Adopting a cat for the first time is a fun and rewarding experience, but the first question that you should ask yourself is whether you want to adopt a kitten or a fully grown cat.
Adopting a kitten
Kittens are adorable balls of fluff that have high energy and high maintenance. Depending on the age of the kitten, you may need to spend more time housetraining it than an adult cat. House training involves:
- teaching them to use the litter box
- teaching them that the sofa is not a scratching post
- boundaries (especially if they are not allowed to go outside)
- not scratching or attacking visitors
The main tool for this training is consistency. Reward them for good behaviour and have some punishment for bad. Obviously this punishment is not physical abuse. Do not hit your kitten or cat since that will not reinforce good behaviour. The best bet is sternly talking to them or having a water spray bottle immediately after the event. It’s no use punishing them for something that happened an hour ago since there won’t be that instant connection in the cats mind. There are other methods of course and these are just the bear basics. The advantage to this is that you can train your cat from day one and with persistence and patience your cat will be the perfect animal companion.
In addition to the extra training, kittens require more attention than a grown cat. They need to be constantly stimulated with play time and affection. This isn’t much of a downside though since playing with your cat is the most fun an owner can have. It’s good to savour this while you can since older cats are not always as playful. Due the greater time commitment, adopting a kitten would not be suitable for someone who lives a very busy lifestyle, but if you have enough time per week to train and give affection to your kitten then go ahead.
Adopting a Cat
Unlike kittens, most cats come pre-trained and are in greater need of finding a home. Adult cats are less likely to be adopted and therefore more likely to put down, so buy adopting your cat from a local animal shelter you are literally saving a life.
Adult cats do also require some house training but that is more so to get them used to their new environment and their new boundaries. This transition period can take 1-3 weeks depending on the cat and requires the owner to gently push them to explore and get used to their new lifestyle. After that first introductory period, adult cats are great companions and require less training.
Adult cats are also more contempt to play with themselves. They have less needs than a kitten, but that doesn’t mean you can just ignore them. All cats need play time, especially if they are indoor cats. Play time is a great way to bind with your cat, as well and a good way to keep their bodies and minds healthy.