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Should I Adopt a Kitten or an Adult Cat? (Pros & Cons)

Many people are unsure whether they should adopt a kitten or an adult cat when they go to the local animal shelter. We will take a close look at each option to see if there are any clear advantages to choosing one over the other to help you make an educated decision that’s best for you and the cat.

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Kitten Overview

Kitten
Image Credit By: Olgaozik, pixabay
Pros
  • Cute
  • Playful
  • Tiny
  • Like to Cuddle
  • Maximum lifespan
Cons
  • Needy
  • No set schedules
  • More expensive

The kitten is often the choice for most people for no other reason than you will get the most time possible with your new pet, usually giving you between 7 and 20 years to spend together. Kittens are full of life and energy, and they put their whole body into the games they play. A kitten can chase a string or ball for extended sessions and will often be right back after a short nap. They are curious and will tirelessly investigate every nook and cranny in your home and can usually get into hilarious antics while doing so. They are very small and cute, and many like to cuddle.

However, there are some downsides to owning a kitten as well. They are very needy and will take up much of your time for the first few months of their lives. They often pass through many destructive phases as they get teeth and learn to sharpen their claws, and they are not on a set schedule yet, so it can be difficult to get a good night’s sleep. One other thing to watch out for is that a kitten will cost more to adopt because more people like kittens.

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Adult Cat Overview

Cheetoh cat female_garmoncheng_shutterstock
Image Credit: garmoncheg, Shutterstock
Pros
  • Less expensive
  • Easier to care for
  • Could be saving their life
Cons
  • Not as cute
  • Not as playful
  • Less time to spend with them
  • May have a rigid personality

People often overlook adult cats when they shop for a new pet, but there are quite a few advantages to reconsidering. Adult cats are often much less expensive to adopt because the pet shop wants to get rid of them, and in many cases adopting an adult cat can save it from being euthanized. Adult cats are much less playful than kittens and will require much less of your time each day and will be perfectly happy lounging on a shelf or in the sun.

The downside to adult cats is that they aren’t as cute, and they don’t like to play as much. If this is one of your favorite times, you won’t want to pass it up. You will also get less time with your pet, and a full-grown cat can easily be halfway through its lifespan or more. One last concern with the adult cats is that they can be set in their ways and have little interest in learning new rules.

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Is it a Bad Idea to Get a Kitten with an Older Cat?

If you want to own more than one cat, the best option is to purchase them simultaneously, and both cats should be small kittens. Cats, and many other animals, adapt better when you socialize them to strange circumstances at a young age. If you want your pets to be friendly toward guests, children, and other pets, it’s best to socialize them from an early age, so they grow to know it as normal behavior.

However, you don’t always get to choose when a second cat arrives, and if you have an unexpected new pet that’s much younger than your current cat, they may fight for a while, but they will be able to cohabitate in time.

Will My Cat Change If I Get a Kitten?

Unfortunately, even if your cats get along very well, the permanent disruption to your cat’s daily activities will cause the cat to act differently. The changed behavior isn’t necessarily bad, though, as long as you don’t notice any hostilities between the two cats.

Will My Cat Hurt a New Kitten?

Cat and Kitten
Image Credit By: WFranz, pixabay

Unfortunately, the bottom line is that your adult can easily kill a small kitten if it feels threatened enough. If your cat is expressing uncharacteristic personality traits, we recommend separating them for a few days. However, even when the cats hate each other, it rarely gets bad enough for killing, at least once the kitten is a few months old. You may notice a lot of hostility, hissing, and vocalizing from the adult cat, but as we said before, the adult cat is prone to relaxing while the kitten is lightning fast. Trouble only tends to start when the kitten gets too close to the cat, but as soon as the cat chases it away, the adult will go back into its relaxed state. Once the kitten is an adult, it too will relax, and there will be very little fighting.

Catfights are extremely loud, and if you are in the building, you will hear it and can rush to break it up and separate the two cats for a few hours or days.

Are Cats Happier in Pairs?

two cats
Image Credit By: Olga1205, pixabay

There is no way to tell for sure if a cat wants company. We have had several cats that were best friends and enjoyed each other’s company. However, we have had many cats that were, at best, indifferent toward each other but most often merely tolerating each other.

Cats are predatory animals that stalk, pounce, and eat their food. They are very territorial and protect that territory with their life. Though they might work together temporarily to take down large prey, they are not pack animals like many dogs. Obviously, wildcats take a mate but spend most of their time alone on the hunt. Therefore, we don’t think that a cat desires a companion the way humans and even dogs do, and many cats may indeed experience a decrease in the quality of life when a new cat comes into the household. The original cat will need to fight for all prime locations after getting over being forced to allow an intruder into its territory.

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Summary

Most people will most likely choose a kitten over a cat to get the most time with their pet. Kittens are also a lot of fun, especially if you have children or are looking for something to occupy your time. An adult cat probably won’t be very playful, but they won’t upend your home as much, and you’ll be helping a cat that people might overlook again and again until it’s too late, during which time dozens of kittens can find homes

We hope you have enjoyed reading and have found answers to any questions you may have had. We hope you could put into perspective the difference between kittens and adult cats and have decided on one for your home. Please share this guide to whether you should adopt a kitten or an adult cat on Facebook and Twitter if you have found it helpful.

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Featured Image Credit: Susan Schmitz, Shutterstock