The KZN Cat Club has put together a 5-part series on how to find your purrfect kitten, how to find a breeder, how to choose a breed and some helpful tips for preparing your home for your new kitten. Part 1 focuses on “Why do I want a kitten?”.

WHY DO I WANT A KITTEN?

First and foremost, before you decide on a breed, look for a breeder and choose a kitten, it is important to determine why you want a kitten and how the rest of the family feels about it and also consider the logistics of choosing a kitten and what could happen to it if your circumstances change. If you want a kitten because of its “designer” status, that is less appealing to a breeder than if you want a kitten for companionship and to love well into it’s old age.

Do you have sufficient time to raise a kitten and give it ample attention and care? Who will have the main responsibility of feeding a kitten and changing litter boxes, cleaning up after it, giving it attention and taking it for check-ups with the vet? It is a good idea to have an adult take responsibility for these things as children have homework, extra murals and many other things on the go. They may not be mature enough to handle the responsibility on their own.

What kind of kitten do you want? If you choose a kitten solely based on its colour you may end up with a personality mismatch and the kitten may not fit in with your household. If you choose a kitten that doesn’t have the right temperament, what will you do when the novelty wears off? It is important to decide what kind of personality traits you would like in a kitten in addition to what features appeal to you.

Do you live alone? Who will look after your kitten when you go away on holiday or business? Do you have a house-sitter that is experienced with cats and will follow your routine and instructions? It is better not to send the kitten to a boarding cattery where they can potentially be exposed to germs, as they will be stressed with the environmental change.

Do you live in a complex or apartment? Find out if are you allowed to keep pets and how many. What are your body corporate rules or city bylaws regarding keeping pets? Do you intend to add more cats or other animals later on, if you don’t have existing pets already?

What if something happens to you? Are you able to make arrangements for the kitten in your will for it to be rehomed to an appropriate party who will care for it and keep in touch with the breeder should something happen to you or your circumstances change and you are unable to take care of your cat? Make sure the breeder will be able to assist with this process and your family is aware of your wishes.

Do you have any family members in the household that are allergic to cats? Are they willing to manage their allergies accordingly or will this come down to choosing a more hypoallergenic option? Is everyone in your household on board with adopting a new kitten? Are your family members that live in the household happy with the idea of purchasing a new kitten?

These are all important questions to ask yourself and you can even have a family meeting about it before making the decision to go and buy a kitten. Make a list of pros and cons and have your family decide with an educated and informed view of owning a kitten. Some breeders may have specific things you need to be aware of with regards to introductions, breed-specific grooming or behaviour and diet, and even securing your property to prevent the kitten from getting lost, ill or encountering dangers.

CHECKLIST

  1. Who will be the primary care giver for the kitten?
  2. Who will look after the kitten in your absence?
  3. Is the whole family agreeable to purchasing a kitten?
  4. What is your budget for a kitten?
  5. What features and personality traits would you like in a kitten?
  6. Do you have time to properly care for your kitten and give it sufficient attention?
  7. What are the body corporate rules, lease stipulations or city bylaws regarding owning a cat?
  8. Can you make provisions for the cat’s care should something happen to you?
  9. If this is going to be your only pet, what will you do if the kitten is lonely? Are you able to provide ample attention and stimulation?
  10. Are you prepared to secure your home or property so that the kitten does not wander?

Next… PART 2: WHAT BREED IS RIGHT FOR ME?

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