A kitten will cheer up the home… but will grow up! Once the decision has been made to choose a companion, this becomes a commitment for several years – and perhaps even decades! Choosing a kitten is therefore a matter for the brain as much as for the heart. Once you have decided that an animal would be welcome in your home, their origin is probably one of the first questions to ask.
House cat or pedigree cat?
A pedigree cat, born of selected individuals by a breeder and well socialised, offers the guarantee of meeting the physical description set out in the breed standard. The same goes for the major features of their character. Therefore, one could argue that they should become integrated into a new home without any problem. However, this can also be the case with a rescued kitten or cat and whichever you choose your cat is bound to give you many years of happiness.
The ideal companion
Choosing a kitten requires careful consideration about the type of companion one wants. Elegant such as the Abyssinian, all roundness such as the British Shorthair, imposing and calm such as the Maine Coon or maybe a little bit of everything… The different cats offer such diversity that it is worth gathering extensive information. Affiliated clubs are good sources of information and also good places to obtain addresses of breeders. Rescue centres are also a great place to consider when looking for advice.
Going to a cat show is an excellent opportunity to discover a large part of these breeds’ diversity and beauty in a single visit and to gain some more information from attending breeders. When possible, a visit to the location where the kitten was born and started to grow up is highly recommended. This enables you to better know their environment, their socialisation conditions, and help you to make the correct choice.
The kitten’s socialisation, which takes place between the 2nd and the 7th week of age, is a very important stage in development. It conditions, to a large extend, their future behaviour as an adult since it is during that period they learn to perceive as normal the events and situations with which confronted, helping them stay calm and relaxed when faced with those events in the future.
Male or female?
It is sometimes said that females are cuddlier and males more distant, and sometimes you hear exactly the opposite! In fact, there is not a cat of one gender that would be more loving if he/she was of the other gender. Neutering, strongly recommended unless one wants to practice breeding, considerably reduces behavioural differences between males and females.
Much more than gender choice, adequate socialisation of the kitten is what will guarantee a pleasant and harmonious relationship between man and cat. Therefore, you should decide your desired future companion and guide your choice according to your own lifestyle.