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good age of kitten to adopt?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I was wondering what's the best age of kitten to adopt. What's considered too young? What are the benefits/detriments to adopting a younger one vs. an older kitten?

Any advice/input would be great. Thanks
post #2 of 16
!0-12 weeks and up is best. I wouldn't let one or get one sooner then that. Some do let them go at 8 weeks. That is the absolute earlist they should go, any younger, is too young and won't get the skills needed by being with mom and siblings. I don't let my kittens go till 12-14 weeks.
post #3 of 16
Minimum age should be 10 weeks - I feel ideal is 12-16 weeks.

Younger then 10 weeks, the kittens lose out on important social behavior/mental behavior in playing with siblings and other adult cats other then their mother. Many kittens still nurse up to 10-12 weeks of age.

They have to learn to be a cat and you see more behavior/social problems with young kittens deprived of this. Also the longer they stay with mom, they can learn house rules of not climbing curtains, learning to use a scratching post and not the couch, totally weaned and using the litter box.

Many kittens only begin to eat solid foods at 6-7 weeks old, so taking them younger then 10 weeks, they are not really ready to leave.

Kittens stay kittens for many months - so its not like you lose that "kitten" time. Charlie is 4 1/2 months old - we got him just before 4 months old (a few days) - he's VERY much a kitten but he's totally socialized with people and other animals (cats/dogs). Because he was older, he adjusted to the house quickly without fear and hiding. Took him 2 days to be ok with the dog, and (not on his part) 4 days to interact with Ling - she's the one that didn't want to socialize

Now in a few short weeks, he and Ling and the dog play together without problems.
post #4 of 16
Yeah, the kitten behavior LINGERS, sometimes to the point of making you wonder "When will this crazy phase ever end???" Captain Steuben is 10 months old, and is still very much a kitten as well.

But really, the rule of thumb is that kittens should go to their homes between 10-12 weeks or so.
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the replies!

Can they be spayed/neutered at this young of an age?

What if they are at a shelter without mom? Same thing?
post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashley45 View Post
Thanks for all the replies!

Can they be spayed/neutered at this young of an age?

What if they are at a shelter without mom? Same thing?

They can be altered (by some vets, check with yours in your area) at 8-12 weeks. My vet will do it at 2 pounds.

I have many dissagree with my as far as this, but at the shelter I worked at they will adopt the kittens at 8 weeks. They are learning nothing by being in cages, their mother can't teach them how to be a house cat at a shelter in a cage. We feel they have a better chance surviving in a home at 8 weeks then being at the shelter for another2-4 weeks, that is a long time for a kitten to be in a cage with the possiblity of being subjected to the #1 killer of shelter kittens, URI. Once they come down with it, they hardly ever get better, it can be passed back and forth and either become too sick and die, or get put to sleep, so at a shelter (ours any way) I think if they are healthy and eating on their own, 8 weeks is when they let them be adopted, being in a responsible home, they shouldn't be any younger then 10 weeks. And they should also have their shots done and altered, which can be done safely at 2 pounds.
post #7 of 16
I think you have a good point there CR - we adopt them out at 8 weeks if they are all eating by themselves and litter trained, but our kittens aren't in a home environment either, so while they have mum and siblings, they aren't getting used to normal household things.
post #8 of 16
Pros and cons of getting kittens or adults:

Kitten pros - getting to see them grow up; unless they are particularly shy or have been mistreated they tend to settle in quite quickly and feel at home with the family and other pets

Kitten cons - initial cost of shots/neutering (if not already done); the amount of attention they require in interactive play and watching them like a hawk to make sure they don't do anything naughty or get somewhere they shouldn't (they will anyway, kittens have a propensity for finding trouble!); coping with the bottomless well of energy and mischief!

Adult pros: Likely to be a bit less active and sleep more (generally speaking, some breeds and individuals remain very kitten-like throughout adulthood); not as demanding of constant attention (again generally speaking)

Adult cons: May be set in their ways and find it difficult to settle into a new routine and territory; Settling in period may be longer; introductions with other pets may take longer; risk of chronic health issues (again this is general, any cat can get sick but obviously the older a cat is the more prone it is to developing age-related health conditions)

I would definitely say that if you do decide on a kitten and you don't have other cats, get 2 at the same time otherwise they can get bored no matter how much time you spend with them!

ETA: also of course if you decide to get an adult cat you can feel good about the fact that you gave a home to a cat that may have been in a shelter a while with only a low chance of finding a good home
post #9 of 16
I agree that the shelter kittens are an exception; however, its hard for a person to know what to expect or how to handle socialization of a kitten if they never had one.

The "ideal" is the kitten is raised in a loving home, taught what is necessary, and then leaves home a healthy happy kitten that is stable in social/mental development, etc. And leaves home around 3 months old. Most good breeders will not even place kittens under 3 months old - most of the time they are between 3-4 months for the optimum companion.

Some breeds like rexes/siamese are not even socially ready to leave home till about 3-4 months old. If you've ever seen rex/siamese kittens at 8-10 weeks old, you would agree........keep them with siblings/mom for longer

Charlie was about 3 1/2 months old when he was neutered - he was done about 2 weeks before we got him
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashley45 View Post
Thanks for all the replies!

Can they be spayed/neutered at this young of an age?

What if they are at a shelter without mom? Same thing?

Our rescue group spays/neuters at 8-12 weeks of age. The kittens bounce back quickly. If you can find a rescue group that has fosters that care for the kittens..that works really well.

Katie
post #11 of 16
Ashley, I just posted to your other thread, so I mentioned this there as well.

Don't buy your new kitty from a pet shop or pet store. Also, be very cautious with those tempting newspaper articles, such as "Free to a good home" or "Kittens, $5 each." Your best source for adopting a kitten will be from your local shelter or rescue organization. Many of these cats and kittens come with personal histories, and would LOVE to have their forever home with you. Purchasing from a backyard breeder or pet shop is only contributing to the cat overpopulation problem, and how sad, considering the MILLIONS of cats that land in shelters each day. Many of these babies will be euthanized, or will spend the rest of their natural lives without knowing what a loving home actually was. PLEASE GIVE ONE OF THESE SPECIAL CATS A CHANCE! They are eternally grateful for that second chance at life and love, and will rarely let you down!

I would be more than happy to point you in the right direction...PM me if you want me to help you search some shelters and rescue groups in your area.

Also, there are some considerations to make when talking about kittens vs. adults, which others have already shared.

Who doesn't love a fluffy little kitten??? They're cute, small, silly, active, wild, curious, and a whole gamut of things that are special and enduring. We all love kittens! If you prefer a kitten...shelters OVERFLOW with them, especially in the spring and summer. I would definitely recommend that you adopt two kittens together, if you prefer to adopt at a young age...they will drive you far less crazy when they can keep each other occupied. Littermates are always a good idea. Often, shelters are so full of kittens and cats during kitten season, that you can adopt 2 for the same fee as one cat normally. And for you, two cats will NOT present to you much more cost or work. I have 3 cats, and I honestly don't pay much more to feed and care for the other two, as I did when I just had Fergus alone.

Please consider an adult. Cats can live a very long time...up to 20 years! If you adopt a cat between 1-5 years of age, you still have a loonnnngggg life to share with your pet, as these are still very young cats! Adults tend to be passed over in shelters...everyone is itching for that tiny kitten! But, because of the unpredictability and craziness that a kitten can present, the newness wears off, and many find out just how much work a young kitten can be!!! Perhaps, as they grow, they don't quite "get" the litterbox thing, or their temperments are not quite what the owner expects...sadly, these kittens are often returned to shelters, as there is NO WAY to predict what type of adult your kitten will grow to be! When you meet the adults, you are looking at a longer adjustment period into your home, but you know exactly what you're in for! Some of the greatest pets I've ever owned were the adults I adopted from shelters...they so much wanted that chance to prove to SOMEONE that they deserve that second chance at a forever home.
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I'm definitely going to adopt from a shelter or rescue group.

Quote:
two cats will NOT present to you much more cost or work. I have 3 cats, and I honestly don't pay much more to feed and care for the other two, as I did when I just had Fergus alone.
I don't understand this - how can 2 cats not eat twice the food? Or use the litter box twice as much? Doesn't that all add up over time?
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashley45 View Post
Yeah, I'm definitely going to adopt from a shelter or rescue group.


I don't understand this - how can 2 cats not eat twice the food? Or use the litter box twice as much? Doesn't that all add up over time?

I'll answer this.....my cats eat purina one sensitive stomache...it's a pretty good brand if you are being cost concious. I split a can of wet food between them. As far as the litterbox....I don't think that it gets full any quicker or that I use more litter than I would with one. They share toys, a cat perch a water bowl and they give unconditional love in return.

Katie
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by celestialrags View Post
!0-12 weeks and up is best. I wouldn't let one or get one sooner then that. Some do let them go at 8 weeks. That is the absolute earlist they should go, any younger, is too young and won't get the skills needed by being with mom and siblings. I don't let my kittens go till 12-14 weeks.
post #15 of 16
It's not really much more for 2 cats with food and litter. It's the vet bills you need to think about. Twice the amount for their anual visit, or what if they both got really sick at the same time and required emergency care.
post #16 of 16
8 weeks used to be the standard but now I think it's more like 10. We got our kittens at 10 weeks.
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