selecting the perfect kitten

Choose The Perfect Kitten

As you choose your kitten, understand the difference in breeds, cat life spans and how to convince family members.


Dear Simba - I am adopting two, 6-week old kittens. Could you tell me if a brother and sister will get along together,
will the male spray, and would it be better to get two of the same gender? My 15-year old FLUFFY had a heart attack three weeks ago and died at home here with me. She was the love of my life! I am so used to having a female that I'm nervous about getting a male. Would two sisters get along better? How soon can they (either gender) have their little operations? Should I have two boxes, one for each? Thank you, Pam

Dear Pam - So sorry to hear of Fluffy's passing. It seems that she lived a long and happy life. I hope the same rings true for and that you equally enjoy your new kittens.
It is ok to be nervous. Firs thing, the brother & sister pair should be ok, (the gender will not make a difference). I think it is nice that you are keeping a family intact! Your kittens can be operated on after a couple of months. Spay / Neuter has more details on this topic. As for the litter boxes I think one should do, they are fairly small and can share. Check out Simba's Rules for that and other young kitten care tips. Keep me posted. Simba


Selecting the Perfect Kitten



Hi Simba,
I am looking for a new kitten. My vet will help me out she says. My vet any her team are the best there is. Do you have any advice on picking out a healthy kitten? Keep up the good work Simba (but do not forget to play! ) Julie

Dear Julie,
I have put together some tidbits & tips to help you in your search.

Tidbits - Did you know that…
  • White, blue-eyed cats are often born deaf.

  • Persian and Abyssinian are very affectionate. They do require attention and will get depressed if ignored (not good for people that travel a lot).

  • If you like meowing, go Siamese.

  • Long-haired cats are generally calmer.

  • Short-hair breeds are more active and can be a lot of fun.

  • Short-hair sometimes, but NOT ALWAYS, cats bring on less allergic reaction than long-haired breeds (check out Allergy Friendly Breeds for more

Tips - Your kitten should…
  • Not be too shy or too aggressive

  • Not the runt of the litter. Runts have to fight for food and may not get the nourishment they need which leads to health and aggression problems.

  • Have been raised with mom 6-8 weeks (the longer kittens stay with mom, the more sociable they are).

  • Be used to people. (pick him up, if he tries to get free he may not be the right choice, if he/she purrs, take him!)

Now is a perfect time to adopt. The shelters are full of kittens that were given away as presents by people who soon got buyer's remorse. So go out and find that special little guy or gal and raise a happy kitten. Your Pal, Simba

Choosing a Pure Breed vs. Mixed Breed Kitten



Hi Simba,
I am thinking of getting a kitten and I have a couple of questions. Any difference in getting a pure-breed kitten versus a mixed-breed kitten? I want a kitten that will be friendly and follow me around. I know pure breeds tend to have the same types of personality. Also is there a big difference between adopting a 6-week-old kitten versus a 14-week-old kitten in the bonding I could have with him/her? Prospective Parent

Dear Prospective Parent,
How wonderful you are considering getting a kitten! Many factors will influence how you and a kitten will get along, including the kitten's age, the type of rearing the kitten has had so far, the breed and health.

All things being equal a younger kitten will form closer bond. However, the quality of rearing has a big impact as well. A cat that has been raised and cared for by people and/or has lived with its mother for 6-8 weeks will be better adjusted and may be more friendly than one that has lived outside all of its short life.

Breeds are known for their personalities. Since you are looking for an affectionate cat, a Persian or an Abyssinian may do it. These breeds are very affectionate. You can expect the cat to follow you from room to room and purr when with you. Note that cats of these breeds do require a lot of attention and can become depressed if you do not pay attention to them…you may want to consider getting 2 of them so they can keep each other company during the day. Health is very important. Be sure you choose a kitten that is energetic and playful, since these are more sociable.

Check out the tips below for additional information. Keep me posted. Simba

Convincing Mom & Dad About Getting a New Cat



I really want a kitten, but I already have a dog. I need to convince my parents to let me get a cat. I need know how I can train it to do its thing in the litter box only, not to scratch furniture, and to get along with my dog. I guess I need to teach my dog to get along with it too. Can you please tell me how I can convince my parents?! Katie

Dear Katie,
How very wonderful you are considering getting a kitten! Check out the Litter Training section for litter training kittens, Claws for controlling scratching and Kevin’s note for introducing cats & dogs. Best of luck. Simba

Cat Life Spans


Simba,
I just lost my cat Gizmo. I had him since I was 6; I am now14. He died from a urinary tract infection. His kidneys failed while he was at the vet's. It came so suddenly though. He was just fine one day and the next day he was sick. I miss him a lot. I am thinking about getting another cat but I do not know if I should get a pedigree cat or a mixed breed. Gizmo was a Persian and died at 8 years old. I heard that mixed breed cats live longer. Is that true? Heather

Dear Heather,
So sorry to hear of your loss. Seems like Gizmo was a very dear and loved kitty. My heart goes out to you.

While breeds impact cat behavior, I am not aware that breeds alone can significantly affect life span. The following will help keep your cat healthy for the long term.:
  • Physical Fitness: do not let your feline friend get overweight (see the following weight guide). Few things do as much good for a cat as regular exercise and a good diet.

  • Neutering / Spaying: By having kitty fixed you are removing what can be very disruptive (albeit normal) hormonal imbalances, which in male cats can lead to greater aggression. Certain unsprayed female cats are also more likely to experience health problems. (The Female, Heats & Spaying, and Neutering Male Cats sections contain good information on heat cycle length, why and when to spay or neuter your cat as well as cost info.)

  • Indoor Living: Outdoor cats live significantly shorter lives than indoor cats. The reason is that outdoor cats are more likely to be injured in fights with other animals, they are more likely to be hit by cars and are at greater risk of consuming toxic substances. By keeping your kitty indoors, you are allowing him to live a lower risk, and a much longer and enjoyable life. Note also that having your kitty fixed will decrease his/her instinct to flee!
I wish you the best of luck in choosing your new cat; I am sure you will make him a nice home. Simba