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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-26-2011, 12:27 AM Thread Starter
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Kitten or Adult Cat?

Hi

I'm new here and looking for some input.

I am hoping to adopt a cat after wanting to for sometime. I will finally have the space and support I wanted because my boyfriend and I recently moved in together. I have been wanting a cat of my own for awhile now, but the time has never been right due to living in apartments or having roommates. I'm finally feeling ready to this commitment and want to adopt in the next month. My boyfriend is very supportive of this decision and is a very responsible pet parent.

He has two very sweet, older dogs and an older male kitten (about 8 months old and neutered).

At first, I was certain I would adopt a kitten (so hard not to give into the cuteness!). However, after looking on Petfinder, I see so many adult cats or older kittens who really need homes.

My main concern is whether or not an adult cat or a kitten would fit in better, given that the household already has animals. The dogs are fine with cats. One of them will sometimes play *gently* with the current cat, and the other chooses to pretend the cat doesn't exist.

We don't know how his cat would be with other cats. We suspect he would be ok with it, because he is very playful with animals, and tries so hard to play with the dogs who mostly ignore him. Obviously, we can't know for sure because we've never seen him with another cat.

Also, his cat has been a little standoffish to us until recently (he's had him since he was 12 weeks). He's independent and does not like being picked up, touched, or held, unless it's his decision. Although he can be cuddly when he wants to be. I'm wanting a cat who is a little more cuddly/affectionate just to have a different personality.

I'm concerned about how an already grown cat would adjust to the situation. Would it be better to bring home a kitten and go through the kitten stages or adopt an older kitten or even an older cat? Or should I try to find one about his age?

Looking for some advice from those more experienced.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-26-2011, 01:05 AM
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I have found that adjustment has more to do with the personality of the cat and less with the age. Although kittens have a child like wonder some kittens personalities take longer to adjust them some laid back adults. There are pros and cons to each that you will have to evaluate. I have adopted kittens and I have adopted adults and the two experiences are very different.

With a kitten you get the experience of raising your cat since infancy. They are cute, love to snuggle, and love to play. There are few things as wonderful as a kitten Some things to consider with a kitten. First is a matter of playing, would either of your animals play with the kitten? Would you have enough time to wear a kitten out? A bored kitten is often a destructive kitten. When you come home from work usually the first thing your kitten is gonna want to do is play. I usually recommend adopting kittens in pairs unless you know your other animal will play with it. The second is a lot of the messiness that comes with a kitten. Kittens are babies, so they often wait til the last minute to use the box and are excited to get back to what they are doing so they don't care if they use the box messily lol. The third thing is medical stuff. There are a lot of diseases that are hard to detect until the kitten is much older. Heart defects or even FIP can sneak up on you. Can you handle this if your kitten does show up with something? The fourth thing is personality, a kittens personality grows and blossoms as they mature. This is a pro and a con.

An adult cat often comes with some baggage. They've already lived life and are in a shelter because someone didn't deem them worthy of keeping. They are past the cute stage and have blossomed into beauty. But adopting an adult is very rewarding. You already know the personality of the cat and whether or not it likes other animals. They aren't as feisty and energetic as a youngster so to be left alone for large amounts of time aren't as taxing. Not only that but after a long day at work an adult will usually greets you at the door to snuggle. A kitten wants to play! Adult cats require less attention and supervision. Adult cats are quiet companions, they have well developed manners, use the litter box properly, and don't have to be reminded to use the scratching post. I have to be honest with you, the majority of older cats are not surrendered to shelters for behavioral issues. The most common reasons are moving to a place that doesn't allow cats, illness or death to owners, or abandonment due to allergies. They are suddenly alone and often scared. But bursting at the seams to be someones baby.

Both experiences are very very rewarding but very different. I think the personality of the cat will dictate whether or not they get along with your existing pets. Both kittens and cats need homes. What you will have to do is take a hard look at your current lifestyle and situation and see which best fits into those things: a kitten or a cat.

I am so excited for you, I love adoption

Last edited by Pawsitively Nicole; 02-26-2011 at 01:08 AM.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-26-2011, 08:54 AM
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I agree with Nicole when she says that the personality of the cat or kitten is the most important factor, and it will determine how easily the cat/kitten will get along with other animals. When I adopted Abby, she was only 10 weeks old and Muffs was only between 4 and 5 months old. So they were both babies, and according to the "books", their introduction should have been a breeze. Yet their introduction took 3 months and required me to hire an animal behaviorist, primarily because Muffs is a very skittish/nervous cat and she was terrified of Abby. So much for an easy introduction!

If you want a cat that's cuddly and affectionate, then you might be best to adopt an older cat whose personality has been formed. With a kitten, you never really know whether he/she will be cuddly once he/she is older. If you do decide to go with an older cat, you should consider adopting one that has been fostered, since the foster parents are typically very familiar with the personality of the cats. If you adopt a cat who's known to get along with dogs and other cats, then you'll likely be fine once the new cat has been introduced to your existing pets.

Good luck with your search!
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-26-2011, 11:14 AM
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You may have some better luck in knowing (at least somewhat) what type of personality a cat will have if you adopt a purebred. There are a lot of abandoned or retired purebreds on Petfinder and that way you can do research into what type would suit your lifestyle/wants and go from there. You are still rescuing but will have an idea of what you're getting.
Although I know that even with purebreds, you may not get what they say they 'should' be but more often than not you will have a better idea.
Although I had rescues my whole life, this time I wanted to know what I was getting as I have 2 babes ( they are going to be 1 and 2 in a month) and wanted a cuddly, laidback, not too crazy cat, and I got that in my Himalayan girl. She is very easygoing, not startled easily, let the kids carry her around like a doll with no complaints, and won't just run and hide when they come by, but she will go to her "safe room" when she needs a break.
My rescues in the past (who I have loved dearly) were hit and miss and I didn't want to have to worry too much about a kitty attack (although regardless my kids are NEVER alone with my himmie). AS I sit here all three of them are playing like demons in the tent we have here in the livingroom .
Anyway regardless I believe socialization/exposure is key. Getting them used to a big variety of things that may happen in your home (frequent visitors, kids, other pets, noises, etc) properly and with the least stress will help.
I hope that helps a bit! and I know I went off on a bit of a tangent, but I believe that having a specific breed may give you somewhat of an edge in knowing how a cat or kitten will adjust as they are usually similar to the breed standard and you can research a bit easier kwim? And I just want to reiterate that I have nothing against moggys!Purebreeds need to be resuced too!
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-26-2011, 01:49 PM
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You've received some excellent advice already. The only thing I would add when you go to a shelter or rescue is do not be hung up on wanting a specific color or pattern of cat. The best bond and usually the cuddliest cat is the one that picks you out, rather than you picking the cat. Do spend at least 1-2 hrs. with the cat, sit on the floor and see which one is attracted to you consistently, and do more than one visit. Generally speaking, I've found that cats of similar age have the easiest intros to each other, tho as Susan pointed out there can be some exceptions. Good luck! and let us know how things work out.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-26-2011, 01:58 PM
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You are right about the need to adopt an older cat. Kittens are more popular.

But how about a sociable teen-ager? Altered males can form strong bonds and tend to be much more mellow than females. There's a thread about that here somewhere.
I'd say go with a bro-cat.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-26-2011, 02:49 PM
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I think the best thing to do is to figure out what you want in a cat and go to a shelter and find a cat like that. When looking for a cat I had tons of them in mind but ended up choosing a cat that I hadn't even paid attention to when looking online.

Then you should find out if it would do well with dogs and other cats. The shelter I went to had the cats in rooms by age so they were socialized with other cats. The ones that didn't like other cats were outside the rooms. But I don't know if a lot of shelters in your area are like that...

I'd also go with the advice of what everyone else said.

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-26-2011, 06:22 PM
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Because you have dogs, I would go with a kitten or a cat around your cat's age. They are usually better accepted by everyone and would fit in right away.

You can't always go by what the shelter or rescue says about the cat. Unfortunately, sometimes the people relinquishing them lie about the reason. "Allergies" seems to be a popular excuse, and they don't want to say they don't get along with other animals, because they don't want their pet put down.

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-26-2011, 07:30 PM
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Great advice you've been given already, I have nothing to add, except for a recent example of my own.

We already had a cat, almost 1 year old male, and we decided to adopt a cat instead of a kitten. We picked out a really laid back, soft, cuddly, white, 3 year old male. The introduction went ridiculously easy. I even made a thread about it (somewhere on this forum). It took us only 24 hours of them to be comfortable around each other! They already started playing through the crack of the door after 20 minutes. No hissing, no growling. They are inseparable.

Good luck with your adoption!
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-26-2011, 11:33 PM
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As hard as it is to be patient, I HIGHLY recommend when you are going to the shelter to spend an hour or two there for several visits. Cats behave differently at different times of the day, as well as they have their good days and bad days. It will give you a more complete and accurate look at the personality of the cat.

If I had gone with the cat I was going to adopt on the first visit I would have ended up with an exotic short hair who is a very dominating personality, is a biter (he was unfortunately declawed), and really isn't that fond of people. He was having a really good day the first time I went and being loving to me. Every day after that he ignored me and even bit me when I extended my hand to him. He did end up finding a home that was perfect for him, he just wasn't the personality that I was looking for

On the flip side Kent wouldn't even be in the same room as me on that first visit, he would always run away in fear. Yet for some reason he eventually picked me. I would have missed out on my perfect cat if I hadn't kept going back. I went once a week for a couple of hours for 2 months. I wanted to get the personality that I was looking for, I was very serious about my choice.
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