wikiHow to Choose the Right Kitten for Your Home

Choosing the right kitten for the home will make a lot of difference in how you and the pet relate to each other. Make sure that you do your homework before you commit to a relationship that could last many years. Cats come in many different types: purebred, domestic, long hair, medium hair, short hair, and in a spectrum of color combinations.


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    Decide if you want a rescue cat from an animal shelter or a purebred cat. Animals from rescue shelters are not free, they do charge an average of $70 - $110 dollars for the cat. Though some cost less. They also may require you to sign some sort of commitment paper. Taking a rescue animal is a wonderful idea, is cheaper than buying one from a breeder, but does come with risks. Animals are quarantined to determine if they come to the shelter with any illnesses, but sometimes you might take one home and it dies within days or weeks from an illness it had or caught from another animal in the shelter. There are no guarantees with rescue animals.
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    Know that purebred animals are bred based on consumer demand. Certain cats are deemed more desirable as a marketable commodity and are are almost always bred specifically for sale. Make sure you find a reputable breeder and check out the cleanliness of the cattery to determine what environment the animal has lived in. Overcrowding and filth are definite warning flags, no matter how much they want for the animal. Some breeders charge more for animals that have not been spayed or neutered, in order to curb competition in the market.
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    Check the neighborhood and newspapers. Some people with kittens are glad to give them away. This also gives you a chance to look at the parent of the kittens to see how large the cat will grow and about what it will look like. You might not get that benefit if you are getting an animal from a shelter. However, this kitten may have all kinds of parasites: fleas, worms, ear-mites.
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    Know if the cat is long, medium or short-haired. It will make a difference in how the cat looks, and how the cat sheds. The more the hair, the more the cat sheds. It might make shedding less of a problem if you pick a cat near the color of your carpet, couch, chairs, etc. A long-haired cat is much more prone to "hairballs" than a short-haired cat. Cats tend to clean themselves by brushing their fur with their tongue (which is textured to help in the process), and hair is ingested, builds up into a wad, and is regurgitated. This "hairball" looks like a wet hairy sausage. You can help by grooming the cat to help get rid of loose hair. The more you groom, the fewer the "hairballs."
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    Taking a cat that has been declawed, or declawing your cat, means that it can never be allowed outside. Cats need their claws in order to defend themselves in the wild as well as to catch food.
    • Please do your research when making the decision to declaw a cat/kitten. Declawing is in fact an amputation at the first joint on each "finger" of the cat. Declawing can cause many serious issues including litterbox aversion (pain in the paws when digging in the litter); arthritis, biting and scratching etc. Please consider training your kitten to a good solid scratch post instead of subjecting it to the mutilation of declawing.
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    Know if the cat is male or female. Both Male and Female cats will mark their territory by urinating in certain areas of the house. Spaying and neutering will block this behaviour, especially if done before the kitten reaches sexual maturity. If you get a cat from a rescue shelter, it will probably be neutered.
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    Cats are super easy to house train. Put a cat in a litter box once or twice, and it automatically knows where to go to the bathroom. Much, much, much easier to house train than a dog. This is because cats naturally use a specific spot, whereas that is not a dog's natural behavior.
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    Pet the cat when it wants to be petted. Leave it alone when it wants to be left alone. It is that easy. There is nothing better than having a cat jump in your lap and want to be cuddled! (However it usually takes about a year before a cat will trust you enough to sit in your lap for long periods of time.)
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    Let the cat get used to your house. When you first bring it home, it may hide, or run away from you (you should keep it indoors for about the first week, until it knows that you feed it.)
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    If you have another cat or cats, it is very important to bring the kitten in gradually. Start by assigning just one room to the kitten, maybe a bathroom or bedroom. Keep the door closed, put a kitten-sized litter tray, food, and water in that room. The kitten will be fine in there. Give your other cat or cats much more attention, extra treats. They will absolutely know that kitten is in there, by the smell. They will smell and paw at the door, may hiss at it. This is fine. Cats who meet need to establish territory and boundaries. You don't want your cats to think the kitten is invading their territory, or you will have unhappy cats, who may start doing things to show their unhappiness! When you come out of the room where the kitten is, let your cats smell your hands, then pet them and give them a treat and attention. After two or three days of this, you can let your older cat into the room to check it out, under your supervision. When it sees the kitten, it will want to smell it, and may very well hiss at it. That's alright, pet your cat, say nice soothing things, tell your cat how important and primary they are. Don't make a fuss over the kitten when the cat can see, for the first few weeks. This is really important, that the cat feel still "in charge" in the home and primary to you. They will probably eventually relax and accept the kitten, but that's not for sure. Take it slow, this can become a beautiful relationship between them if you don't mess this up. Sometime, when the cat is asleep elsewhere, let the kitten out to explore the living room. For at least the first week, more if your cat acts upset, the kitten must stay in its room, particularly at night, especially if your cat claims your bed as its territory. With luck, your cat will start to accept the kitten as its younger sibling or its own kitten, they will play and wrestle and wash each other and become great friends. This is worth working for.


  • Your cat may not like strangers. Many cats hide when someone comes to visit. This appears to be a temperament thing, an inborn like or dislike for new people. If this is the case with your cats, put them in a room with their litter box, water, and some food, if you are planning to have a party, or are having a lot of guests over.
  • Make sure you feed it, train the kitten to use the litter box, and keep the kitten well groomed. Kittens can be very playful at times so make sure you get plenty of animal toys or a ball will be great! First time owners, cant' get the new kitten to use the litter box so, make sure you give the little kitten plenty of love.
  • Start clipping your cat's claws from the earliest age. This will help you accommodate a cat to the act of clipping.
  • Maybe spend some time with the kitten before choosing one.
  • Lots of local animal shelters now have web sites so that you can see the animals that are there before you decide to go and make a commitment. Take advantage of this resource if it is available.
  • Some cats will form a bond with a person, or another cat. If you want this kind of relationship with a cat you should give it a LOT of attention. Cats absolutely react to the attention they get, and how much you respect its boundaries. As above, if the cat wriggles when you pick it up, it doesn't want to be held, put it down immediately. If the cat hisses at you, take the hint and leave it alone.
  • Never use human nail clippers to trim your cat's claws. Pick up a cat nail clipper at your local pet store; these are more curved than human nail clippers. See how to trim a cat's nails.
  • Spayed means the female cat has had its ovaries and uterus removed.
  • DSH means domestic short haired
  • DLH means domestic long haired
  • DMH means domestic medium haired
  • A spray bottle or water pistol works well for training cats not to jump on counters, or to scratch furniture. It's also very helpful to speak sharply, saying "No!" when you do this, so that you associate the sharply-spoken word "no" with the disliked water.... then they will actually react to just "no" eventually. But do know, cats have no morals at all! They will very likely sleep on the dining room table when you are not there, just jumping down when you get home!When the cat is being a bad kitty, make it seem to the cat like you aren't punishing the her, , or the kitten will associate you with punishment, and not TLC. You don't really own the kitten, the kitten owns you!
  • Neutered means the male cat has been castrated
  • Before purchasing your kitten do some research on the breed and that will help you on how to care for your kitten as well as training.


  • Know that having a pet means taking on responsibility for the care and well-being of another living creature, probably for many years. Don't do it lightly.
  • Never let a de-clawed cat outdoors. The claws are a cat's natural defense against predators as well as a way for them to catch food.
  • Know why you want a pet.
  • Take the cat to the vet as soon as possible for a check-up. If the cat has not been spayed or neutered yet, do so as soon as possible. Some states require animals adopted from shelters to be altered within a specific time period.
  • If using a spray bottle don't recycle a cleaning solution bottle, as whatever lands on your cat, s/he will lick up, and ingest.

Things You'll Need

  • Cat litter
  • Litter box
  • Litter scoop to take out all the nasty stuff
  • small plastic bags, such as grocery bags, to receive the scooped items
  • Cat food
  • Water bowl
  • Grooming supplies- shampoo, conditioner/de-tangler(for longhairs), nail clippers, brush/comb, etc.
  • Cat toys - you can easily make your own. Shoelaces are great cat toys, just dragged along the floor; crumpled-up balls of foil or paper are great for batting around.
  • Spray bottle or water pistol
  • Scratching post, also you can buy the little cardboard scratching trays at the grocery store, these are very useful and cheap
  • Depending on your situation: pet door, Advantage flea drops, etc.
  • Remember to get an ID tag or collar to identify your cat if it ever goes missing!
  • And a cat. If you don't have this, then all of the stuff above is useless. (unless you have a very cat-like hamster!)

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Categories: Getting a Cat