Bringing a new kitten into the family is exciting – and a big investment in time and money. A well-cared for cat lives with you for 15-20 years – longer than your children will!
Look for how well your potential kitten interacts with humans and other cats. Once home, a pretty face soon becomes less important than how well the kitten relates to you.
Kittens learn to socialise with humans in the first 7 weeks of life. A kitten raised in the hurley-burley of a household with its mother and siblings is usually well socialised.
Kittens left with their mother and litter-mates for another month learn more social skills. Appropriate play-biting pressure, playing with withdrawn claws and litter tray use are refined up to 12 weeks of age.
If a kitten has been away from her mother for a period, make sure the foster carer has been hands-on. Observe how relaxed the kitten is in the carer’s arms. Watch to see how quickly she settles to playing and exploring her environment.
It is vital that you see her in the place where she feels most relaxed because she will be shy in her new home at first.
Whether your kitten comes from a breeder, rescue organisation, the RSPCA or Gumtree, how well she tolerates human handling should be your top consideration.