Choosing a kitten from a litter is a very fun process. Not only is it exciting to know that you’re about to take home a brand new kitten, but the process of looking at a litter and finding out which one is right for you is a great experience. When you view the litter, look at their behavior, how do they react when they see you? Are they playful, confident, and bright? Or did they all seem shy, withdrawn, and sluggish? Be sure to take mental notes.
After you have taken stock of the entire litter, and got a sense of the kitten group as a whole, it is now time to search for the one that has the right personality to fit your desires. Do not rush this process. Take your time, have fun, and enjoy playing with all of the kittens.
Make keen observations of which kittens seem to be the most active and offer the most attention towards you. If you enjoy a pet that has abundant energy and will give lots of attention, then try to look for the kitten that seems to never want to let you go. These little balls of energy end up making great companions for cat lovers that appreciate an animal that seeks attention, even as they grow into adulthood.
If all of the kittens in the litter seem to display a sluggish behavior, talk to the breeder and ask him or her what may have caused this behavior. Was it something they ate before you arrived? Have they been up and awake for a while? If they are tired and are slow because of a previous feeding, then you may want to check back at a later time when they are most active. I am sure the breeder will understand because you can only properly assess a kitten’s personality when they are awake and full of energy.
There will be times when you may not have the opportunity to evaluate an entire litter in one sitting. For example, you may be looking at what is left of a litter after the other kittens have been sold. Or you may be visiting a shelter where there are only one or two choices and those kittens are not related. However, even though you might not be able to experience an entire litter together, you can still sit and enjoy a kitten’s personality and determine if you like him enough to bring home to your family.
Physical Characteristics To Look For When Choosing A Kitten
When you are evaluating a litter in order to purchase a new kitten, not only will you want to look at its character and personality, but you also want to take stock of its physical attributes. You want to get a sense of the kitten’s health and to be sure that he is in good physical condition.
Below are the physical descriptions of a healthy kitten that you can use as a guide to help you determine whether he is healthy enough to bring home:
The Ears: Take a quick look at the kitten’s ears. They should be fairly clean, if not spotless. However, if there is a little grime on the inside than this is okay. On the other hand, if you see what appears to be extremely dirty ears, then this is a sign that the cat may have ear mites. Ear mites are not a big problem so long as you are prepared to administer a long period of medication which will eventually kill off all of the mites and their eggs.
Skin & Coat: A kitten’s skin should be smooth and clean. Run your hand through the fur and over the skin. There should be no sores of any kind or rough patchy areas. Some kittens may have a fungal infection which produces bald patches. This fungal infection is called ringworm. Be aware that this can be passed on to you by rubbing over the infected area. Therefore, it is wise to ask the breeder if there is any cases of ringworm in the litter before picking one up.
The Mouth: A kitten’s gums should be pink in color without any inflammation. The teeth should be white in color without any type of tartar buildup.
The Nose: Take a look at the kitten’s nose. There should be no discharge whatsoever. It should be clean, yet slightly moist. If he appears to be breathing heavily and gasping through his nose, as well as his mouth, then this cat is probably very sick.
The Tail: The tail should be dry and free of any fecal matter. Check underneath and if there appears to be dampness and/or stains from the kitten’s waste, then this is a possible sign of illness.
The Eyes: His eyes should be clear and there should be no discharge or any type of the glaze in the eyes. Also, every cat has a third eyelid and this eyelid should not be visible. However, in some cats that have an eye infection this protective lid pops out from the corners and is a sign that something is wrong.