Choosing a Kitten From The Litter

Many people believe their pet chose them. Others may be looking for a specific breed with particular markings. Whatever brings a new kitten into your life, you are bound for an exciting adventure together.

  • All kittens in the litter should appear healthy. They should be round, with soft stomachs and no ribs showing. Eyes and ears should be clear, their bottoms should be clean and there should be no sign of fleas on them.
  • They should be happy, friendly, curious and trusting. If several of the kittens are anxious, cowering or hissing, walk away.

Choosing a Kitten

Stand back and look at the litter as a whole before you interrupt them. Watch the way they interact with each other. You can tell a lot about a kitten’s personality by how they are playing with their siblings – which ones are gentler and quieter, or which ones are more active and exuberant.

There are several things in particular you should look out for:

  • Energy levels – this can vary hugely even within a litter. Watch them play for a while, and ask the breeder for an insight. Pick a kitten whose temperament matches your family needs.
  • Shyness – don’t think that the smallest shyest kitten needs rescuing, or that you can bring them out of their shell with some love and care. A shy kitten will be a shy adult, and you may not get the play time or cuddles you were hoping for.
  • Pick up your kitten and cradle them. Touch their feet, mouth and generally pet them all over, kittens will not usually be distressed by this. See how they react – some may settle in and purr, others will try to use you as a climbing post, while others will want to get down and play. Decide if you would rather an active cat or a lap cat, and choose accordingly.
  • After you have selected a few kittens, drop something that will make a loud noise. All kittens will startle at the noise unless they are deaf. Ideally, they should then recover and come over to investigate what it was. A kitten that stays away will likely be fearful as an adult.
  • Kittens should not instinctively be afraid of people. Most will be interested in who you are and what you are doing. Drag a piece of string along the ground – healthy kittens will eagerly jump on it and play. Independent kittens may be more interested in exploring, shy kittens may be more interested in hiding.