Many people succumb to the adorable nature of kittens. Healthy kittens usually adjust easily to new environments, especially if they have healthy parents, were well-raised and come to their new homes between 8 and 14 weeks of age. Kittens also tend to blend in better with a household that already has other companion animals, because they will not yet have developed territorial behaviors and will be more interested in playing and socialization than older cats. Since kittens have not had many different life experiences, undesirable behaviors can usually be modified without much trouble. However, owners should not expect to change a kitten’s underlying personality just because it is young. For example, some kittens are extremely cuddly and social and will grow into cuddly, social cats. Other kittens are more reclusive or independent from the start, and they may become adults that are not all that interested in social interactions with people or other pets.
Healthy, happy kittens are extremely active and need lots of daily attention to mature into well-mannered adults. Growing kittens have razor-sharp teeth and piercing claws that can easily damage draperies, screen doors, furniture and flesh. Owners should be prepared to spend many hours every day with their new kitty. They should also be sure that their household can accommodate a small spitfire or tiny Tasmanian devil!
Mature cats usually aren’t as active as playful kittens and typically can entertain themselves for hours at a time without being too destructive. However, while they may not need as much hands-on attention as young kittens, adult cats still require plenty of interesting toys and activities, and lots of time with their owners, to keep them happy and fit and to prevent. Older cats may not blend easily into a home with young children or other established household pets; this depends largely on the animals’ respective temperaments, genders and backgrounds. Mature cats can come with some emotional baggage from past experiences with people or animals, but this does not necessarily mean that they make poor adoption candidates. Many adult cats, especially those adopted from shelters or rescues, are begging for a new home and are extremely appreciative of the chance to have a better life. Like kittens, they can form deep and lasting bonds with their new human companions.