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Should I Get A Kitten Or Adopt An Older Cat?

Kittens tend to be the most popular choice for a new cat owner because of one simple reason, they’re adorable… But don’t rule out the idea of adopting an older cat, most cats live into their 20’s so an older cat still have a huge amount of love to give.

There are advantages and disadvantages to getting a kitten or an older cat, so read on to help you decide which is the best choice for you.

An adult cat cleaning her kittens coat
An adult cat cleaning her kittens coat


Let's get it out of the way nice and early by saying kittens are darn cute. Choosing a kitten over an older cat gives you the satisfaction of knowing that your pet cat has been treated well all of it’s life. Plus you can form a bond from just a few weeks old which can last for over 20 years.

Three lovely little kittens sitting on a wall
Three lovely little kittens sitting on a wall

Kittens need a lot of attention in their first few weeks. They need feeding more often than older cats and need more general care and time to bond so that they settle into their new home nicely. Until a kitten grows up to become an older cat you are going to have to look after it like a new child.

Another thing to think about is that kittens enjoy biting, scratching, chasing and wrestling. The best way to do this is with another kitten so think about getting a pair. If you are absolutely sure that you only want one pet then it might be best to consider whether an adult cat is a better option.

For tips on how to look after a new kitten follow the link to our section Bringing A New Cat Home.

Older Cat

It’s okay to admit that the easiest way to choose a cat is by picking the cutest kitten, and it would be unreasonable to say that this can’t be a factor in your decision. However for some people it’s best to think about getting an older cat instead. If you don’t have enough time for a kitten, or there’s nobody in the house to look after it during the day then it might be best to consider adopting an adult cat. There are thousands of adult cats that have found themselves in shelters through no fault of their own with low prospects of being rehomed. If you adopt an older cat, you can be safe in the knowledge that you have done a good deed by giving your new adult cat a loving home.

A lazy adult cat stretched out sleeping on the sofa
A lazy adult cat stretched out sleeping on the sofal

One advantage of choosing an adult cat is that you can see what you are getting. An 8 week old kitten still has a lot of growing up to do and may totally change temperament as it matures.

Adult cats require a lot less attention than kittens and most will be totally happy if left in a nice warm room whilst you are away at work for the day.

When you adopt an adult cat it is likely to be toilet trained. Kittens are more likely to make a mess on your sofa and have a distinctive smell before they develop proper cat cleaning etiquette.

An adult cat cleaning itself
An adult cat cleaning itself

You may think that an adult cat may not be capable of forming a bond with a new owner but this isn’t true. An adult cat is likely to form a loving bond with new owners and even a cat in its teenage years still has plenty of life and love to give. In addition adult cats are calmer and will settle faster than a kitten. Kittens are more likely to cause themselves injuries in the first years of their life which can be distressing for both owner and pet.

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Shatyra, 17 September 2019

I have two sweet kitties. Jack whom I've raised since a kitten and is 3 years old. Gizmo, whom is a rescued and adopted when he was 9 that is now 10 years old. I feel equal love from both. They show it in different ways. Jack's playful but he doesn't like to cuddle often. Gizmo loves to cuddle but he can be clingy at times. Both life stages of cats are absolutely perfect for companionship but you should consider which fuzzy cuties are your potential best friends.

Diana, 29 March 2019

I would like an older cat as I've seen how many have been abandoned, I've had kittens when I had my children and they were two sisters, when they were older i saved a cat and she just fitted in with the other two so I've had experience with both. As I'm now older I would love to have a cat please as they are easier to settle in the home so please think about adopting a cat.

Mayes, 1 August 2016

Me and my family are look for a cat that is cute and cuddly for are family thank you