Adopting an Adult Cat vs a Kitten

We’ve got an adorable gray kitten named Nick at the animal shelter where I help once in a while. Nick is a jumper, runner, wrestler, string-chaser, and purring machine, not to mention a cutie – everything you’d want in a kitten. When visitors come to the shelter wishing to look at the cats and possibly choose one, we take Nickie away and hide him in the other room. Why? Because more than likely, he’d be the one to immediately draw the visitors, get all the attention, and be adopted. Other cats would be given no chance. And those other cats are just as wonderful, even though they are already adults. We want them to find good homes as well.

Kittens are the easiest to adopt. They are charming and playful, they win people’s hearts right away. Every month our shelter takes some of our cats to a Petsmart store where people can look at them, get to know them and pick one. If there are any kittens, they are always taken very quickly. However, kittens have the highest return rate, too. Very often, the decision to adopt is a compulsive one, made in a spur of the moment. Later on people discover that taking care of a kitten is harder than what they thought (or perhaps they did not think of it at all), so they return them.

I have adopted both kittens and adult cats. While kittens are a lot of fun, they certainly require more care, attention, and training time. Kittens scratch. Kittens climb (furniture, curtains, and people). Kittens get into things and mess things up. Unless they are asleep, kittens are always in motion. And, last but not least, kittens grow up. Very fast. So if you want a kitten because it is cuter than an adult cat, guess what? Several months later you will end up with an adult cat anyway.

I would like to encourage potential cat owners to give adult cats a chance. While they may not be so playful as kittens, especially at first, trust me, each one has a unique personality and a large supply of tricks to entertain you with. Grownup cats may also need more time to get used to you and to their new home, but you will be greatly rewarded for your patience. And in most cases, there will be no curtain climbing.

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