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How to choose a kitten

How to choose a kitten
by Lucinda Beeman

Read time: 3 min

Deciding to bring a kitten into your home is the easy part. Now comes the fun (and slightly daunting) task of choosing which one. You may want to take them all. But making the right choice involves more than just picking one at random. Here’s how to choose a kitten that will be the perfect fit for your home and lifestyle.

Assess Your Lifestyle

Before you even set eyes on a kitten, take a moment to reflect on your lifestyle. Are you looking for a high-energy playmate or a laid-back companion? Do you have the time to invest in training and socialising a kitten? If you have other pets or young children, consider how a new kitten will fit into the mix.

Visit the Breeder or Shelter

When you visit a breeder or shelter, keep your eyes open and your mind sharp. Here’s what to look for:

Is it clean? 

The environment should be clean and well-maintained. This is a good indicator of how well the kittens are cared for.

How are the kittens behaving?

Observe how the kittens interact with each other and with humans. Are they playful and curious, or do they seem lethargic and withdrawn? Healthy kittens should be active and engaged.

Does everyone look healthy?

Look for clear eyes, clean ears, and a shiny coat. Avoid kittens with runny noses, crusty eyes, or signs of diarrhoea. Because these could indicate health issues.

Personality Matters

Each kitten has its own unique personality. Spend time with several kittens to get a sense of their temperaments. Here are a few key traits to consider:


A playful kitten will likely grow into an active, curious cat. If you’re looking for a lively companion, choose one that’s eager to chase toys and explore its surroundings.


Look for a kitten that enjoys being handled. And doesn’t shy away from human interaction. A sociable kitten will adapt more easily to a new home and family.


Some kittens are more independent. (And content to amuse themselves.) This might be a good fit if you’re not home often, but still want a feline friend.

Health Check

A reputable breeder or shelter will provide a health history and vaccination records for the kitten. Make sure the kitten has been checked by a veterinarian and has received the appropriate vaccinations. If the kitten hasn’t been spayed or neutered, ask about a recommended timeline.

Meeting the Parents

If you’re buying from a breeder, meeting the kitten’s parents can give you insight into what to expect as your kitten grows. The parents’ temperaments and health can be strong indicators of your kitten’s future behaviour and well-being.

Red Flags

Even if you fall in love with a kitten at first sight, it’s worth keeping these red flags in mind:

If they’re overly shy or aggressive: Some shyness is normal. But excessively timid or aggressive kittens may have socialisation issues. And could require extra effort to manage.

If they don’t look well: Obvious health issues in a kitten or in the litter can indicate underlying problems. Trust your instincts and choose a healthy kitten.

If the breeder seems uninformed: If the breeder or shelter can’t provide clear answers about the kitten’s health, lineage, or care, it’s best to look elsewhere.

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