This post is not an excuse to post pictures of kittens. It’s not!
People always ask me how I ended up with such friendly cats. (Some would call my cats overly friendly.) Part of this is that they have always gotten a lot of attention but part of it is that I picked good kittens in the first place.
Cat personalities can run the gambit from feral to lap cats. Luckily, picking a kitten is not hard at all–in fact it’s very fun–but there are a few things to look for to make sure you get a good one. You want to make sure the kitten is friendly, healthy, and has a good personality.
There are other things to consider when picking a kitten–what it looks like, whether the cat sheds, and whether you want a male or a female (I usually get male cats but find the sex doesn’t matter as long as you get the cat fixed when it’s young). But if you focus on the following points first, you will be happy with your adoption.
When looking for a kitten, make sure the kitten:
Purrs when you touch it
Unlike adult cats, a good kitten will purr every time it’s picked up. I can’t stress enough how important this is for ending up with a friendly cat. A purring kitten means it’s used to being handled and that it likes people. A kitten that doesn’t purr may be the cutest thing in the world, but if it isn’t bonded to people, it won’t have the same relationship with you that a kitten that purrs will. (Most likely, anyway–there are exceptions to every rule.) If you want a cat that comes when you calls, loves to cuddle, and follows you around, get a kitten that purrs when you pick it up.
There is nothing sadder than a sick kitten. You want your kitten to be in good shape and healthy.
A healthy coat
Cats show their health in their fur, so look for a shiny, thick coat. An unhealthy coat may look dull, feel thin, or even have bald spots.
A healthy weight
You want a kitten with a bit of fat on its body and good muscle tone. Skeletal kittens can have serious problems.
It’s common for kittens to have runny eyes. Usually this is a simple problem that can be cleared up by medication, but it’s still something to think about.
Kittens that wheeze, sneeze, or show other respiratory issues are doing so because they’re sick. Usually this is a common cold, but sometimes it can be more serious.
Of course cats sleep a lot, but when the kitten is awake, it should show interest in playing and be generally bright eyed and bushy tailed.
Has a clean butt
Sorry, but you have to check under the tail too. You don’t want to see blood, diarrhea, or any other nasty-looking problems.
Connects with you
Wait for a kitten that has a personality. Usually, this means the kitten will notice and interact with you. Maybe he will come across the cage to see you, maybe he will bat at your clothes, or maybe he will fall asleep on you in the store, as in the case of our most recent cat. However this manifests, you’ll know it when you see it.
How did you know your cat was “the one”?