make it clear what is important to you before you go out and look at different breeders. What you can look for is, for example:

It must be clean and neat where the kittens live. It must be possible to see the mother and possibly see a picture of the sire if the breeder has him. The kittens must appear healthy and fit, i.e. they must not be thin, disheveled, have an upset stomach, have eye problems (such as conjunctivitis), appear lethargic, or otherwise appear in poor condition.

You must also observe how the other cats in the home behave, and that none of the cats act shy. There is of course a difference in whether the cats are frightened or shy, but as a general rule, both the breeder and the prospective owner must be able to touch all cats and pick them up. Exceptions are made, however, for pregnant female cats, who must be carried in a special way, and fertile male cats who may be a little nervous, especially if they have just had a lady visit.

Also, before you look at kittens, make up your own mind as to whether or not you want to adopt from a place where you feel bad for the cats/kittens. Although there may be places where you think, "I want to save this kitten from the life it has here", it is an incredibly bad idea to get a kitten from that particular place because that breeder will not stop giving out kittens. By getting a kitten from a bad breeder, you are "dooming" future kittens to be born there, and that wasn't the intention, was it? The only way to stop a bad breeder is to stop adopting kittens from him because then they have to stop at some point due to too many cats, and lodge a complaint with the police or animal welfare group. 

And just one more thing. When looking at kittens, take your time! No point in visiting 4 breeders in 2 hours because it just needs to be done. In fact, you should not visit two catteries right after each other, as you can unknowingly carry a disease from one cattery to the other. So better arrange the visits a few days apart. Spend a GOOD TIME in each place. Possibly visit several times, especially if the kitten is not ready for adoption when you first see it. It is both fun and educational to follow "your" kitten.

And then there are some rules that every responsible breeder must observe: It is not allowed to remove a kitten from its mother until it is 12 weeks old, and it must be accompanied by: the issuance of a certificate proving the kitten has been vaccinated once (against cat distemper and cat flu) by a vet. Some breeders also vaccinate against leukemia, as it is a disease that occurs among feral domestic cats and the disease is contagious through saliva and blood. Some breeders also have their vet issue a health certificate for the kitten when vaccinated for the first time. It can also be mandatory to have a contract that (signed by both breeder and owner) is legally binding and is subject to the terms of the purchase laws.


We think you'll like this